Find yourself wondering: What is the difference between VAST and VPAID? Why is it necessary for Video Advertising?

If you’re interested in running video ads you’ve probably heard the terms VAST and VPAID, and you might even know that VAST and VPAID are industry standards that help publishers to run your ad on video players.

If, beyond that, you’re still scratching your head a bit, let’s talk about how and why complying with these standards will help you optimize your advertising budget.


What is VAST?

Serving video ads into video players–those that are embedded on a publisher’s website or mobile app–is different than serving them just into websites, hence the need for VAST.

VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) was created by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) in order to standardize the scripts that provide instructions from a video ad server to a video player.

A VAST ad tag is a set of standardized code that communicates between the video ad server and the publisher’s video player. It lets the video player know which ad should play, how it should appear, how long it is allowed to play and whether it is something that a user can skip. It will also give information such as where exactly the video player can find the video file and the click-thru URL that it should use. VAST uses XML to accomplish these (and many other) tasks.


Why is VAST important?

As the number of platforms and devices that run online video advertising keep increasing and becoming more complex (think of all the various screen sizes, connection speeds, etc), a common language for ad servers and video players to use across all these platforms becomes more necessary.

As an advertiser, your money is best spent on creating VAST ads that will be able to play on any video player; for ad publishers, standardized content means standardized implementation. A more streamlined process all around!


What is VPAID and how is it different from VAST?

VPAID (Video Player-Ad Interface Definition) is another standard developed by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). Think of it as VAST + interactivity.  

VAST by itself supports only the simpler in-stream video ad formats. Layering VPAID code onto VAST allows video players to display an “executable ad unit” that provides ad viewers with a richer, interactive ad experience. For example, an overlay can be enabled that allows viewers to “click and read more.”

As a huge benefit to advertisers, VPAID also allows ad playback and user-interaction details to be captured and reported. No more guessing whether an ad is performing well!


Now for a bonus tip: Companion Ads

Besides using VAST to ensure your ad meets IAD standards and can be played on any video player, then layering on VPAID for interactivity and user analytics, the best way to way to optimize your video ad might be to include a companion ad.

A companion ad is a banner ad that is displayed alongside an in-stream or overlay video ad. It can increase the video ad’s effectiveness by creating a stronger overall impression and offering the viewer an easy place to click–especially because it stays on screen after the video ad has finished playing.