Vast tags

What are VAST Tags? A Guide for Digital Publishers – CUBERA

Video advertising possesses a vital role in marketing. This type of advertising can significantly contribute to the success of the business. It is an established way of communication with consumers that has the potential to bring evident results to the business. Thus, video advertising helps to create quality and unique content that boosts outreach, sales, and brand recognition. This blog gives you a clear picture of what are VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) tags, and how they will be useful for digital publishers.

An Overview of VAST Tags

The Interactive Advertising Bureau introduced VAST tags in the year 2008. It was primarily done because of the substantial change the video advertising witnessed. Back then, the IAB made numerous updations that include VAST 2.0, VAST 3.0, and the most recent VAST 4.0 which got released in 2016.

According to IAB, VAST is an XML schema for running adverts in digital video players and defines which ad to play, how long it shows, and whether viewers can skip it or not.  VAST is an acronym used for Video Ad Serving Template. It is a script meant for video players and ad servers to communicate effectively.

The XML data contains details about the type of ad and where the ad creative is located in the ad server. As a result, this greatly simplifies things because any publisher can display third-party video advertising because their video player is VAST-compliant, regardless of the publisher’s ad network or ad server. Because they don’t need to re-equip their video players every time video advertising needs to be displayed from a different supplier, Ad Ops staff can save time as a result.

What is a VAST Tag?

As mentioned earlier, the markup language used by VAST is an XML schema. The coding units in this language are called VAST tags. Through the use of these tags, advertisers can comprehend the following elements:

  • The destination URL for audience clicks
  • Running time of the video ad
  • Where is the video ad located, etc?

Integral Elements of a VAST Tag

The main elements differ in a VAST tag according to the advertiser’s requirements from a video player.  Let us examine what are the prime elements in a VAST Tag.

  • Media file
    Every VAST tag shares a link with the media file containing the advertisement creative. The tag often contains a link to the URL where the media file can be downloaded. In other instances, certain attributes are given and a link to the ad server for the creative is created.
  • Video format
    The format of the video creative is also included in the VAST tag. It can be a flash video, mp4, and others.
  • Tracking
     Tracking the effectiveness of video ads is crucial because simply displaying them is insufficient. A link to a resource file on the ad server is typically present in the VAST tag. A tracking pixel records the impression or any other pertinent data as soon as contact is made.

Prime Objectives of VAST Tags

The innovation of VAST tags brought remarkable changes in the domain of data monetization. It has helped an ample number of publishers in increasing their scope of advertising strategy. This is hardly possible if VAST tags were not there. Some of the benefits of VAST tags are:

  • Aligned communication between the ad server and the video players.
  • A shared and consistent communication between publishers and advertisers for exhibiting video ads. Thus, they can display and track ad performance.
  • Instructions can be coordinated by tags. Thus, mitigating the possibility of playback errors.
  • More empowerment for the advertisers for executing video ads.
  • Sufficient time and money can be saved for publishers when adhered to VAST tags.

Different Kinds of Ads that can be Displayed using VAST Tags

  • Companion ads
    These are termed to be display ads, text, or rich media that are visible around or alongside the video player.
  • In-line ads
     This kind of ad is served through the VAST protocol, which has all the essential elements. Hence, the visual experience of the ad is boosted by the video content.
  • Overlays
     These are advertisements that appear as text or image snippets above the main video and flow naturally with it without pausing play.
  • Joint banners.
    Outside of the video player, joint banners are shown on a web page. They typically start when certain things happen, such as a mouse hover, etc.


Advertisers and publishers can save time and, ultimately, money by using the Video Ad Serving Template. It offers simplified, one-way communication between ad servers and video players, which prevents technological issues. In addition, VAST tags offer tracking data, enabling all stakeholders to examine a thorough breakdown of ad performance. It is generally acknowledged that a sizable fraction of individuals prefers to watch video advertisements before making a purchase. And it is anticipated that it will significantly rise with the widespread use of social media platforms and cutting-edge electronic devices. As a result, implementing video advertisements using VAST tags will improve video ad performance on all web pages.


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