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VAST Vs. VPAID – Let’s Sort the Differences

VAST Vs VPAID
If you're wondering how VAST is different from VPAID and how to use them together to deliver interactive ads, then you're in the right place. Let's get started.

Video ads have seen tremendous growth over the past years and they are poised to continue the trend. The latest report by IAB declared 36% YOY growth in video ad spend, which is more than double when compared to the 17% YOY growth in the overall digital ad spend. More and more advertisers and publishers are willing to adopt video in their ad strategy but the confusion over ‘how the video ads should be delivered’ still haunts the market. In this post, we will try to differentiate the two major video protocols of the industry – VAST and VPAID so that it becomes easier for you to strategize your monetization plans.

What are they?

VAST and VPAID, both are video ad serving protocols, which means they are both different sets of rules on how a video ad should be delivered to the user. IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) framed the protocols to ensure the industry players have a standard way to interpret, deliver, and measure video ad campaigns. 

Moreover, VAST and VPAID are not mutually exclusive. For the delivery of video ads, you will be using VAST in every case. The addition of VPAID is just the addition of new features on the already existing VAST framework. Let’s dive into the differences. Shall we? 

What is VAST?

VAST stands for Video Ad Serving Template. It helps with the communication between the ad servers and the video players on the website. It does so by enabling both of them to speak and understand the same language. Before the arrival of VAST, the ads had to be custom programmed according to the video players of the publishers. Custom programming for each player or changing the ad stack to use a different server hampered the ability to scale up video ad serving. 

When every player and server communicate in the same manner then advertisers can deliver ads to multiple video players simultaneously. At the same time, publishers can receive video ads from multiple advertisers. In other words, the ad delivery process can be scaled up. Want to know more? here’s our detailed VAST guide.  

Now, What is VPAID?

VPAID stands for Video Player Ad Serving Interface. It also helps with communication between ad servers and video players. It was introduced to bring advancement to the features provided by VAST, such as: 

  • Providing Interactivity: The ads served by VPAID can be way more interactive than the simple in-stream ads served with VAST. Having multiple tabs, filling in subscription forms, surveys and even playing games is possible with VPAID ads. Interactivity brings better results and therefore marketers prefer them.
  • Better Measurement: It is easier for advertisers to measure performance metrics of the ads like viewability, completion rate, CTR, etc, with VPAID as compared to VAST.
  • More Personalization: Advertisers can create more personalized ad campaigns with VPAID as compared to VAST. For example, setting different CTA’s for different geographical locations for the same ad is possible with VPAID.  

Here is a demo of a VPAID ad for better understanding: 

Functional differences between VAST and VPAID

The mechanism of serving ads is different between the two: 

  • In VAST, the OVP (Online Video Platform) fetches and plays a video file. Whereas in VPAID, the OVP fetches a dynamic code. This code takes control of the player’s viewable area. Once the video ad is completed, the controls are given back to the OVP.
  • To verify viewability, the VAST tag sends a request to intersection observer API within the browser and then the browser responds with the details of viewability.  Whereas in VPAID, the tag takes control of the video player and then it loads JavaScript in the browser which gathers the viewability details.
  • VAST restricts the video player to preload an ad unit before the ad media is rendered, whereas VPAID allows it.
  • VAST emphasizes the uniform way of exchanging data between technologies whereas VPAID emphasizes making delivery of complex ads possible.
  • The functioning of VAST gives more control over the player in the hands of publishers whereas the buyers enjoy more control when VPAID protocol is being followed.

Earning Potential

The publishers using VPAID have a higher potential of earning as the VPAID tag allows them to serve a broad range of video ads.

Disadvantages of VPAID

Even though VPAID looks better than VAST with the advertisers’ as well as the publishers’ perspective, but it has some disadvantages as well. 

  • VPAID can slow down the website.
  • VPAID can be considered for the mobile web environment but it is not ideal outside it. For example, the mobile in-app environment requires additional modification for VPAID.
  • Transparency and trust issues as the player controls are taken away by the JavaScript.

VAST Version 4

IAB is now on the fourth version of VAST which is aimed at replacing VPAID. Efforts are being made to make VAST capable of measuring viewability and ad verification. But as history shows, the industry has been slow in adopting VAST. Even when version 4 has been released, it is normal to see publishers using video players which are following versions 2 or 3.

VASTVPAID
Full-FormVideo Ad Serving TemplateVideo Player Ad Serving Interface
InteractivityNoYes
PersonalizationNoYes
MeasurementLessMore
Page LoadingFastSlow
ControlWith PublisherWith Buyer
EarningsLessMore
Delivery SpeedFastSlow
Complexity of AdsLessMore
SecurityMoreLess

Conclusion

If interactivity and measurability is the main priority then VPAID is the only option for publishers and advertisers. But this scene will not remain the same for long. Due to the drawbacks of the existing protocols, IAB is trying to come up with better alternatives. VAST Version 4 is one example and SIMID or Secure Interactive Media Interface Definition being the other. Soon there will be a true replacement for VPAID which will be safer and more reliable. Still, have some questions? let us know in the comments. Looking to run video ads on your site? reach out to us.

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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