What is VPAID?

The IAB’s VAST, VPAID and VMAP protocols have streamlined the process of video ad serving, ensuring that ads, ad servers, and video players can communicate seamlessly and effectively. VAST is considered the universal language of video ads, while VPAID (Video Player-Ad Interface Definition) introduces an additional interactive layer enriching the ad experience inside of the player.

A VPAID URL in the VAST media file contains a JavaScript code holding the details necessary to create a dynamic ad (a message that can vary depending on the parameters set by the advertiser). The video can expand when clicked on, display multiple windows showing additional content or propose various interaction options such as pop up messages, links to maps or forms. VPAID also gives advertisers more information about campaign success and interactivity.

Example of a VPAID advertisement on mobile

How common is it?

VPAID is common on desktop, but not on mobile. Smart AdServer is VPAID compliant on both desktop and mobile, for in-stream and out-stream (details below). It’s one of the first ad servers to have an SDK that supports VPAID for out-stream ads.

Can publishers trust it?

VPAID uses JavaScript rather than an mp4 file, so ad servers can’t provide a native video player like they can for simple VAST media files. With VPAID, the advertisement is not set in stone, so publishers must work with an ad server they trust to ensure video advertisements meet their quality criteria. In other words, if you want premium ads running on your site, your best bet is to work with a company that partners with premium ad networks, advertisers and agencies. The message may change, but you can be sure that the quality won’t waver.

Who wins?

VPAID isn’t just for marketers and the publishers who run their ads. Intermediaries like trading desks win in the end as well. They welcome the opportunity to easily modify a creative’s message without having to change the video. VPAID allows them to use a standard creative that can be modified in function of target age, country, and/or ad performance. Basically, VPAID makes it easier and more likely that they’ll get the right message to the right person at the right time.

Moreover, trading desks welcome the ability to say they work with ad servers that offer a variety of options, including customized and dynamic marketing messages.

In short, the VPAID IAB standard helps the buy side, sell side and everyone in between. Now that it’s available in-app, all the players have even more opportunities to take advantage of the format and its ability to provide engaging video ads that adapt to specific audiences.