IAB Tech Lab Releases VAST 4.1 For Public Comment

The Interactive Advertising Bureau Technology Laboratory released its Digital Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) version 4.1 for public comment on Thursday, rolling out significant changes to the specification.

VAST 4.1 will include compatibility with the open measurement interface definition to more effectively measure web-based ads, as well as improved verification. The update also addresses server-side ad insertion and the integration of digital audio ad serving template .

“We expect VAST 4.1 to increase the amount of measurable video advertising inventory,” Dennis Buchheim, senior vice president and general manager of the IAB Tech Lab, tells Digital News Daily.

“The driver of this increase will be the standardized verification model in 4.1 -- tied to the new Open Measurement suite -- which should be accepted and implemented by many publishers (who haven’t trusted non-standard VPAID-based verification/measurement), and which can be supported on more video platforms/channels.”

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The open comment period will run through July 14, after which the IAB Tech Lab Digital Video Technical Standards Working Group will examine the comments, make any needed revisions and release the final standard.

“Publishers, who are always concerned with user experience on their properties, have been pushing to improve transparency and trust in digital advertising,” Buchheim says. “This is reflected in VAST 4. Publishers can identify the purpose of any executable code and the vendor providing the code, gaining transparency that can aid decisions about what is served to their audiences.”

The IAB Tech Lab is developing webinars and blog posts to better inform the marketplace about the updates to VAST, and it is developing a VAST compliance program to certify the new implementations.

Buchheim says that the IAB will “work with verification vendors, video player vendors, publishers, and the buy side to explain” the benefits of the specification.

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