The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Tech Lab released final specs Thursday for its digital Video Ad Serving Template (VAST ). VAST 4.1 incorporates what the organization says was an “unprecedented” amount of feedback collected during the public comment period, which started in June.

VAST is one of three specs for in-stream video ad formats in the IAB Tech Lab’s Digital Video Suite, or VSUITE. Like VAST, VPAID (Video Player-Ad Interface Definition) was initially released in 2008; Video Multi-Ad Playlist (VMAP) was added in 2012. The three specs can be used separately or in some combinations.

Why you should care

In a blog post announcing the release, Amit Shetty, president of the IAB’s Digital Video Technical Standards Working Group, said that VAST 4.1 corrected a “major gap [in VAST 4.0] that prevented it from being fully adopted – the lack of direction for how verification should work in a world where the MediaFile node has to be separated from any executable code.”

In the absence of a common in-stream advertising protocol for video players, advertisers had to create separate versions of video ads to work with multiple types of players, making it impossible to scale. But with the VAST protocol, marketers can provide just a single ad type that will work with many players. The IAB Tech Lab said that the VAST 4.1 public comment period drove a record number of responses.

More about the news

  • The updates to the protocol include expanded viewability and verification capabilities through Open Measurement, a “notUsed” tracking event to support scenarios where an ad may not get used, fixes to AdVerifications and a stipulation that nonlinear ads are no longer deprecated.
  • IAB Tech Lab said that VAST 4.1 is final except for some possible minor updates that might be needed after the group delivers a replacement for VPAID for interactivity features, but said that should not stop anyone from using it now.
  • The group says it will publish series of blog posts by members that focus on the major areas of change in VAST 4.1.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.


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