Three years is a long time to go by between versions, but that’s how long it’s been since VAST 3. 0 was released. The IAB Technology Laboratory is the organization responsible for bringing the standard up to the modern era, and it’s just released version 4.0 for public comment. It released a 4.0 draft at today’s IAB Ad Operations Summit held in New York City.
VAST stands for video ad serving template, and this new version was designed to improve video ad delivery and measurement. Here are its main improvements:
- Server-Side Support: Client-side ad execution has been the standard way to track impressions until now, but many devices don’t support client-side. Version 4.0 adds server-side ad-stitching.
- Mezzanine Files: VAST 4.0 supports raw, high-quality mezzanine files, so that video ads play across platforms that include long-form high-resolution content. This version also supports international creative ID programs like Ad-ID.
- Ad Verification: Ad verification is possible thanks to a light script object in version 4.0. This saves advertisers from turning to complicated VPAID use for verification, letting them use VPAID for ad interaction as it was intended.
- Category Support: With new ad categories, advertisers will be able to keep ad creative separate.
- Conditional Ad Declaration: When advertisers use VPAID to create a conditional ad in programmatic buying, publishers sometimes lose out on revenue if an ad doesn’t play. VAST 4.0 supports conditional ads to avoid this situation.
“VAST 4.0 is critical in ensuring that the technical infrastructure that supports the digital video ecosystem is able to reduce friction and encourage brands to spend more dollars on digital video,” says Anna Bager, senior vice president and general manager for mobile and video at the IAB.
The proposed standard will be available for public comment through December 2. Send comments to Luke Luckett. After the deadline, the IAB Digital Video Technical Standards Working Group will evaluate all comments, make any needed changes, then release the final version.