What is VAST 4.0?

What Is VAST 4.0? An Educational article from VidMatic's academy about what is VAST 4.0
What Is VAST 4.0? An Educational article from VidMatic’s Academy about what is VAST 4.0

Surely, you have noticed the increase in quantity as well as the quality of video content. This is because of the new ways video publishers have identified and created to monetize them. The IAB, join efforts with the industry leaders to set the main guidelines for serving ads on video content. However, if you are just getting into this, we recommend that you start with our article “Difference Between VAST & VPAID in Video Advertising”

The year 2016 was a shifting point in the industry. The IAB announced two main releases designed to further improve the digital marketplace. The IAB announced:

  • The release of the new updated 4.0 version of VAST.
  • The very first ever update to the Digital Video Ad Formats Guidelines.

VAST stands for Video Ad Serving Template. The first the version of this technology was released in the year 2008. The first version of this technology could serve ads to hosts of digital video players.

The 2016 achievements of the IAB needed to overcome certain challenges in the industry. The different sizes of the screens make the main challenge in this industry. Most publishers and advertisers agree on the need to overcome it. They did so as pioneers in the industry.

Moreover, the challenges emerged from different facts as well. People, regardless of the screen size they are using, still faced the issue related to bandwidth too. Furthermore, they had to take into consideration the diversity of available platforms and technologies from around the world. Thus, all the factors previously mentioned in addition to other challenges as well had resulted in the arising of a new business called Ads Stitching Services.

AD Stitching Overview

Ad Stitching is a technology that acts as an intermediary between various parties. It also serves, receives and stitches ads on behalf of the video player into a content stream. This has resulted in a unified stream of video, that offers publishers a new sense of control and high-quality video environments.

This has directed business pioneers for the update for the VAST to version 4.0. The very first Ad Format Guideline to include the support for Ad Stitching along with features that can and will improve performance and add playback accountability.

What VAST 4.0 is all about?

The update included many updates and support of the Mezzanine File which is the raw high-quality video used to generate smaller low-quality files for easier playback. In other words, the digital master file that can be used to create copies for video streaming or download. The challenge with the Mezzanine file is that they are so big that they can be only used in ad serving.

To overcome the challenge of higher quality apps, Ad Stitching needs the Mezzanine file to generate ads that are suited to the environment with varying levels of bandwidth, screen sizes, and different platform technology.

Other challenges were taken into consideration to deliver high-quality video ads are the Universal Ad ID and the Ad Categories.

The Universal Ad ID helps in tracking the ad creatives across systems that are designed to support creative tracking programs under the legal requirement in some countries. The VAST 4.0 update covers this challenge.

On the other hand, the Ad Categories update in the VAST 4.0 prevents the ads to be played alongside competitors. In addition, it keeps certain ads where they should not be such as an ad for alcohol or a video made for children.

The VAST 4.0 update also includes new performance features and provided guidelines for providing ready to serve files (Ads). Such features cover the File separation and put limit on VAST wrappers.

Overview of Ready-to Serve-Files (RTSFs)

Ready-to-Serve-Files are simple video files that come in three different quality levels. These are designed for easy Ad-Serving to just about any system.

Accordingly, the guidelines for the three levels of quality of the video files are outlined in the in the ad-format guidelines. Moreover, they are also supported in VAST. These simplified files help ensure that when an ad is served, the player can execute a more complex file.

Standardized filed guidelines ensure that players know what to expect when they look for the best quality file to play. Ads that are more complex need a better process for execution. The reason behind that is to improve delivery performance.

Recommendations for VAST 4.0.

Separate the interactive components from the simple video files made. Because when video files are wrapped in an interactive code such as the video player ad interface definition (VPAID), it may not run correctly if the player is not equipped to execute it. In addition, the ad stitching systems might not play it at all.

Now, keep in mind that providing the video file separately from the interactive component improves performance. This enables playback in more systems.

Another important feature in VAST 4.0 is Ad-Verification. Buyers often employ ad verification to measure how ads have been viewed. Usually, this is done using files like VPAID to check for viewability. This procedure, unfortunately, will slow down and performance for sure.

The update tackled this challenge. The update allowed verification services to be added within the VAST. This addition prevents ad playback and measurement operations from getting tangled and causing performance issues.

Publishers, with the new update of the VAST to 4.0 now can use the new viewable impression feature to offer their own services for tracking viewability.

These updates came improving delivery in today’s complex video marketplace.

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