What is an extensive tag? Four Important Factors Publishers Need to Know
Publishers are able to serve video ads from a variety of ad sources thanks to the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) standard. VAST tags make it easier to deliver ads and give publishers and advertisers more control over the video ad experience.
Learn everything you need to know about the VAST standard, including how to make a VAST tag, how it works, which versions there are, and how to fix problems.
What is the VAST Tag?
A script that makes it easier for an ad server and a video player to communicate is known as a VAST tag. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) defines and standardized VAST tags, making it possible for relevant advertisements to play on any combination of websites, user platforms, and video players.
There are two categories of VAST tags: server-side and client-side
-Client-side VAST tags are injected into the media player of the user and displayed at the appropriate time.
-Server-side VAST tags are scripts that the ad server uses to generate advertisements and then insert those advertisements into the content so that the user’s media player can directly view them.
How does VAST function in ad servers and video players?
Ads served with VAST tags operate in a straightforward three-step procedure: pinging the tracking URLs, sending a VAST request, and receiving a VAST inline response.
1. VAST Demand
In order to obtain a video ad of the appropriate type and format, the user’s media player or video player sends a request to the ad server.
2. VAST Response in the Line.
An inline response is returned by the ad server when it receives an ad request. All appropriate media files and tracking URLs are included in this response.
3. URLs for Pinged Tracking.
The media player activates the tracking URLs to record impressions after receiving and playing the media files necessary to display the advertisement. This enables the ad server to collect impression data on the advertisement and assists publishers in evaluating its performance.
Important Parts of VAST Tags.
There are three essential components in VAST tags: the URL for the tracking, the video format, and the media file.
File for media
The creative for an advertisement is in the media file; that is, the video or interactive component that the user will view. A link to the corresponding media file is typically included in a VAST tag, making it possible for the media player to pull it up and play it.
Ad servers must maintain multiple versions of the same ad creative, frequently in distinct file formats, in order to play their ads to as many users as possible due to the variety of user devices, browsers, and media players.
As a result, the creative’s file format must also be defined by the VAST tag. MP4 and MOV are two typical examples. Due to their high level of compatibility and small footprint, non-video file formats like GIFs are also frequently used in simpler advertisements.
Due to their characteristic 1 x 1 transparent pixel shape, tracking URLs are also sometimes referred to as “tracking pixels.” Its primary function is to gather specific data and monitor an advertisement’s performance. Tracked types of information include:
-Viewability (the number of times the advertisement media file has been played and thus viewed) -Number of users who clicked on the advertisement to access the corresponding content -Number of users who interacted with the advertisement (if the advertisement has interactivity features, such as a game demo) Additional Attributes
A VAST tag can have additional components and attributes that define its type and appearance in addition to these three essential elements. A publisher can, for instance, specify the kind of ad (pre-roll, mid-roll, etc.) with advanced tag options. the width and height in pixels of the advertisement or the length of the video file.
How Can a VAST Tag Be Created?
Anyone who works as a developer or publisher can easily create their very own VAST tag. There are three options available: manual configuration and programming, Google Manager or a similar ad server, or tools from third parties.
VAST XML Schema (Extensible Markup Language) Manual Setup
Using the VAST> XML tag, developers and publishers who are familiar with the XML (Extensible Markup Language) format can create their own VAST tags.
Keep in mind that every VAST tag begins with “VAST version=”x”>” and ends with “/VAST>.” Replace “x” with the VAST version you want to use, leaving the quotes in place.
by way of the Google Ad Server.
The predefined parameters in Google Ad Manager can be utilized by publishers seeking a simpler solution.
To create VAST tags in Google Ad Manager, follow these steps:
-Register for an account with Google Ad Manager.
-Click on Ad Units after finding the Inventory menu on the left panel.
-Click on Tags after selecting the ad unit that corresponds to the creative for which you wish to create a VAST tag.
– Select one of the four choices: Tag Options, Tag Type, Tag Results, and Additional Tag Parameters
-Click Copy Tag after reviewing your options and making sure they meet your requirements.
