Lets have a look at all the hammers and chisels which are used in the daily life of an ad operations (AdOps) engineer. Everyone has their own preferences while some are used as standard tools which enable you to share the output logs/results/screenshots with other companies and support teams seamlessly.
Here are few of the tools used in online advertising:
Charles is an HTTP(S) proxy debugging tool Basically it captures the incoming and outgoing traffic from the browser which help us to inspect the ad calls and the values returned from them. It is also useful while checking click macro implementation, active view troubleshooting and numerous other stunts. Natalie wrote a decent article on using Charles to debug ad delivery.
> Download Charles (Mac/Win/Linux)
Functionality is same as Charles. But has the advantage of being more simple and above all free!. It is well documented and has active groups and forums for discussing and sharing related stuffs.
> Download Fiddler (Win Only)
Firebug is a browser extension which allows you to inspect the elements in the page to grab the bits of the ad to make some sense. It helps you inspect the various elements which loaded while rendering the ad and helps to troubleshoot CSS issues on the page.
Google Flash Validator
Its a tool by Google to check the clickTags implemented in Flash creatives. It helps us to check the click tag names and if it’s firing as intended. Moreover it tells the various attributes of the flash creative like SWF version, file size, dimensions, frames per second (fps), compression and frames.
This application allows you to decompile flash ActionScript from the swf flash creative file. You will get the source code implemented in the flash file which will allow you to check the clickTag formatting and implementation. For a newbie I would recommend the Google Flash Validator (above) for checking clickTags.
DFP – GPT Tag Generator
Its a ninja tool by Google for generating all types of GPT tags. You have the option of adding page level and slot level custom targeting. Generating Async, Sync, Non-JS tags and Passback tags. You even have the option of generating tag for an Out of Page ad (OOP ad) and SRA. WoW! That’s a lot of fine level options which the default DFP network tag generator doesn’t give.
JSBin is kind of a real-time editor. It allows you to edit ad tags code in the browser, and see the ad delivering according to the changes made. If you get an ad tag then you can easily test it by pasting it in JSBin. You’ll get a test page in seconds which can be used for testing ad delivery or rendering. Its a heavenly tool for implementing custom codes or features.
DFP – Tag Generator(DART)
Google Publisher Toolbar
The Google Publisher Toolbar is a browser extension exclusive for Google Chrome. It adds a blue overlay to the ads served through your DFP account (also AdSense/Ad Exchange), which provides DFP related information on the ad served to the page like the Line Item ID, adslot name, size, display URL and the advertiser name. It’s an easy to use tool and gives a user friendly experience.
BrowserStack is an online virtual environment which gives exact device simulation online. It allows you to check your ad’s compatibility across various mobile emulators and browsers under multiple operating systems in a plethora of combinations. So you want to test your site’s ad in IE6, Opera 15 or Safari 6 instead of using a user agent switcher (fake browser!), then BrowserStack is your best option. It gives a very less limited time for trial so be quick while trying it out or buy a plan if serious |-] . Another option which gives a longer trial duration is CrossBrowserTesting.Com and is also my personal favorite. These are two services used by some of the big guys in the industry like Los Angeles Times, Disney, Ebay, Adobe and more.