VAST is nothing but an XML schema. If you know XML already, then you know VAST.
VAST stands for Video Ad Serving Template and specifications are defined by IAB. The VAST XML schema is universal for digital video ad players. In earlier days of video advertising every video ad provider had owned and operated XML structure.
There was lack of universal XML template, so that there are pre-defined format of an XML file. As the technology advanced, industry saw clear requirement of a standard format instead of proprietary XML for video ad serving.
Online video content became very popular, and video publishers have sought to monetize video content with in‐stream video advertising. Before VAST came across, there was no scalable solution of ads impossible for ad servers. In order to serve ads to multiple publishers using disparate proprietary video players, ad-serving organizations had to develop different ad responses for every publisher and their video player targeted. This was not only time consuming but had a huge room for errors while the video ads serve within the custom video player.
VAST provides a common protocol to enables ad servers to use a single ad response format. VAST enables video ad tracking / metrics functionality and more clarity for the display ads.
VAST 2.0 is most commonly used version of VAST. However VAST 3.0 is the latest VAST version, that has ability to declare which ad formats are supported.
The ad formats that are commonly supported by VAST are :
1. Non-Linear ads
2. Linear ads
3. Linear ads with companions
4. Skippable ads
5. Pod ads
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