The VAST Tags’ past
In 2008, the Video Ad Serving Template standard’s first version, VAST 1.0, was released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The IAB has repeatedly updated and enhanced VAST since its initial release.
The primary version numbers are the significant turning points in the history of VAST: 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0. Decimal numbers are used to represent changes that are more minute and incremental (such as the shift from 4.0 to 4.1).
-VAST 1.0 was released on August 1, 2008, and it supports basic linear tracking capabilities in addition to basic functionality (play, pause, and stop). MP4, 3GP, and MOV were the only formats supported at the time.
-VAST 2.0 added player and quartile event tracking (e.g., linear, non-linear, companion, etc.) as well as expanded the number of supported formats. The earliest version of VAST for which VAST 4 provides backward compatibility is VAST 2.0.
-VAST 3.0 provided publishers with more cutting-edge features like OBA compliance, skippable ads, and improved functions for error reporting.
-VAST 4.0 is the most recent major release, and it includes server-side stitching, closed captioning (CC), separate options for video and interactive ads, and support for mezzanine files.
The distinction between VAST URL and VAST XML.
You may have noticed that VAST tags are available in two formats when using Google Ad Manager or a third-party generator: URL and XML
The VAST XML format should always be utilized. However, only the VAST URL format is supported by certain Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs). To choose the best format, check your DSP.
How to Make a VAST Tag Work.
Since the majority of VAST tags use XML, it is essential to test and validate them before deploying them to ensure that they do not produce any VAST errors or contain any bugs.
There are a number of VAST tag validation tools available: VAST Tag Validator from the IAB, Google Video Suite Inspector, or Spring serve’s VAST Tag Tester. Copy the entire XML code of your VAST tag, paste it into the tag tester of your choice, and then use the Submit button (or an equivalent) to run it.
How to Troubleshoot VAST Tags
Debugging operations may be required if your VAST tag returns an error during validation. The general idea behind debugging is to look into the error code, figure out where the problem is coming from, and fix it (for example, changing the XML code of the VAST tag).
Common VAST errors and suggested debugging procedures include:
100 VAST Error
An XML Parsing Error is an Error 100. It typically indicates a problem with the VAST redirect URL or the XML document that contains the tag. Check the code of the VAST tag once more to make sure it is formatted correctly and that no symbols are missing or out of order.
101 VAST Error
The VAST Schema Validation Error code 101 indicates that the VAST tag’s code contains unrecognized or missing XML elements. The procedure for debugging is comparable to that of fixing an Error 100; examine the VAST XML to ensure that it contains all necessary components and is formatted appropriately.
Error 102 in VAST.
Response Version Not Supported is displayed as a VAST Error 102. The target video player does not support the VAST version specified in the VAST tag if this error code is displayed. Alternately, it might indicate that no particular version exists. By ensuring that the opening VAST> tag specifies the correct version, publishers can debug this error.
Error 301 in VAST.
The Redirect Timeout Has Been Reached error code from VAST is 301. This error code can also be caused by incorrect creative dimensions or invalid URIs, as well as high latency (slow or unstable Internet connections) or poorly optimized web pages.
If an ad size is specified, one possible debugging method is to check that the VAST tag has the right URI, height, and length.
Advantages of VAST Tags
Ad publishers’ ability to monetize websites and profit from their online ad campaigns has been significantly improved by VAST tags and the tools that make it simple to create and edit them.
The VAST standard has a number of advantages, the most important of which are as follows:
-VAST advertising tags are simple to create and edit without requiring extensive programming knowledge.
VAST tags have made it easier for media players and servers in an ad network to communicate with one another.
– Standardization of the VAST tag error processing and debugging procedures reduces playback errors.
Publishers benefit greatly from adhering to the VAST standards in terms of time and money.
VAST tags are a crucial part of today’s advertising technology. To get the most out of your video ad campaigns, you need to make use of VAST and the features in the most recent versions (4.0 and later).