Using Audience Control without tag management

Mezzobit Audience Control functionality is most effective when used in conjunction with our tag management system, but there is no requirement that ours or any third-party tag management system is used. This article explains how to deploy the Audience Control Module (ACM) without using the Mezzobit TMS.

There are two components to ACM:

  • An asynchronous tag that contains the core telemetry and control logic for our audience data functionality.
  • A synchronous tag that extends Mezzobit vision into tags not visible from the async tag.

For non-developers, the important distinction between sync and async tags is that sync tags have the potential to block rendering of page content while most async tags won't. More details are available in this article. We have constructed a very lightweight sync tag to ensure our monitoring does not impact page latency, with the larger components residing in the async tag.

Mezzobit's relies on a "no phone home architecture" that further decreases the change for latency. Simply put, we load into both tags all of the customer-specific data and rules that are needed to perform their monitoring and control functions. So the tag is mostly self-sufficient to operate within the customer's page without having to make remote server calls when it encounters a third-party piece of code. And when the page load has mostly completed and rendering is done, our monitoring tag packages up its data and sends it back to our servers for analysis.

For customers of our TMS, the Mezzobit container includes the asynchronous code for ACM, so they only have to deploy synchronous tag if they wish to observe tags and their downstream children that are loaded outside of Mezzobit.


Using ACM with no third-party TMS

The key here is to insert the Mezzobit tags (particularly the synchronous tag) before any first- or third-party code that you want to monitor. For publishers, this would definitely include being loaded ahead of ad server tags and header bidder tags. So the rule of thumb is embed the synchronous Mezzobit tag as high up in the <head> section of the page as possible, usually right after the CSS and before the first JS calls. The Mezzobit async tag should be embedded just before the close of the <head>.

Many website operators that don't use TMSes often group their JavaScript into first-party libraries to limit what's embedded in the page or use module loaders such as require.js to make this process more efficient. We would recommend that Mezzobit tags not be included in these libraries, and precede them to ensure that all third-party calls made are observed by our system.


Using ACM with a third-party TMS

Many website operators have moved to using a third-party TMS -- rightly so, as these systems can bring about big improvements in site performance, can slash deployment time for new tags, and can simplify injecting data into tags. Most TMSes operate the same way, which is why Mezzobit offers our TMS free of charge up to 50 million monthly pageviews.

But for companies that have already made investments in other TMSes, using ACM is no more difficult than non-TMS customers. Our preference is to embed our sync and async monitoring tags directly in the page as if no TMS was used. Many TMS implementations embed other third party code in the page ahead of TMS containers, which may result in Mezzobit missing some calls. Some TMSes make modifications to the tags they manage, which may also impair Mezzobit's ability to detect third parties.

If putting our code into a TMS is required, then our sync tag should be placed into the customer's container and run synchronously ahead of all other third party tags. If your TMS converts synchronous code to async using tools such as PostScribe, this may be disabled for our sync tag to work properly. The async tag should be sequenced similarly vis a vis other async tags as first up in load order.

Mezzobit does not support Google Tag Manager, which does not have advanced JavaScript handling similar to high-end enterprise TMSes, so both of our tags much run embedded in the page.


Using ACM outside of owned websites

Some customers, particularly brand marketers, may wish to use Mezzobit to inspect the data collection environments of webpages where their ads are placed. The configuration would vary based on the ad server used. For DoubleClick for Publishers Premium edition, for instance, the tags would be delivered via creative wrappers. Similar functionality is not available in the DFP Small Business edition, however.

Our tags' success at seeing the entire publisher environment in these cases would depend on how deeply buried they are in nested third-party iframes and their ability to bust iframes to see the wider page.

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