IAB Updates Video Template, Simplifies Ad Buys

Recognizing the rising prominence of online video, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has introduced updated specifications for marketers to improve their streaming media strategies.

Marking the first major update to its in-stream video ad standards since 2008, the “IAB Video Suite” was developed by the bureau’s Digital Video Committee in partnership and its 45 member companies.

One of the suite’s key specs is a Video Ad-Serving Template (VAST), which the IAB describes as a universal protocol for serving in-stream video ads, permitting ad servers to use a single ad-response format across multiple compliant publishers and video players.

The goal of the updates is to give marketers the freedom to create better brand stories through video, according to Steve Sullivan, vice president, ad technology at the IAB. 

“These specs help creativity flourish by making it easier for companies to buy and sell video ad inventory, while allowing marketers to deliver in-stream interactive video ads with the confidence that consumers will always receive a consistent viewing experience across different media players,” Sullivan said. 



Other key specs include a Video Player-Ad Interface Definition (VPAID), or a common communication protocol between ad units and video players that supports rich ad experiences and detailed event reporting; and a Video Multiple Ad Playlist (VMAP), a new protocol that allows content owners to describe where ad breaks should be placed in their content when they do not control the video player or the content distribution outlet.

Additional advancements include support for “skippable” video ads that will allow publishers to price models, based on ads that play to completion, as well as support for “pods” of multiple ads to be displayed in a single ad break. This allows for the creation of viewing experiences similar to broadcast television.

With these most recent changes, the IAB is also offering support for the display of in-ad privacy notices recommended by the Digital Advertising Alliance Self-Regulation Program for Online Behavioral Advertising, along with the ability of a single ad to play seamlessly across different devices including iOS and Android mobile devices, as well as certain connected television platforms.

After a healthy 2011, online video advertising is expected to enjoy continued growth through the year. Earlier this year, eMarketer estimated that online video ad spending would jump 40% in 2012 to $3.1 billion.

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