VAST and VPAID are IAB standards that have provided crucial frameworks for the video advertising ecosystem. But what are the differences and where is the industry headed you ask?
Originally established in 2008, VAST was created to solve an issue the industry was facing – the multitude of different video player types and ad response formats. At that time, publishers would initiate an ad request and receive responses in nearly as many formats as the total number of responses they received, only a few of which would be compatible with their player. This was also a burden for advertisers as if they wanted their ads to behave correctly in these disparate players, they had to spend large amounts of time and resources custom coding video ads. To simplify the process, the IAB created VAST, the Video Ad Serving Template, which provided a standardized ad response format so that advertisers no longer had to worry about their video ads failing to run on certain players and publishers no longer had to worry about limited compatible demand.
A few years after VAST’s debut, the industry was facing another challenge – new interactive video formats that VAST alone could not handle. Intended to support relatively simple in-stream video ad formats, VAST was not equipped to deal with executable ad formats that require on-page logic to be executed to provide users an interactive experience. In 2012, VPAID, the Video Player Ad-Serving Interface Definition, was born.
The rise of interactive video advertising
By establishing a common communication protocol and expected functionality between video players and ad units, VPAID was able to facilitate interactivity in a way that VAST alone could not. In addition to offering advertisers the ability to provide rich ad experiences for viewers, VPAID also allows them to collect ad playback and interaction details that help advertisers measure the effectiveness of their ads in new and interesting ways.
It is undeniable that layering VPAID onto VAST offers an enhanced solution. Here is what the power packed duo can offer when used together:
|Capabilities||VAST only||VAST and VPAID|
|Allows for simple, in stream video ads to be served across all compliant video players||✓||✓|
|Provides a uniform way to pass data from ad server to video players independent of tech||✓||✓|
|Creates a rich, interactive user experience and tracks granular user interactions||X||✓|
|Provides complete interoperability between all advanced video ads, ad networks and serving technology and players||X||✓|
|Allows for viewability and other performance measurement tools for verification||X||✓|
What’s in it for publishers?
You may have noticed that the benefits of VPAID discussed so far largely benefit advertisers. Don’t fret – there is something in it for publishers as well. VPAID compatible publishers can accept a broader range of video ads from advertisers, including those interactive ads so prized by advertisers. In addition to a potential bump in fill, publishers providing VPAID support that enables advertisers to provide a premium, interactive experience can expect premium compensation in return.
This article was written by Leah Brite, product marketing director at SpotX.