Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Universal Language for Video Ads

Like many New Yorkers, I can’t imagine life in this city without the subway - it’s essential to how the city operates, creates millions in economic value, and even features great mariachi bands. But the subway wasn’t always this efficient. In the early 1900s, there were multiple subway systems, with different size train cars, running on different track configurations - even one propelled by air! Today, after the unification of these subway systems, everything works seamlessly together.

So what does the subway system have to do with video advertising? Well, the two dominant video advertising guidelines -- VAST and VPAID -- are like the unified transportation system for video advertising. VAST and VPAID define a common language that unifies the diversity of the video advertising industry: Flash and HTML video players, ad networks and exchanges, mobile devices and connected TVs, 30 second spots and interactive overlays.

At Google, we’ve been longtime supporters of video advertising standards. We’re happy to announce our support for the latest set of guidelines announced at the IAB’s Digital Video Marketplace Event today. This means that we’ll be implementing VAST 3.0, VPAID 2.0 and VMAP 1.0 across our video advertising products. Together, these three guidelines strengthen the video advertising infrastructure already adopted by most participants in the video ecosystem. The Video Suite also adds support for skippable ads, podding, in-ads privacy notices and ad sequencing, while offering greater clarity around compliance and mobile scenarios.

What benefits can you expect from VAST 3.0, VPAID 2.0 and VMAP 1.0? 


  • If you’re a publisher, interoperability will improve and you’ll be able to accept a wider set of video ad formats with less technical work. The new error codes will also help with troubleshooting of third party served ads.
  • If you’re an advertiser, the Video Suite allows you to create more engaging brand stories that reach a wider audience across all devices. You’ll be able to take greater advantage of skippable ads, which offer new pricing models focused on performance.
  • If you’re a vendor, the technical details of these specs really matter, and we’ve provided much more clarity around the compliance requirements for video players and ad servers.

So much has changed in the online video space in just ten years, that we thought we’d take a trip down memory line with this infographic: 

Click through for the full infographic

As an industry, we’ve started to take VAST and VPAID for granted, much like New Yorkers and their subway system. That’s a good thing, because it means they’ve become an essential part of powering our economy.

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