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IAB Video Ad Serving Template (VAST)

Summary and Scope

This Video Ad Serving Template (“VAST”) includes a standard XML-based ad response for in-stream video as well as an XML Schema Definition (“XSD”) for developers. It is meant to accommodate the majority of current practices within the online digital video advertising business.

VAST is designed for any on-demand video player where the ad response is parsed prior to play. For example, use of this standard would be appropriate within an Adobe Flash player if the ad response was requested and parsed in ActionScript but would not be appropriate if contained directly within a SMIL playlist directly sent to the player. It may be possible to use this XML format for applications other than on-demand viewing such as live video streaming, downloadable video players, set-top boxes, etc, but those applications are explicitly beyond the scope of the current effort.

The goal of this specification is to be compatible with any video player framework that has the ability to be scriptable. It will be up to each Secondary Ad Server to develop its own implementation of the standard and it will be up to each publisher or vendor to implement the standard in their Primary Ad Server and their Video Players.

It is assumed in this document that Video Players will align impression tracking with the IAB Digital Video Impression Guidelines.

This document is intended to support both Linear Video Ads (such as “pre-rolls”), Non-linear Video Ads (such as “overlays”) and Companion ads as defined in the IAB Digital Video Ad Format Guidelines. Many Non-linear ads include complex interaction with the underlying Video Player, and thus the VAST standard may not be entirely sufficient for implementing such ads across ad servers at this time. It is also important to note that VAST does not specify the positioning or timing of the ads within a video player; it is left to the video player itself to determine this since the player is the entity with the understanding of the context in which the ads will appear.


Companion Ad: Commonly text, display ads, rich media, or skins that wrap around the video experience. These ads come in a number of sizes and shapes and typically run alongside or surrounding the video player.

InLine Ad: VAST document that includes all the elements necessary to display the visual experience of the ad.

Linear Video Ad: The ad is presented before, in the middle of, or after the video content is consumed by the user, in very much the same way a TV commercial can play before, during or after the chosen program.

Non-linear Video Ad: The ad runs concurrently with the video content so the users see the ad while viewing the content. Non-linear video ads can be delivered as text, graphical ads, or as video overlays.

Primary Ad Server: First ad serving system called by the Video Player or other framework. It is assumed that in most cases a publisher will make all initial ad requests through their Primary Ad Server (whether homegrown or third party), then redirect to other ad servers as needed.

Secondary Ad Server: Ad server used by an ad network or by the buyer of ads to serve creative, track results and

optimize creatives.

VAST (Video Ad Serving Template): XML document format describing an ad to be displayed in, over, or around a Video Player or a Wrapper pointing to a downstream VAST document to be requested.

Video Player: Environment in which in-stream video content is played. The Video Player may be built by the publisher or provided by a vendor.

Wrapper Ad: VAST document that points to another VAST document from a different server.

© 2008 Interactive Advertising Bureau

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