IAB Tech Lab Releases VAST 4.1 for Public Comment

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Critical Updates in VAST 4.1, the Digital Video Ad Serving Template, Include Support for Improved Ad Verification, Ad Creative Measurement, and Server-Side Ad Insertion & Integration of Audio Advertising

The IAB Technology Laboratory released VAST 4.1 for public comment, featuring significant advancements to the digital video ad serving template. Improved verification will allow for support within non-VPAID (Video Player-Ad Interface Definition) architecture, while also permitting VAST 4.1 to align with the Open Measurement Interface Definition (OMID) to better measure viewability of video ads on web. Upgrades for server-side ad insertion and the integration of DAAST (Digital Audio Ad Serving Template) are also key elements of the proposed specification.

Additional revisions tackle a range of technical issues, such as:

  • Ad Requests: VAST 4.1 takes the first steps to standardizing ad requests through the use of macros, which will help propagate context more easily, especially for server-side ad insertion and server-to-server communications.
  • Deprecating Video Player Ad Serving Interface Definition (VPAID): While VPAID will continue to be used in the near future, VAST 4.1 takes the first steps to officially deprecate its use – significantly simplifying video ad execution and improving consumer experience.
  • AdServingID: A required field has been added to simplify comparing data about a video impression across the various systems involved with the delivery and tracking of the impression, enabling better measurement and more.
  • VAST Interactive Templates: Recognizing the need for standardizing interactive ads without ad delivered executable code, especially in mobile and OTT environments, VAST 4.1 introduces the concept of interactive templates.
  • Closed Captioning: VAST 4.1 enables closed captioning by standardizing the delivery of closed captioning files.
  • Flash: With VAST 4.1, all references to Flash and Flash resources are being removed, reflecting discontinuation of Flash usage in ads.

Also Read: IAB Tech Lab Launches New International Digital Measurement Compliance Program

VAST 4.1 is accompanied by OMID version 1.2 that adds support for web browsers and guidance to implement it for web browsers.

In order to help the industry transition to this new version, the IAB Tech Lab is working on a series of webinars and blog posts, as well as a VAST Compliance Program that will test and certify VAST 4.1 implementations.

“As the video landscape has evolved and grown, so have the technical complexities in delivery, measurement, and more,” said Dennis Buchheim, Senior Vice President, Technology and Ad Operations, IAB, and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. “Once VAST 4.1 is adopted in the marketplace, we’ll see dramatically improved digital video and audio operations for buyers, sellers, and technical teams, making way for even greater growth for video.”

“VAST 4.1 with Open Measurement brings us closer to consistent measurement across all platforms, which has been an elusive goal,” said Joe Barone, Managing Partner, Brand Safety Americas, ýGroupM. “These updates will make a meaningful difference to brand clients and will give them greater confidence in allocating more of their marketing budgets to video.”

The public comment period will run through July 14, 2018, after which the IAB Tech Lab Digital Video Technical Standards Working Group will evaluate the comments received, make any necessary revisions, and release a final version.

Recommended Read: IAB Tech Lab Launches Ads.txt Aggregator as Part of Ongoing Effort to Combat Ad Fraud

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