Thought Leadership

VAST 4.2 Makes Programmatic Video and Audio Delivery More Efficient

April 28, 2020
By Sambit Patnaik

To scale their businesses, programmatic buyers and sellers need standards that boost efficiency and improve performance. Recent updates of IAB’s digital Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) are making programmatic audio and video delivery and monetization more efficient than ever before. Here are some of its key features and how they benefit our partners and customers.

A well defined ad request template for Sellers

With VAST 4.2, all the aspects of making a request are simpler. For video sellers, there’s been an ongoing challenge regarding how to declare inventory, with every SSP acting by its own set of parameters. VAST’s updates have standardized this process.

In addition there are several seller side capabilities:

  • AdServingID: With the introduction of an identifier, AdServingID, it is easier to compare data and track impressions across the various systems involved in delivering an impression.
  • Ad Request Specification: VAST 4.1 and above now include a basic Ad Request Specification, based on macros. This means that while making an ad request, sellers can access a standard set of values to put in their ad tag that help place the ad in real-time. This creates consistency across the board, with publishers declaring inventory in a standard way.
  • Better Support for Server-Side Transactions: VAST 4.2. is optimized to support server-side requests, which is particularly beneficial for CTV and mobile. As our industry scales on server-side requests, publishers are looking to transact most efficiently over the server, with optimal support.
  • Verification: VAST 4.2 includes changes that enable verification to be supported in a non-VPAID architecture. The VAST response that the sellers now receive provides a clearly demarcated script, which helps with security and rendering issues. This eliminates the opaqueness of javascript payloads and brings more transparency to verification. 
  • Competitive Separation and Pricing: Competitive separation prevents branding collision, which is useful for broadcast television and radio. For example, with competitive separation, a car brand such as Toyota can pay to ensure that no other car manufacturers air an ad within an hour of their ad spot. Until now, every SSP and demand provider have had their own implementation of this. With the VAST 4.1 updates, buyers can more clearly declare the kind of ad creative they’re airing, so sellers can ensure there is no overlap.

Stronger Performance for Buyers

While standardizing inventory declaration and ad requests for publishers, VAST 4.2 has also added features to improve performance and measurability for buyers.

  • Better User Experience: VAST 4.x updates have increased the likelihood of successful ad rendering. By retiring VPAID and adding verification and interactivity as XML elements, publishers now receive a transparent, clearly demarcated script that avoids latency issues and provides a better viewer experience. No VPAID means reduced errors and better overall ad performance. 
  • More Metrics and Viewability: Buyers now have four new tracking events to measure aspects of ad performance and viewability. This helps them track ad performance and achieve better ROI on their ad budgets. 
  • Combined Digital Audio and Video: While there used to be separate standards for digital audio and video ads (Digital Audio Ad Serving Template and VAST 4.1), the IAB recently combined the two so buyers don’t have to support both. This lessens the strain put on development teams and engineering resources and eliminates the need for buyers to use two different plug-ins.

Overall, updates in VAST bring standardization, improved viewability, metrics, and efficiency to programmatic video and audio. Looking forward, as more programmatic video players and servers adopt VAST, it will gain critical mass and become a ubiquitous standard.

For more information about VAST updates or Video and Audio, reach out to us at

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