SUPPORTS: PRE-ROLL, MID-ROLL, POST-ROLL, PAUSE-ROLL
VAST is a Video Ad Serving Template for structuring ad tags that serve ads to video players. Using an XML schema, VAST transfers important metadata about an ad from the ad server to a video player. Initially launched in 2008, VAST has since played an important role in the growth of the digital video marketplace.
The early days of video consisted mostly of shared videos and other user-generated content. Success in monetizing this content with ads has produced the resources to improve the digital video marketplace. However, digital video has met a number of challenges along the way.
One challenge is a lack of quality control. Along with the IAB Video Player-Ad Interface Definition (VPAID), VAST can deliver ads programmatically or include ads with complex interactions. If a player isn’t programmed to accept VPAID ads, the ad cannot be executed. Even when the player does accept VPAID ads, performance may be slow and cause latency in load times. In the meantime, the audience experiences a delay or a malfunction in their viewing experience.
Publishers and ad vendors need a way to separate the video file from its interactive components to ensure that ads play in systems that cannot execute the interactive components. These ads should also execute more efficiently in players that are equipped to handle the interactions.
Another challenge, especially for broadcasters who are moving their content online, is the lack of a consistent identifier for creative that is maintained across systems. VAST offers a creative identifier, but it has been used inconsistently and one creative may use different identifiers for every system it passes through. A system-wide identifier is a requirement for broadcasters trying to maintain control over the ads they play.
VAST 4.0 has addressed these challenges along with a few others. As players begin to adopt the updates in VAST 4.0, digital video can expect to see smoother operation and continued growth.