Everything You Need To Know About Video Ad Standards

Updated on: February 19, 2024
Digital video is exploding. And with that growth comes a greater need for standards and ways to track how video ad campaigns are working. These standards encompass the delivery and measurement of video ads on desktop and mobile devices. This article breaks down the video ad standards to get clear on what they are.

It’s no secret that digital video advertising has been growing as a share of overall US media spend, and the momentum will continue for at least the next five years — with total spending on US digital video advertising expected to reach $58.39 billion by 2023, according to a report from eMarketer (Src).

As more publishers think about increasing their video ad inventories, the ability to better understand the technologies and tactics in play — including video ad standards — will help them ensure they get the most out of their investment.

However, with so many acronyms such as VAST, MRAID, VPAID, etc. floating around, it can be difficult to sort it all out. So, today we’re going to explore video ad standards in the ad-tech industry and explain them to you in an easy-to-understand manner.

Why do you need video ad standards?

As programmatic video has exploded in popularity, so too has the sophistication of technology platforms that host and enable them. While there is no question that they can facilitate ad auctions or even automate the entire process, there is often a misunderstanding about how all the pieces come together — especially from your perspective.

For this reason, IAB introduced various video ad standards for different platforms (desktop web, mobile web, mobile app, etc.) for publishers and advertisers. These ad standards address the requirements and technical aspects of video ad delivery, size, aspect ratio, file formats, and more. Currently, there are five video ad standards:

  • VAST (Video Ad Serving Template)
  • VPAID (Video Player Ad-serving Interface Definition)
  • VMAP (Video Multiple Ad Playlist)

What is VAST?

VAST is an acronym for Video Ad Serving Template and it’s a standard used to describe the capabilities of video players as it pertains to playing video ads on a website. In technical terms, it is a standardized, XML-based template for video ad communication between your video player and ad server.

While VAST gives you the ability to do a variety of things such as deciding what video ad to serve, how long the ad will be shown, whether the ad will be skippable or not, it can also provide insight into how well your ads are performing.

We have discussed everything about VAST extensively on our blog here.

What is VPAID?

VPAID stands for Video Player Ad Interface Definition. It enables the video player to communicate with in-stream video ad units and deliver interactive video ad experiences. A VPAID tag differs from a VAST tag in various forms. Unlike VAST, VPAID allows users to click on the video ad to see any additional information and provide additional control such as:

  • Allowing him to expand the size of the video ads.
  • Allowing to fill up forms or any other details inside the video ads.
  • Interacting with the video ad element, and much more.

Check out our Video Player Ad Serving Interface Definition article for a detailed discussion.

How does VPAID differ from VAST?

As we discussed, VAST and VPAID are two variations of video ad tags used by video publishers. While they’re also popular with advertisers, there are some benefits and drawbacks to each tag type and ultimately it’s up to you to decide which one works best for your website. 

Now, you may be wondering how exactly VPAID differs from VAST? Read it here.

What is VMAP?

VMAP is an XML template that can be used by you to structure multiple ad slots in video content when you don’t have control over the video player or distribution of the video content. In nutshell, VMAP allows you to:

  • Control video ad inventories across multiple partner websites
  • Structure video ad inventories and ad breaks during long-form video content.

Want to learn more about VMAP and activate it for your Ad Manager account? Here’s an article that will help you.

What’s Next?

Being a publisher can be tough. Standing video ad units in the crowd of websites doesn’t help either. Luckily, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is here to help with the development of interactive video advertising standards. The IAB video ad standards will help you and the advertisers adopt unified approaches to ensure you are delivering the best possible video ad experience and be on the same page with campaign measurement.

Have more questions on the video ad standards? Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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