Advertising troubleshooting in Wowza Video

Advertising is important to optimize your revenue from your content. It's partially a science and partially an art since it can involve several parties and some complexity. We've debugged some of the most complex ad setups there are.

Key reasons why troubleshooting advertising can be difficult:

  • Ad servers might respond differently:
    • Based on how many times you access a specific ad tag.
    • Over time as campaigns change.
    • Based on what pages you've visited (retargeting).
    • Based on your location.
    • Based on your device and browser.
  • With programmatic advertising, you can be almost certain that your ads will vary.
  • With VPAID javascript ads, there is complexity.

All of these factors make it difficult to find and debug an ad error. We suggest you try the following to debug advertising.

Validate that your ad tag is working in a reference implementation

Make sure that your VAST Ad Tag actually returns valid ads by checking it with Google VAST validator. If the Ad Tag is not working there, you can be pretty sure the problem is related to the booking/delivery of the ad from the ad server. You should reach out to your ad provider with a copy of the VAST Ad Tag response and compare it with sample tags to see what could be the cause of the problem.

Note:  Make sure you don’t have an ad blocker enabled.

Save a copy of the VAST response as a text file to make the problem repeatable

If the VAST tag does work in the VAST inspector, most likely the setup, or, something similar, is the issue. To be sure you are debugging the same VAST ad response, we recommend you save the VAST response as a text file on your server, and, instead of directing the player to the Ad Server URL, you direct the player to your text file. If you need to send information about the problem to someone else and have their help to debug it, the first question they will ask is what the VAST response is. If you've saved it as a text file, you can show them which setup didn't work.

Review potential ad errors for additional clues

There are several different settings for advertising and that might cause your ad not to display as you expect. You can see what response the ad server is giving by inserting your ad tag into a browser.  It'll look similar to the following:

<VAST xmlns:xsi="" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="vast.xsd" version="3.0">
<Ad id="697203496">
<AdTitle>External NCA1C1L1 Linear Inline</AdTitle>
<![CDATA[ External NCA1C1L1 Linear Inline ad ]]>
<Creative id="57859154776" sequence="1">...</Creative>
<Creative id="57857370976" sequence="1">...</Creative>

Below are common reasons you may not see an ad:

  • The VAST response is empty.
  • You are getting a VPAID ad that is not supported.
  • You have a VMAP response where the player expects a VAST response.
  • You have not configured ad breaks in the player to trigger ad playback.
  • The ad creative is missing or in an incorrect file format (sometimes they have .flv video files).

Review the list of ad errors with its potential problems and recommended actions.

Try the same settings in the player with a sample tag of the same type

If you still can't find a reason for ad tag failure, you can instead use a sample VAST tag mimicking your type of ad to see if that ad tag is working. This will help you troubleshoot cases where you've set the player up to play only HTML5 ads, but you are getting a VPAID / flash-based ad back from the ad server. 

Debug VPAID javascript Ads 

We recommend that you don't debug VPAID javascript ads because they are complex to debug. Instead, reach out to the provider of the ad and have them debug it.