Standards such as VAST and VPAID affect your ad operations to optimize your video ads reach as well as view engagement. So, if you run video ads or any way connected to video marketing, you need to understand the basics of VAST & VPAID and Vast vs. Vpaid.
This post is centered on VAST & VPAID to let you know how it works for interactive video advertising.
VAST and VPAID are both elements of video advertising.
Let’s get started to know the difference between VAST and VPAID.
Table of Contents
What is VAST or “Video Ad Serving Template”?
VAST or “Video Ad Serving Template” is a set of specifications developed by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) for serving video ads. It provides a generic framework that embeds in-stream video ads. It has been designed for facilitating and standardizing communication between video players and video ad server.
In simple terms, VAST is a script that goes on to empower video players for running video ads in coordination with ad servers. VAST tends to program a video player so that it can run video ads on various websites and devices (such as mobile, desktop, and tablet) the way publishers want.
In fact, VAST gives control in publishers’ hands by making a video player know:
- Which ad to play
- How long the ad should last
- How to play the ad
- If users can skip the ad
- Where can the users land after hitting the CTA
- Where can you find the ad (the ad server)
- What the click-through URL should be
- Moreover, more
The VAST Ad Tag
It is a set of standardized codes that are based on VAST guidelines and placed on the publisher’s website or in-app for communicating with the ad server. So, it tells the server what type of ad should be displayed based on targeting criteria. However, each ad space will require a new ad tag.
Why is the VAST Ad Important?
The importance of the VAST Ad lies in the fact that it enables video players and ad servers to speak the same language. So, advertisers need not worry that their video ads are not able to run on many players. Moreover, publishers need not worry about limited inventories. It means more ad serving impressions for advertisers and more volumes for publishers to sell, bringing in more revenue for both.
How does VAST work?
The VAST works in a three-step process which can be understood as follows:
- Calling for a request: Here the video players go on to call the ad server asking to fetch an ad
- Making a response: The ad server goes on to respond to the video player that has the media files as well as the needed tracking URLs
- Triggering the URLs: The video player goes on to launch the tracking URLs/pixels allowing other parties to track and measure impressions
VAST has evolved tremendously as a component of video advertising. Here’s a snap-shot of its journey:
- The introduction of VAST 1.0 supporting MP4, MOV, 3GP, play/stop/pause functionality, as well as basic event tracking
- Upgraded to VAST 3.0 that supported five ad formats, skippable ads, OBA compliance, as well as improved error reporting
- Advanced to VAST 4.0 that supports separate video + interactive files, server stitching, verification, viewability, and advanced reporting
- VAST is currently running at version 4.1 that is available to users
Are there any limitations with VAST?
As with other techs, VAST is also not perfect. For instance, the ad viewability has often caused a concussion. Moreover, until the VAST 4.0, it did not support the viewability standards. It has some lose technical ends such as VAST XML parsing error, VAST schema validation error, and VAST redirection timeout. So, there’s the need for debugging the application of VAST.
What is VPAID or Video Player-Ad Interface Definition?
VPAID is also a script developed by IAB that facilitates interactions between ad units and video player, thereby enabling rich interactive in-stream ad experience.
So, VPAID empowers advertisers in serving rich media, interactive ads to users. It allows advertisers to record the data on how users interact with their video ads.
Hence, VPAID allows advertisers to refer to different performance measurement metrics closely. It also allows publishers to leverage video ads as a medium of revenue generation.
The importance of VPAID lies in the fact that it allows you to see how individual ads are performing so that you can devise improved methods of engaging your audiences and go on to increase the level of interaction with your ads.
So, a VPAID enabled interaction allows a user to click on an ad and view more detailed content like a longer version of a pre-roll.
It allows you to set at what time and where the ad can appear within the content together with the basic functions of play, pause, hide, or more.
Moreover, whatever action the user takes is recorded and reported back to the advertiser.
Nowadays, most of the digital video placements are being loaded and managed with VPAID. Most advertisers that are focused on interactivity and highly engaging ads incorporate VPAID.
Moreover, VPAID allows users to:
- Click on different tabs of the ad for viewing info
- Expand the overall view in the video ad
- Fill out a form that is embedded in the ad
- Take a survey that is embedded in the ad
- Interact with ad elements
- Play a game
The Working of VPAID
The process of VPAID is similar to VAST in just the beginning. It flows like this:
- Calling for a request: Here the video player goes on to request an ad call from the ad server
- Making a response: The ad server goes on to respond to the video player having the VAST XML file together with the VPAID compliant ad unit
- Communicating Throughout: The video player and video ad unit goes on to constantly exchange properties & events to-and-fro
- Tracking activities: The video player and video ad unit go on to send the tracked impressions as well as other activity data to their respective ad servers
Up till now, VPAID has come up with two versions, such as VPAID 1.0 and VPAID 2.0. However, nowadays, the majority of video players have been synced with VPAID 2.0 that comes with the following fixes that 1.0 did not support:
- VPAID 1.0 supports ad rendering on desktop and limited functionality with Flash
- VPAID 2.0 supports ad rendering on mobile devices. There’s the facility of auto-play VPAID on chrome for players that are smaller than 400×300. It has a wider range of functionality than Flash using JS and HTML5.
