Results tagged “VAST” from IABlog

The IAB’s standardized interfaces for rich ads—Video Suite (VAST, VPAID and VMAP), MRAID, and SafeFrame—are among our most important contributions to enabling engaging, dynamic advertising to scale.  In three different ad environments, these technical specifications standardize communication between the ad creative and the systems that host the content. In a video player, the player must be able to understand and process the ad’s requests to operate smoothly (VPAID). For mobile in-app ads, the mobile app must be programmed to recognize the ad’s requests (MRAID). In a webpage where the ad runs in an iframe, a line of communication is needed between the page and the iframe (SafeFrame).

The three specifications IAB and our members have developed to standardize these communications have significantly reduced the friction associated with buying and selling advertising in web, mobile, and video environments. 

However, there’s a challenge.  Each of the three IAB specs was designed for a distinct scenario, and we live in a world where those scenarios are increasingly blurring together.  Companies are increasingly dealing with the convergence of these standards, asking questions like: 

  • How can VPAID and MRAID best be used together? 
  • While MRAID was developed for in-app experiences, what about browser-based apps? 
  • Should SafeFrame be the sole solution for browser-based experiences?

To formulate a game plan for addressing this convergence, IAB assembled leaders from each of the three standards efforts, along with relevant IAB staff, to publish a perspective on the challenges of bringing these standards into harmony with one another.  This document includes an overview of the specifications, the challenges we’re hearing about from the industry, and an overview of next steps IAB intends to take.  Over the long-term, there’s no question that we should place VPAID, SafeFrame, and MRAID on a convergence path.  But that’s necessarily going to be a lengthy process.  

In the short and medium term, we are talking with industry representatives about how to formulate best practices for working effectively with these specs, notably combining VPAID and MRAID, and other best practices as industry need warrants.  We encourage interested members to get involved as we make sure MRAID, VPAID, and SafeFrame stay relevant and valuable in a rapidly evolving—and converging—digital advertising world. 


About the Author

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Joe Laszlo

Joe Laszlo is Senior Director, Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, at the IAB.

 


What's a VAST?!? Understanding IAB Digital Video Suite

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Digital Video has become a thriving advertising channel that enables rich, DigitalSimplifed.jpgengaging creative messaging and provides interaction opportunities with consumers. You may not know about the technical nuts and bolts behind digital video advertising, so to help you, we’ve created a short educational video, “IAB Digital Simplified: Understanding IAB Digital Video Suite”.  This video, narrated by Adapt.tv’s Founder and Chief Product Officer, Teg Grenager, breaks down the processes of digital video advertising and illustrates the technical concepts of the IAB Digital Video Suite (V-Suite). Now you can quickly gain baseline knowledge on some of the critical work developed by IAB members to benefit the interactive advertising industry.

VsuiteVideoImage.jpgAs for digital video advertising, it may not have ever scaled without the help of VAST and VPAID, two specs that are part of the V-Suite. In December 2013, 188.2 million Americans watched a staggering 52.4 billion online content videos.  This amounted to 35.2 billion video ad views and 13.2 billion minutes spent watching video ads for the month.  Additionally in December, 86.9% of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.* Recent estimates show U.S. digital video ad spending will nearly double in four years, climbing from $4.14 billion in 2013 to $8.04 billion in 2016.**

Adoption and use of the IAB V-Suite technical specifications have helped in this growth of the digital video marketplace and IAB seeks to encourage further adoption.  We know the full specification isn’t easy reading, so we invite you to check out this video and share it with your colleagues and partners. You’ll be empowered to speak about digital video and these specifications.

The IAB and its member companies have worked extensively to create an interoperable environment for video ad delivery across the digital supply chain. IAB Digital Video Committee working groups representing the industry have invested in long-term collaboration to create a suite of protocols that helps reduce operational complexity for video ad delivery. The result is the IAB Digital Video Suite, which includes three specifications: VAST, VPAID and VMAP. Each one plays a different role to enable communication between video ads and video players, and to simulate a TV ad experience with enhanced interaction.

