From VAST to VPAID and back again - the way to the VAST 4.X standard


Meetrics VAST 4.x Blog

Written by Clemens Egle, Head of Product at Meetrics

For years it has been agreed that the current solutions for measuring VideoAds are not really satisfactory for any of the participants. VAST is designed to establish a standard that should allow video to be played in different players. As the need for interactive video formats grew, the VPAID standard was developed as a way to interact with the ad. This technology was also used as a solution for viewability and performance measurements.

VPAID has actually been developed as a supplement to the VAST standard. However, it is often used in the international market as a transport medium to import measurement scripts into players and websites. This market solution has some risks, especially in the programmatic environment, such as a reduction in page performance, often resulting in a poorer user experience. Especially in the mobile sector, the standard is supported only very inadequate. For these reasons, publishers and marketers are often unwilling to relinquish control of their video players to third parties and use the unstable VPAID standard.

Who suffers from it
Advertisers have a strong desire for transparency and measurability of their digital campaigns. Recognizing the extent to which the booked inventory became viewable plays a major role for them.

Which gap needs to be filled
The promising current version of the Video Ad Serving template – VAST 4.0 and its VAST4.1 extension, which has been in the public comment phase since July 2018 – is a solution to this problem. It enables AdVerification vendors to write their scripts directly to VAST XML so that the measurement can begin in parallel to the actual video delivery. The task of publishers will be to integrate VAST 4.x into their video player structure. AdServers have to ship to the VAST4.x compatible AdTags. The VAST4.1 standard also specifies the ability to implement this new approach to viewability measurement in older VAST standards to ensure a smooth transition.

How Meetrics drives VAST 4.x
Meetrics was the first ad vendor to work with other key market participants to develop an open source viewability API that handles the propagation of player events to the verification provider’s metrics script. The measurement can already be integrated in the ad server when the campaign is set up, which considerably reduces the operational effort. Combined with IP Germany’s VAST 4.x compliant video player infrastructure and Meetrics viewability counting, the world’s first measurement based on VAST 4.0 was launched live in early 2018.

Where we want to go
Meetrics is actively engaged with other publisher networks and ad serving companies to promote support for the VAST4.x standard across the entire advertising delivery chain. In order to establish the new technology in the market, agencies and advertisers need to rethink: the video completion rate, which can be determined since VAST 2.0, does not allow the viewability of the ad and should therefore not be used as a performance indicator .