Does VPAID have any limitations?
- VPAID mobile inventory is limited due to restricted compatibility with in-app environments
- There are chances of longer page-load time on mobile
- It has also been alleged to ignore large volumes of inventory on mobile and smart TVs
VAST vs. VPAID
Until the adoption of its latest version 4.1, VAST has been under contention for its incapability in resolving issues such as pre-impression based API integration for real-time scoring. Moreover, the version until VAST 4.0/4.1 threw inconsistencies in meeting industry viewability standards, thereby creating a lack of trust in publishers.
As far as VPAID is concerned, it uses .SWF format for reading elements such as images, GIFs, and other interactive elements, which standard formats are not able to read. That said, the video players used by publishers may not read .SWF.
In such cases, the VPAID script gets automatically overridden by the VAST script, thereby ensuring that the video ad gets served. So, the ad will not be able to support user interactiveness that VPAID was originally meant for.
Difference between VPAID and VAST
Difference #1: Vast vs. Vpaid
VPAID: It is a Video Player Ad-Serving Interface Definition
VAST: It is a Video Ad Serving Template
VPAID: It establishes a common interface between the video ad and video player
VAST: It is the universal specification that has been developed by the IAB for serving video ads
VPAID: It provides rich interactivity plus rich interaction and playback which VAST alone can’t do
VAST: It only enables video ads that can be served across all compliant video players
VPAID: It enables ad interactivity
VAST: It enables the common way of serving video ads on video players
VPAID: It offers an API for facilitating increasing complexity in video advertising thereby enabling video players to accept more ads
VAST: It provides a uniform way for data so that it can be passed from the ad server to video players independent of any technology
VPAID: It enables video player to preload an ad unit before rendering it
VAST: It is devoid of such features
VPAID: It creates an interaction bridge between the video player and video ad units
VAST: It creates a communication bridge between the video player and ad server
VPAID: It renders video ad units to be interactive inside video player such as expand the ad, take a survey, submit a form and more
VAST: It allows video players to understand what to run, how to run, what’s the ad duration, what’s the CTA, or to whether to skip the ad or not
VPAID: It enables advertisers to track and measure users’ interaction with the ads
VAST: It enables publishers to take control by specifying instructions to video players
Difference #10: Vast vs. Vpaid
VPAID: It started from VPAID 1.0 and has been upgraded to the latest VPAID 2.0
VAST: It started from version VAST 1.0, followed by 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, till the latest VAST 4.1
How to create Custom VAST Tag?
There are two types of VAST Tags, namely:
- VAST XML
- VAST URL
However, VAST XML is a much-preferred format when both XML and URL formats get the support of your DSP.
That said, there are three ways of creating a VAST Tag. All you have to do is follow these steps:
- Through Manual XML Creation
You can make the VAST script manually by editing the predefined parameters and adding them together to create a fully-fledged XML file for a VAST tag. It’s less tiresome than to code a new file from scratch.
- Using Google Ad Manager
You need to login to your Google Ad Manager A/C. Now, click Inventory and then Ad Units. Locate your video ad unit and go to “Generate Tags.” Select tag type, tag options, and tag result. Now, click Continue. Lastly, hit Done.
- Third-Party VAST Tag Generators
You can use third-party tools known as VAST tag generators such as Mobile ads for creating the tags. However, you need to communicate the specifications with VAST tag generators to avoid errors.
Steps for creating VPAID HTML5 Creative
Creating VPAID Creatives is like creating HTML5 banner ads. Here’s how to do it:
- You need to select an HTML5 Ad Builder
- Create a banner ad
- Add video to your creative with the tag to your HTML file
- Close the creative so that it can fire the events to your video player
- Now, preview and test
As video advertising is on the rise, you (publisher) need to incorporate video ads in your website monetization strategy. Developments such as VAST and VPAID give you more control and scope for monetizing using video as a medium.
By now, we hope that you know the difference between VAST and VPAID. Understanding these technologies is a must if you want to boost your monetization through video ads. We believe that it can be a reality for you. These technologies hold much promise shortly.
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