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February 21, 2012 / Danii Oliver

VAST

In much of what I being in the mix I become aware of the need for implementation as the need arises. Virtually everything in digital is new. HTML 5 & PHP 5 launched last year, Actionscript 3 launched 4 years ago, and video ad compliance for the web was realized 3 years ago & updated 1 1/2 years ago.

The languages & guideline we utilize today are all new and are being released as needed. It’s not something that most of us in the business can learn in school. Something new comes out we jump in and do what needs to be done.

The compliance system known as VAST is an set of guidelines developed to allow all parties involved in online video ad serving to operate efficiently. The one standard allows publishers to readily use ad networks for unsold space without hassle. Publishers use key value pair ad tags to differentiate ads being served and set custom parameters  such as sound, length of ad 15 or 30 seconds, pre or post poll etc. For ad networks it reduces technical integration. For agencies, VAST optimizes serving, reporting, tracking and allows them to utilize existing tools. For developers, the technical venders, they only have to build for one standard a streamlined method of doing business.

The VAST compliance method of ad serving works with an XML parsing system that through Actionscript or JavaScript makes calls to a secondary server for ad requests. A great feature to the VAST compliance is that players can validate business rules around the XML response and choose whether to play an ad or not. Based on the parameters set, ads are served up when requested – as they’re requested. This may be pre roll, mid or post, overlay and with volume without, with companion or without etc. The VAST standard then requires reporting on two ends like checks and balances. Once and only once the ad has completed streaming the player them must report the fact that the impression was made (in total), this process is referred to as Pixel Reporting.

Platforms allow for error reporting as well. Some players provide mid stream counters, from my exposure this is a custom built module. The module which I have built for a client but, maybe available in 3rd party clients I have not yet encountered.

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