Ad Tag Waterfalling

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Currently, JW Player oficially supports one main mechanism for waterfalling between ad networks. This practice of waterfalling is currently only supported when using our vast ad client. The use of Google IMA or googima and FreeWheel are not supported at this time.

Introduction to Waterfalls

Many advertising tags do not have a 100% fill rate. In order to maximize revenue, a technique known as "waterfalling" is typically used. Once JW Player detects that an ad is not returned in VAST tag, we are able to cascade to another tag and attempt to play a different ad. This process will essentially go down a list and try multiple ad tags until an ad response is returned. If we do not return an ad from any of the listed tags, we will begin content playback.
It is worth noting that a waterfall process may take additional time to display an advertisement. Typically, this should add a few seconds for each ad tag attempt. This delay should be taken into account when implementing this process and deciding how long your ad tag list should be.

Adding waterfalls to your players from the JW Player dashboard is easy.

Adding Waterfall’s in an Ad Schedule

You also have the ability to add waterfalls for ad breaks in the Ad Schedule tool. You can add more ad tags to these waterfalls but it is advised to add no more than 3 as it degrades the end viewer experience. Additionally, leveraging DFP for waterfalling/fallbackOnNoAd is a preferred method as it makes managing ad tags easier.

  1. Navigate to Ad Schedules.
  2. Create a New Ad Schedule or edit an existing one.
  3. In your ad break, provide your tag url.
  4. Press the to add another tag.
  5. Make sure to press Save.
See Scheduling Ads to see how to schedule your ads.


Here is a live example of how to set up and implement an ad tag waterfall. Below, we have three ad tags with only the third returning an actual ad. All failed ad attempts will be logged below the player.



Player Event Log: (press play to view)


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