Conquering In-App Video Ads: Should You Use VPAID or VAST?

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The current landscape of mobile video viewing continues to follow an upward pattern, with more people spending as much as 40 minutes consuming video content using their mobile phones on a daily basis. Despite how some of the online streaming providers such as Amazon Prime, Disney+, and Netflix offer their services via subscriptions, there are still a number of video content providers that support ads that most advertisers can leverage for their campaigns. In this post, we’ll give a brief introduction of VPAID and VAST, their key differences, and what the future holds for video advertising.

 

VPAID vs. VAST

If you are planning to launch in-app video ads, you can choose from two standards – VPAID and VAST. But, what are they and how do they differ from each other?

VPAID or Video Player Ad Interface Definition contains a collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) that bridge the connection between an advertisement and a video player. VPAID, in a way, dictates how a player would communicate with an ad. It allows for interactive in-stream advertising. One example would be to enable a consumer to view a product and scrutinize it by exploring its different features. However, this code caters mostly to consumers using their desktop for their viewing consumption. With the shift towards mobile use, some issues came to light with the use of this format.

VAST, on the other hand, stands for Video Ad Serving Template. This format was designed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to permit video players to connect with third-party ad servers. The script allows players relevant information about which ad they can watch, how the ad would show, its total video length, and if users have the option to skip it. This innovation allows the ad servers and video players to be on the same page. This way, it would be easier for publishers to understand the consumers and create standards, which allows for scaling. And when publishers can scale, it means they can sell more volume. However, VAST didn’t receive a good following when it was initially offered. Why? The code in place did not allow for measuring viewability.

But what changed? An upgrade to VAST 4.1.

 

The Future of VAST

Most ad exchanges are now starting to move away from VPAID and focus their resources on VAST due to the addition of one essential functionality – measuring viewability. VAST 4.1 now allows advertisers to measure the viewability of their ads via the Open Measurement (OM) software development kit (SDK). The IAB recognized the need for developing solutions wherein it would be easier for publishers to provide measurement data to their advertisers and providers. As such, the organization collaborated with several industry leaders like Integral Ad Science, Google, Microsoft, Nielsen, Pandora, Moat, and Double Verify so that there would be no need for publishers to install several SDKs to measure ad viewability. They simply have to use one SDK for all.

So, should you use VPAID or VAST? Our take is that mobile ad exchanges should now embrace VAST and support this standard more than VPAID. Aside from streamlining the viewability of the ads, there is a limitation of fraudulent activities. The transparency of the feature allows easy verification of traffic that provides for a better understanding of the consumer base and ad effectivity.

Additionally, the IAB is currently working on Secure Interactive Media Interface Definition (SIMID) that would effectively replace VPAID. This project aims to produce highly focused standards that zero in on supporting interactive ads in a secure environment. This way, publishers can have better control of their streams in various platforms such as mobile, server-side ad insertion (SSAI), and over-the-top (OTT) devices that would work well with live streaming.

Curious how you can use VAST for your ad campaigns? Find out how AlgoriX can help.

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Pranav Kataria

Associate Director, Programmatic Strategy

As the Associate Director of Programmatic Strategy, Pranav brings over 8 years of experience in the adtech industry working with Publishers, DSPs, Agencies, and Advertisers from global regions to improve their monetization, performance, and strategies. With great understanding of the mobile market, his expertise lies in analytics, account management, strategy, and ad sales. With this refined skill set, he brings customer-centric mindfulness that enables growth and innovation.

Before joining AlgoriX, his keen business perspective and skills have earned him opportunities to work across different organizations and verticals in the advertising ecosystem; be it improving the processes, sales enablement, and managing client relationships.

Ray Xia

VP, AlgoriX Partner Studio

Ray Xia was a mainstay at Tencent Games, having worked at the company for 13 years. There, he took on various roles including backend developer, application development manager, and game producer. During this time, he actively participated in the development and operation of popular titles such as QQ Pet, QQ Pet Fight, and games involving the Naruto franchise. To date, these games have over 10 million daily active users. Through this rich well of experience he has accumulated covering all aspects of game development and operation, he aims to spearhead more creative endeavors via AlgoriX Studios.

Naomi Li

VP, Research and Development

Naomi Li has a decade’s worth of experience in research and development for the adtech industry. She started her career at Baidu where she was mainly responsible for the Automation Testing of the Baidu Fengchao Ad Search Engine. There, she focused on the fields of overlapping experiment infrastructure, rich media ads rendering, and ad antispam technology. Moreover, as part of Baidu’s International Group, she led the research and development of various monetization and advertising mechanisms for Baidu’s overseas app store, SDK, and AdNetwork. At present, she is responsible for the overall direction of AlgoriX’s R&D efforts, which include product planning, technical architecture design, and talent training.

Frederic Liow

SVP, Revenue Growth & Strategy

A veteran in the digital advertising industry, he began his career during the early days of the dotcom era. To date, his passion for the digital industry is still as strong as ever (and getting even stronger). Spanning twenty years of his digital career, he has worked for leading companies like Nielsen, MRM McCann, Omnicom Media Group, Millward Brown and Smaato. Currently, Frederic is the revenue officer for AlgoriX spearheading global revenue growth, business expansion and strategic partnerships. He has set up and built AlgoriX’s global mobile ad exchange, hiring talents, establishing best practices, and injecting global industry standards into the company. Prior to his current role, he was the Head of Demand for Smaato, overseeing the demand business and operations in APAC. Frederic is currently based in our Singapore HQ.

Xinxiao Guo

Chief Operation Officer

Equipped with a decade’s worth of experience in global product operation as well as a deep understanding of emerging markets, Xinxiao brings her expertise in mobile traffic monetization and programmatic advertising to the table. Before her role at AlgoriX, she was a core member of iQIYI’s research and development unit. After that, she moved to Baidu as Head of Programmatic Advertising.

At present, she is AlgoriX’s co-founder and Chief Operation Officer. Together with the team, she aims to help game developers effectively reach global audiences and implement better monetization strategies.

Ruiz Xie

Chief Executive Officer

With nearly 20 years of business experience, Ruiz Xie founded AlgoriX with the vision of creating a global advertising platform and entertainment ecosystem. Through AlgoriX’s services, he aims to create a more inclusive tech ecosystem by providing customized solutions that meet the needs of businesses at every stage. At the same time, through AlgoriX Studios and its third-party partner studios, the company is currently bringing to life a greater goal of providing a comprehensive entertainment platform for people worldwide, which covers games, IP, comics, movies, and more. At present, he leads nearly a hundred employees with concrete plans to expand the company by establishing more offices worldwide.

Before founding AlgoriX, Ruiz Xie joined CoreMail in 2002. There, he created the first Ajax version of the mailbox in China for NetEase, which was the largest Internet company in China at the time. After that, he joined Tencent in 2005 and contributed to the creation of Tencent Games while also building a large scale distributed storage system. In 2013, he moved to Baidu where he took part in developing Baidu International’s overall architecture and search advertising system. During his tenure, he was also the Chairman of the Baidu Global Technical Committee and Baidu’s chief architect.