New Standards to Make Ads Skippable, Reduce Complexity

The IAB has launched the first major update to its in-stream video advertising standards since 2008, known as the “IAB Video Suite”.  The new standards will update and improve the specifications with a view to improving advertising experiences and simplifying technical execution. The IAB Digital Video Committee has worked with leaders from over 45 member companies over the last year and has updated key specs – VAST and VPAID – and the establishment of a new protocol, the ‘Video Multiple Ad Playlist’, to be known as ‘VMAP’.

VAST 3.0, VPAID 2.0, and VMAP 1.0 offer a range of new benefits to advertisers, publishers, and consumers. Advancements include:

  • Support for “skippable” video ads that allow for publisher pricing models based on ads that play to completion
  • Support for “pods” of multiple ads to be displayed in a single ad break, allowing for the creation of viewing experiences similar to broadcast television
  • Support for the display of in-ad privacy notices recommended by the Digital Advertising Alliance Self-Regulation Program for Online Behavioral Advertising
  • Ability for a single ad to play seamlessly across different devices including iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as certain connected television platforms
  • Clarity surrounding compliance, while permitting vendors to support only the ad formats they use

What Are the IAB Video Standards?

The IAB’s standards are a set of rules and regulations to make video advertising easier and more effective. Trafficking a video advertising campaign remains a relatively complicated process when it comes to getting the creative right and having the various tracking components added and approved before serving the ad (although there are no shortage of companies making it easier and/or who will handle the difficult parts for you.

This is partly because the technology is inherently complex, but also because it’s still a relatively young part of the digital advertising industry that has only recently started to gain proper traction and the investment that comes with it.

The IAB standards aren’t something most people outside of the ad tech industry have to worry about a great deal – if you’re working with one of the major video ad tech companies, they’re almost certainly complying with the standards and in many cases will have fed into the process for creating them. However, it’s useful to understand what the new standards

The three pillars of the IAB’s standards – VAST, VPAID and VMAP – work together to enable a comprehensive video advertising offering:

  • Video Ad-Serving Template (VAST) – a universal protocol for serving in-stream video ads, permitting ad servers to use a single ad response format across multiple compliant publishers/video players
  • Video Player-Ad Interface Definition (VPAID) – a common communication protocol between ad units and video players that enables rich ad experiences and detailed event reporting back to advertisers
  • Video Multiple Ad Playlist (VMAP) – a new protocol that allows content owners to describe where ad breaks should be placed in their content when they do not control the video player or the content distribution outlet


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