Introduction to VAST

If you’re in the online advertising industry then you will no doubt have come across the term VAST and you may or may not know what exactly it means. This post aims simply to explain what VAST is in laymans terms.

VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) is a technology created by the IAB which delivers advertising to videos. It’s a method which has been developed to provide publishers and advertisers with a common language for video player technology.

Before VAST, there was no common protocol for serving advertising across video players. Ad servers found themselves having to develop slightly different ad responses for every publisher and the video player that they used - as they were all different.

This time-consuming process led to IAB’s VAST which standardizes the communication requirements between video players and the ad servers. This has made video advertising more scalable and straightforward for the industry.

As the digital video advertising market has become more sophisticated, there is a demand for increasingly advanced functionality. The latest version, VAST 3.0, was released in July 2012 and provides more features, increased functionality and better reporting.

pre-roll post-roll and overlay ad types supported by vast

Image credit: IAB 2012

The graphic above illustrates the ad types supported by VAST. In-stream video ads can be a video that plays before, after or in the middle of the publisher’s video (Linear). Or the ad may be an image ad that overlays video content while it's in progress (NonLinear).

For more detailed information on VAST and it’s capabilities, please refer to the IAB website.

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