What is a Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) Tag?

Video Ad Serving Template or VAST is generally an organized script which allows showing ads to video players.

It uses the ‘eXential Markup Language’ (XML) schema to perform. This was created due to the high demand for video advertisements. 

It allows easy communication between the ad servers and the video players. VAST gives the opportunity to the video player to decide how and when to recover, render an ad from the server and inform it regarding cost and pricing.

It also allows the video player to access other important pieces of information regarding the video.

This application can work on several platforms such as laptops, mobiles, websites and many more.

How does a VAST work?

Digital advertisements can be set out on both the ‘server-side’ as well as the ‘client side.

In terms of ‘client-side’ VAST, the client’s video player asks for the ads from the ad server. While ‘server-side’ VAST creates ads and stitches them directly into the video.

There are three steps to carry out the complete client-side VAST:

  • The Appeal: The first step includes a video player sending an appeal to the ad server for fetching the video ad.
  • Response making: After the ad servers collect the request, it shares a reply with the video player which contains the required tracking URLs and video player files for the ad.
  • Displaying the video: On receiving the video ad from ‘Content Delivery Network’ or (CDN), the player then plays it.
  • Triggered URLs: After the ad is played, the video launches the pixel along with URLs tracking which allows other parties to check and measure collections.

However, this process varies if the advertisement publisher chooses a ‘third-party ad generator’ for this work. This will the process much easier for the publisher. It can also help maximise profit by using different tools and reports.

What are the different versions of VAST?

VAST has rapidly evolved throughout the past years. Here are the different versions of it:

  • VAST launched its very first version 1.0 in the year 2008 which supported MP4, basic linear event tracking, 3GP and play/stop functionality.
  • VAST 2.0 supported MP4, JavaScript, and quartile events. It carried linear, companion and non-linear advertisements as well. 
  • The VAST later upgraded to version 3.0 which supported skippable ads, OBA compliance and five ad formats.
  • Later it advanced to version 4.0 which had the facility to carry both separate video and interactive files, verification, advance reporting and viewability.
  • IAB recently launched its latest version 4.1 in June 2018 which has all advanced techniques.

What does a VAST tag mean?

A VAST tag is an ad script structure which helps ad servers to display ads in a video. The code for the video ads is written in XML schema which contains important information regarding the ad.

It also contains the required length, the format of the video and the destinations of the URLs in it.

Every VAST tag has different frameworks which can be changed as per the requirements of the publishers and the advertisers. 

How a VAST tag is created?

There are generally two types of VAST tags, ‘VAST XML’ and ‘VAST URL’. The Three ways of creating a VAST tag are as follows:

1. Hand-operated XML creation:

For creating a VAST tag manually it is important to have some knowledge regarding XMLs.

There are a few basic predefined frameworks which are needed to edit and join together to form a full XML file for creating a VAST tag.

2. Using Google Ad Manager:

It is the most famous ad server for creating VAST tags. It is very easy and effortless as it supports HTTPS as well as HTTP URLs.

Publishers can easily access the Google Ad Manager and can create a VAST tag by clicking on the inventory then clicking on the ads unit, after that locating the ads unit and clicking on tags, filling out the important requirements and finally copying the tag.

Using Google Ad Manager

3. Using third-party ads generators:

If a publisher doesn’t want to follow the above steps then they can simply take help from a third-party ad generator.

The ad generators will create a tag for the user. However, the user must be aware to convey their requirements to the ad generators so that the video ad can run without any error.

The publishers can choose any VASt tag generator as per their choice, the only thing they should keep in mind is that the player should all-important framework to avoid any unnecessary mistakes. 

How VAST tags are verified?

Verifying the VAST tags before launching them is important to ensure that they don’t have any problems.

There are various VAST tag checking tools available such as Youtube VAST validator, VAST Inspector, VAST Tag Validato by IAB, video suite inspector by Google, VAST Tag Tester and many more.

A publisher can choose any VAST tag-checking tool to ensure that the video ad runs smoothly.

How VAST tags are verified?

What are the benefits of VAST tags?

Since its first launching in the year 2008, VAST has upgraded through the times and has motivated advertisers and publishers to increase and strengthened the force of content from its users.

There are many benefits of using VAST such as it helps to provide a high profit-generating tool for the publishers. VAST also helps in lowering playback errors while displaying video ads.

It provides a systematic approach for the publishers as well as the advertisers in terms of saving money and time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques 1: What are the three kinds of information does VAST tags package together?

Ans: The VAST tag includes the files that have video ad services, URLs and pixels which are delivered to the publisher’s media player.

Ques 2: What does VAST stand for?

Ans: VAST stands for Video Ad Serving Template. It was developed by Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Ques 3: What is a VAST request?

Ans: A VAST request is a request which is sent by the user’s media player to the ad server to create an ad with the correct format.

Ques 4: What is a VAST tag tester?

Ans: A VAST tag tester is a tool which helps publishers and developers to validate their VAST XML before launching it.

Ques 5: What are VAST 2.0 tags?

Ans: VAST 2.0 tags are a type of code which is used in the language. These 2.0 tags help the developers to understand some properties such as the running time of the video ad and the destined URL for the audience.

Orvill Samanta
Orvill Samanta

An app marketer with over 6 years of experience in the tech industry. I have developed a strong passion for apps and love to create engaging and informative content around it. When not talking about marketing, I binge-watch anime series and read comic books. My keen eye for technology has helped me captivate my audience and increase engagement with my work.