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Know the Difference Between VAST and VPAID

Recent data shows that ad spending is expected to reach over $94 million in 2021. This number is projected to grow annually by 12.55%, resulting in a projected market value of $148 million by 2025. While digital advertising plays a crucial role in this growth, publishers should also give credit to standard frameworks like VAST and VPAID which enable efficient and seamless distribution of video ads.

In this article, we’ll define VAST and VPAID, identify their pros and cons, and determine which will work best for different advertising strategies.

What is VAST?

VAST, short for Video Ad Serving Template, is a script template that enables publishers to serve simple “in-stream” ads across streaming video and audio platforms. With VAST, you can program the way ads to run on different devices by providing instructions like:

  • Which ads to play
  • How the ad should be presented
  • The running time of ads
  • Whether viewers can skip an AD
  • Where the ad’s CTA will take the viewers

How Does VAST Work?

You can integrate VAST into your ad campaign by following this 3-step process:

  1. Call in for an ad request: The video player reaches out to the server and asks it to send an ad.
  2. Respond to the call: The ad server responds to the video player and sends the tracking URLs that contain the important media files.
  3. Activate the URLs: The video player launches the tracking URLs to enable other parties to track and measure impressions.

Since it was first introduced by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in 2008, VAST has gone through multiple evolutions. Here’s what you can expect from the latest versions:

VAST 4.2 Updates (The latest version)

  • Provides support for Secure Interactive Media Interface Definition (SIMID), which replaces VPAID for interactivity.
  • Allows multiple UniversalAdID nodes to be provided
  • Added macro support for better ad break information

VAST 4.1 Updates

  • Improves the Ad verification process
  • Merges VAST with Digital Audio Ad Serving Template (DAAST)
  • Standardizes the close captioning of files

VAST 4.0 Updates

  • Offers support for high-quality mezzanine files
  • Provides support for universal ad ID programs
  • Added VAST video error codes for mezzanine files and server-side ad insertion

The Strengths and Drawbacks of VAST

In advertising, VAST is a prevalent ad tag format: it automates the ad-serving process and reduces costs while increasing ROI. However, it doesn’t offer enough insight into ad performance and effectiveness. While it’s not as interactive as VPAID yet, recent updates are slowly closing the gap.

This brings us to our next agenda…

What is VPAID?

VPAID, short for Video Player Ad interface is also a script template but unlike VAST, it enables publishers to serve rich media and interactive ads to viewers. First introduced in 2012, VPAID, your viewers will be able to:

  • Click on different sections of the ad to reveal additional information
  • Expand the ad size as desired
  • Fill out fields or forms and answer surveys that are integrated into the add
  • Interact with the ad elements and even play a mini-game

Beyond that, VPAID collects information on how users are interacting with the video ads. Thus, enabling you to leverage different performance metrics and adjust campaigns accordingly.

How Does VPAID Work?

VPAID functions similarly to VAST with a few key differences:

  1. Call in for an ad request. The video player reaches out to the ad server to make an ad request.
  2. Respond to the call. The ad server responds to the video player’s VPAID-compliant ad unit and VAST XML file.
  3. Continuous communication. The ad server and video player maintains communication to continually exchange properties to and from.
  4. Monitor activities. The video ad player and ad unit collate the tracked impressions and send them to their respective ad servers.

Much like VAST tags, VPAID has also gone through a few upgrades:

VPAID 2.0 Updates

  • Offers support for better rendering on mobile devices
  • Enables autoplay on Chrome for players smaller than 400×300
  • Provides a wider range of functionality than Flash using JS and HTML5

VPAID 1.0 Updates

  • Supports ad rendering on desktop
  • Limited functionality with Flash

The Strengths and Drawbacks of VPAID

VPAID ad tags might offer a more favorable position than VAST, but there is still room for improvement. For instance, VPAID allows a more interactive user experience, however, it can slow down page loading times and affect overall website performance.

Moreover, VPAID mobile inventory can be limited due to compatibility issues. For mobile devices, VPAID ads are served via Javascript, whereas desktop uses Flash.

VAST vs VPAID: The Bottomline

With the latest advancement in VAST, it’s hard to tell which one will outperform the other. Considering the latest updates, it all boils down to your campaign needs. If you are looking for a more stable and accessible way to serve video ads, opt for VAST. But, if your primary goal is to improve user engagement and drive more conversions, and are not too bothered with VPAID’s accessibility issues, we say go for it!

Invest in a Powerful Ad Server System

After choosing the right tag for your campaign, be sure to choose a video ad server that you can rely on. Aniview’s Ad Server supports different tag formats, VAST or VPAID. It enables you to manage and deliver ads efficiently in one centralized platform.

Explore the various benefits of investing in a powerful ad server system. Reach out to Aniview for inquiries today.