Common Problems with Flash Banner Ads and clickTAG Format

Are you having trouble with a Flash banner ad working within our advertising system?

We often find that the creation of the button or link in the Flash file is at the root of the problem. The following information may help.

Using the clickTAG variable for banner ad links

In Flash, you can either "hard code" a link, or you can make it a dynamic link that can be changed outside of the Flash file.

When you hard code a link, it is created in the Flash file, in ActionScript in the getURL function. At the most basic level, that code would look like this:


This code tells the Flash banner ad to open the Adobe website in a new window (_blank).

Common Problems:

  • if you forget to have "http://" in the URL, then it will fail
  • if you forget to have "_blank" then the URL will open in the same browser window, and we may request that you correct this issue

When you use a clickTAG, you insert a variable instead of a hard-coded URL. At the most basic level, that code looks like this:


The major benefit of doing this is that you can prepare one banner ad SWF file, and then use it on many websites and different locations/purposes, and with each locaiton, you can specify what URL you want the ad to click to. This helps with tracking campaigns, clicks, and for directing different audiences to the pages of your site that are most appropriate for their interests.

Common Problems:

  • if you forget to also tell us what the URL should be! If you don't tell us that you have a clickTAG, and we put the ad in place without setting the URL in our system, then the ad will show the "hand icon" but clicking on it will have no action (Flash doesn't know where to send the user!).
  • clickTAG is a CASE SENSITIVE variable. you MUST have it in the exact case of "clickTAG" which is the only official variation that is sanctioned by Adobe and advertising organizations. Confusion related to the case of this variable contributes to 90% of problems with Flash ads.

the original, official guide on how to create and use a clickTAG from Flash themselves
SuperGeeky - Create Case Insensitive clickTAGs
An interesting, well thought-out alternative for some complex ActionScript that helps create a more reliable clickTAG usage with fallbacks and more
clickTAG FAQ - Further reading on the topic
One of the best tutorials for builting clickTAG links into a banner ad is found on this site. They very clearly explain the issue with case sensitivity

"If you did not copy and paste the ActionScript code, verify that all occurrences of the parameter name are spelled exactly as clickTAG and if that does not work try a different capitalization. The standard is to use clickTAG, but your ad server might use clickTag, ClickTAG, ClickTag or some other variation. Make sure to change every occurrence of the parameter name in the ActionScript code though as they must all match exactly to work properly!"

** Updated Note - Pop-up Blocking

Did you export the SWF file for your banner for Flash version 4, 5, 6, or 7? Internet Explorer versions 7 and 8 when used with Flash plugin version 10 do not permit SWF files exported for those older versions to use _blank for the target frame. They are considered to be pop-up windows and blocked. The only workarounds are to use _top for the target frame or to export the SWF file for Flash 8 or 9.