In today's digital age, online advertising has become an essential part of any business strategy. As consumers increasingly turn to online platforms for entertainment and information, businesses must develop effective advertising campaigns that can reach their target audience.
What is VAST?
VAST stands for Video Ad Serving Template. It is an XML-based template that defines a standard way for video ads to be served and displayed across multiple platforms and devices. It is a standard protocol developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) that enables the delivery of video ads to websites and mobile applications. It is essentially a set of guidelines that defines how video ads should be packaged and served to end users. By following the VAST protocol, ad servers can deliver ads compatible with a wide range of video players and platforms, ensuring that the ads reach as many users as possible.
How does VAST work?
VAST works by using a VAST ad server to serve ads to websites or mobile applications. The ad server sends a VAST ad tag to the publisher's website, essentially a piece of code requesting an ad from the ad server. The ad server then responds with a file, a video file containing the ad itself. The publisher's website or mobile application then plays the ad file for the user.
VAST uses a variety of different components to ensure that the ad is delivered correctly. These include the following:
- VAST tags: These are the pieces of code that are used to request ads from the ad server. There are two main types of VAST tags: wrapper tags and inline tags. Wrapper tags point to another VAST ad server, while inline tags contain the actual ad information.
- VAST files: These are the video files that contain the actual ad content. These files can be in various formats, including MP4, FLV, and WMV.
- Tracking URLs: These are URLs included in the VAST file and are used to track the ad's performance. URLs can be tracked to track impressions, clicks, and other metrics.
VAST servers are essential for delivering this type of ads. These servers are responsible for hosting and delivering the ads to websites and mobile applications. They can be standalone servers or integrated into larger advertising serving platforms.
Ways to use video ads on the VAST protocol
VAST video ads can be used in diverse ways to deliver sufficient video advertising campaigns. Some examples of how they can be used include:
- Pre-roll ads. Pre-roll ads are ones that play before a video begins. They are commonly used on video sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. Pre-roll ads can be highly effective because they are displayed to users who are actively seeking out video content, making them more likely to be engaged with the ad.
- Mid-roll ads. Mid-roll ads play during a video. They are commonly used on longer videos, such as TV shows or movies. They can be effective because they are displayed to users already engaged with the content, making them more likely to be receptive to the ad.
- Post-roll ads. Post-roll ads play after a video has finished. They are commonly used on video sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. They can be efficient because they are displayed to users who have just finished watching a video, making them more likely to be engaged.
- In-banner video ads. They play within a standard display ad banner. They can be highly popular because they allow advertisers to deliver video content in a format that is familiar to users.
- Social media ads. VAST ads can also be used on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. These ads can be highly targeted based on user demographics, interests, and behaviors, making them an effective way to reach a specific audience.
- Connected TV ads. VAST advertisements can also be connected to TV platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire TV. These platforms allow advertisers to deliver ads to users who are streaming video content on their TVs.
- Interactive video ads. These ones allow users to interact with the ad content. For example, a user might be able to click on different elements within the ad to learn more about a product or service. Interactive video ads can be highly attractive and can help to increase brand awareness and engagement.
Examples of VAST advertisements
To better understand how VAST video ads can be used and to show you a VAST ads example I have collected some cases:
- Nike - "Dream Crazier" ad: Nike's "Dream Crazier" ad is an example of a pre-roll ad that was delivered on YouTube. The advertisement features female athletes breaking down barriers and achieving their goals. The ad is highly emotional and inspiring, making it a great fit for the pre-roll format.
2. Coca-Cola - "Share a Coke" ad: Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke" ad is an example of an in-banner video ad. The ad features a video that plays within a standard display ad banner, encouraging users to share a Coke with their friends and loved ones.
3. IKEA - "Bookbook" ad: IKEA's "Bookbook" ad is an example of an interactive video ad. The ad features a parody of Apple's product launch videos, with IKEA introducing its new "bookbook" product. Users can click on different elements within the ad to learn more about the features of the bookbook.
4. Hulu - "The Handmaid's Tale" series ad: Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" advertisement is an example of a mid-roll ad. The ad played during an episode of the show, encouraging viewers to sign up for a Hulu subscription to watch the full series.
Benefits of using this ad format
There are many benefits to using VAST advertisements in your advertising campaigns. Some of the key benefits include:
- Compatibility: They are compatible with a wide range of video players and platforms, making it easier to reach a large audience.
- Targeting: They can be highly targeted based on user demographics, interests, and behaviors. This can help to ensure that your ads are being delivered to the right audience.
- Measurement: They include tracking URLs that can be used to measure the performance of your ads. This can help you to optimize your campaigns for better results.
- Flexibility: They can be used in a variety of different formats, including pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads, as well as in-banner video ads and interactive video ads. This gives advertisers a lot of flexibility in how they deliver their ads.
- Engagement: Video ads can be highly attractive, allowing advertisers to tell a story and connect with users on an emotional level. This can help to increase brand awareness and engagement.
Set up a VAST video ad campaign in HilltopAds
When you're creating a Video/VAST ad format campaign and select a VPAID Url video format, you'll have access to a VAST/VPAID Tag Tester, a new feature developed by our tech team. You will see a Test your code green button below.
This useful tool provides a way for you to preview how your ad will appear in our publishers' player. The testing process is straightforward and can be done in two ways. First, select the tag and input a link to your XML feed in the field below. If you choose the Custom XML option, copy and paste your VAST XML file into the designated area. Then, click on the Load Ad button.
Once you've initiated the test, the video will start playing, and you can see how your ad will appear. If there are any issues with the ad, such as it not being displayed, the log console will display the error's reason below the video. You can fix these issues immediately, ensuring that your ad is running smoothly before launching the campaign.
VAST ads are a mighty tool for online advertising, allowing advertisers to deliver influential video campaigns that reach a large and engaged audience. Following the VAST protocol, ad servers can provide advertisements compatible with a wide range of video players and platforms, ensuring the ads reach as many users as possible. Whether you're looking to deliver pre-roll ads on YouTube, in-banner video ads on social media, or interactive video ads on connected TVs, VAST ads offer a flexible and effective solution for your advertising needs.