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Over the last couple of years, the world has moved from viewing regular television to focusing more on OTT video streaming. Services like YouTube, Netflix, and Apple TV make it easy to watch your favorite shows at any time and on multiple devices. With the growing rate of interest in these services, businesses are also turning to the advertising services that these platforms offer. Once you start to look into the use of ads that display on websites like YouTube, you’ll come across a variety of terms. A thorough understanding of these terms can help you better optimize your video ads and get improved results with your marketing budget. We’ll be taking a closer look at some of these terms in this article. 

What Is Video Ad Serving Template (VAST)?

First on our list is VAST, or Video Ad Serving Template. A common problem that advertisers and publishers had prior to the implementation of VAST was compatibility. The format of the video ad that the advertiser had would often not be compatible with the video player the publisher utilized. In these situations, there were two solutions:

  1. The publisher could consider the use of a different video player on their platform to provide support for the advertiser’s ad format. 
  2. The advertiser could adjust the video format they used to ensure compatibility with the video player on the publisher’s website. 

VAST was introduced to address this compatibility problem. It’s a type of XML schema that was first launched in 2008 and continues to play an important role in video advertisements. The idea behind VAST was to create a more universal solution that solves the compatibility problems often faced. With VAST, a universal ad-serving template is used for the delivery and display of video ads on video players. A wide range of video platforms now enforces the VAST template, which also makes it easier for marketers to develop their video advertising strategy. 

The VAST format also communicates other data to the video player, such as how long an ad should play, where the ad should show, and to which user a specific ad should show. VAST is also responsible for stating whether or not the user is able to skip an ad. The latest release of VAST, known as VAST 4.0, was released in 2016. It further expanded on the functionality of the template, adding universal ad identification methods, ad categories, and the ability to utilize ad-stitching techniques. 

What Is Video Player Ad Interface Definition (VPAID)?

Another term that’s already relatively common when it comes to video ads is VPAID, or Video Player Ad Interface Definition. VPAID refers to code that is used to ensure the video ads and the video player is able to communicate. 

One of the main advantages of VPAID is the fact that it brings about the opportunity to create interactiveness in the ads that are displayed in the video player. Additionally, VPAID also makes it possible for the advertiser to obtain valuable data related to how users interact with the ads that are displayed. This data can then be used by the advertiser to better optimize their ads in the future. 

For example, you may notice that users are clicking on a specific part of the ad, but not interacting with the rest of the ad. Perhaps the users interact only up to a certain point and then decide to skip the ad. In these cases, you can use your findings in order to address any particular obstacles the users might be facing during the interactive experience – and this can help to improve engagement and click-through rate; leading to more leads and sales in the long term. 

There are some cases where VPAID is used on its own, but in the majority of situations, you’ll find that it is integrated with VAST for better compatibility and efficiency. 

Secure Interactive Media Interface Definition (SIMID)

The IAB announced that they were working on a successor to VPAID, but it will be built on top of VAST. This will ensure there are no additional embeddings required in order to use these interactive ad features with VAST. One of the specs that the IAB is now working on is SIMID, or Secure Interactive Media Interface Definition. It was initially called VPAID-i, but was later changed to SIMID. 

SIMID will focus on making it easier to use interactive features in video ads when VPAID is used as the template system. Both audio and video ads will be supported by the SIMID spec and it will also focus on enhancing the security and transparency. Publishers will essentially have much greater control over how ads are displayed on their platforms with the SIMID protocol. The spec is currently open for public comment. 

Open Measurement (OM)

Another protocol that the IAB will implement is OM or open measurement. This will be an SDK (software development kit) to ensure advertisers are able to obtain valuable information on the ads that they display. There will only be a single SDK used, along with the OMID API, to ensure efficacy and to avoid confusion.

The OMID API provides compatibility with a diverse list of platforms. Both Android and iOS mobile operating systems are supported, along with web browsers used on mobile and desktop devices. 

The SDK and API will offer greater control for the publisher and enhance the user’s experience. It’s also an attempt to create more measurable results for both publishers and advertisers. 

What Is Video Multiple Ad Playlist (VMAP)?

Video Multiple Ad Playlist is a common protocol that is used in longer videos. If you open up YouTube and watch a one-hour video, you may find that there are ads that show at certain intervals while you watch the video. These ads are handled by VMAP

VMAP essentially gives the video content creators control over when ads should be displayed on their video – even in scenarios where the video creator does not have control over the video player itself. VAST has previously introduced pods that allow ads to be displayed at certain intervals throughout a video, but the content creator did not have control over the timing and frequency of the ads. 

The preference in terms of how many ads and how frequently they should show is not the same for every video creator. VMAP essentially ensures these creators are able to overcome the limitations that are currently in place with the pods used in VAST. 

There are several specifications that video creators can set in place when the platform uses VMAP technology. This includes the total number of ad breaks that should be added to a video and how frequently there should be an ad. The creator can also provide data on the total number of ad breaks that may occur and specify the number of ads that may be displayed in each of these breaks.

VMAP is generally used alongside VAST in order to provide greater efficiency in the ad-serving process. The IAB V-Suite consists of VMAP, VAST, and VPAID. 

What Is Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions (MRAID)?

When you open up an app on your mobile device, you will sometimes notice ads displayed on the app or game. The ad could consist of a banner that shows at the bottom or top of the app’s interface or perhaps one that takes over the entire screen. These ads are generally handled by MRAID, or Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions. 

It’s important to note that mobile devices do not run on the same operating system as computers. This is why a dedicated interface was created in order to provide better compatibility for applications and games that run on mobile operating systems, such as iOS and Android. 

MRAID essentially serves as an API that allows mobile app and game developers to specify various settings related to how ads should be displayed. There are some cases where MRAID is not used in mobile apps, as there are certain developers who may utilize a unique framework. It’s also possible to use the MRAID API as a type of wrapper in order to support the serving of ads on the mobile app, but without completely moving to its framework. 

The use of MRAID provides advertisers the ability to display a variety of media-based advertisements in mobile apps. The specific distribution of these ads does depend on the specific advertising platform that the advertiser decides to use. Google Ads, for example, can be used to target users who have an Android device – and publishers can then display the ads that are created in Google Ads by implementing Google Admob into their apps. 


There are many terms that you will see when you do research about video advertising on platforms such as YouTube. If you don’t understand these terms, then you’re not fully utilizing the potential of your advertising strategy. We’ve looked at some of the most important terms that you need to grasp in order to effectively create marketing strategies that include video ads. 

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