As with many things in our industry, we’re only going to see more development and progress out of Digital Video. In fact, we’ve already seen attempts at integrating these specifications to work with technology involving connected TVs and cable networks. To stay on top of the issues and learn more about what’s happening in Digital Video, get looped into the Digital Video Committee.

For more information on the IAB Digital Video Suite go to: iab.net/vsuite or email [email protected].








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Consumers are listening to more audio content than ever using an array of devices from computers to smartphones to connected stereos and cars, but audio advertising still only makes up a miniscule portion of digital ad dollars. Standardization and education are required for this to change and that’s what the IAB Audio Committee’s work is focused on.

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Advertisers, agencies and digital audio publishers gathered recently for the IAB Digital Audio Agency Day at Pandora HQ in Oakland to learn from industry experts about the future of digital audio and why it needs be included in their media buys. Kurt Hanson, CEO of AccuRadio, presented a history of the radio industry and his predictions for the future, to a stellar panel on the Connected Car with representatives from Spotify, Aha Radio at Harman International, TuneIn and Slacker (left picture). The ever-entertaining Norm Pattiz, Chairman of PodcastOne/Launchpad Media (right picture), proclaimed that podcasts are the future of digital audio.

One common theme has become clear: in order for the digital audio industry to scale, fragmentation at the technology layer must be overcome. Dean Mandel, Vice President of Broadcast Services at PROXi Digital (Formally Katz360) and active participant of the IAB Audio Ad Serving Template Spec Working Group, outlines the three key challenges that the IAB’s Audio committee is currently working to address: 

1. Digital audio ads are being bought by both traditional radio buyers and digital buyers, and both types of buyers need a way to accurately measure delivery of their campaigns. 

Radio buyers are used to “posting” their campaigns based on Arbitron ratings. However, since digital audio is technically online, there is a need for reporting equivalent metrics to other online campaigns. Online buyers are used to providing third-party tags like Dart For Advertisers (DFA) and using specifications like the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) to track their digital display and video campaigns.  Similar standards must be developed and adopted by the digital audio industry.

2. The fact that audio ad units don’t have a visual component makes the use of a “tracking pixel” unpractical.  

One workaround for tracking audio ad units is to apply a third-party tag (in the form of a 1x1 pixel) to a companion display banner (a visual component to an audio ad), but not all audio devices have the visual interface necessary to fire a pixel. Accordingly, some advertisers have chosen to only serve audio ads in environments where a companion banner is served, yet in doing so, they are missing a large potential audience.  

We must find a better way to track the audio ad unit itself; a way that proves whether the ad has played, how much of the ad was played and any other possible interactions the user may make with the audio ad unit.

3. Several digital audio ad serving companies have developed proprietary methods to apply third-party tracking tags to audio, but there is a need to standardize this technology across the audio marketplace. 

The IAB Digital Audio Committee has launched a working group that includes several thought leaders in the streaming-audio industry who are addressing this task.  Over the past several months this group has begun the development of an ad serving template specification for audio ads similar to VAST for digital video. Once this important specification work is complete and adopted throughout the marketplace, media buyers will be able to easily run and track digital audio ads in a consistent manner across multiple platforms, similar to the way they do today with other digital platforms, allowing for growth in the digital audio market. 

IAB is excited to lead the effort to standardize the delivery of streaming audio advertising in order to ensure that advertisers, agencies and audio publishers may all share in the continued growth of the audio industry.

Stay tuned (pun intended!) for more to come on this topic.

About the Authors
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Dean Mandel
Dean Mandel is Vice President, Broadcast Services, PROXi Digital (Formerly Katz360). Dean was one of the founding members of Katz360 and has been helping the industry to monetize streaming audio for over 6 years.  He currently works with audio and video technology partners and content providers to help the streaming sales efforts for the Katz Media Group sellers. He can be reached on Twitter @deanmandel.

Leigh Ferreira
Leigh Ferreira is the Director, Industry Initiatives at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and oversees the Digital Audio, Digital Video and ITV Committees. She can be reached on Twitter at @leighleighsf.
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