Tech Talk #5: VAST and VPAID are the path to better ad measurement

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Adotas is pleased to post the final installment of a series of Tech Talks that offer insights and explanations regarding the sometimes mysterious meaning and use of various digital tools. Your guide is Stephen Upstone, CEO of LoopMe.

Acronyms are never easy to understand. When it comes to mobile technology, the terms VAST and VPAID can leave marketers scratching their heads.

Tackling the terms one by one, VAST stands for Video Ad Serving Template. In its simplest form, this tells an ad server what type of ad should be displayed, and enables video ads to be served across players like simple pre-roll video ad formats.

It was developed by the IAB to make that video ad servers and publishers’ video players “speak to each other” fully, so that the video ad runs.

One of the shortcomings of earlier versions of VAST was that the technology did not allow for accurate ad measurement, meaning that up to 80% of time spent on mobile could be unmeasurable. Without ad verification, marketers were losing vital data that would help indicate how well the campaign was performing on mobile. Fortunately, with the development of VAST 4.0, measurement is possible, although it has not been adopted at scale.

The IAB also developed VPAID (Video Player Ad-Serving Interface Definition) – additional code for video players – to enable interactive ad experiences for video. VPAID is more abundant in mobile web environments than VAST 4.0, but its load time can be lengthier.

There are benefits and limitations to both VAST and VPAID technologies when it comes to mobile video ad measurement. Whilst viewability for mobile and in-app advertising is fragmented – as an eMarketer report highlighted recently – it’s worth remembering that it is still a work in progress. Ad views should be front and center of all marketing activities, across all channels to ensure your ad dollars are driving the greatest ROI possible.

With the right tech partner, marketers can cut through the talk and see its application for day-to-day campaign management. With a good grip on the innovations and solutions available, marketers can see software as a means to enhance, rather than replace, the mind of the human expert.

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