About VAST 3

The third version of the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) is an IAB standard. VAST 3 supports and expands upon all features of VAST 2, and contains enhancements over earlier versions, including:

  • Support for multiple ads in a single VAST response, including:
    • Standardized ad pod responses (for example, optimized pods)
    • Skippable linear ads (including network-level custom skip times)
    • Fallback, also known as "waterfall"
  • Granular VAST 3 error codes
  • Support for adaptive bitrate creatives, providing the best quality video stream per bandwidth and processing speed
  • Alternative companion creatives, available with both the iOS IMA SDK and HTML5 IMA SDK
  • Icons, available with the HTML5 IMA SDK

See Google Interactive Media Ads for details about standards for supported video player platforms.

How to enable VAST 3 for your network

The default VAST version is controlled by a network setting, which eliminates the need to retag for this or future versions.

To update your network VAST setting

  1. In Ad Manager, click Admin and then Video.
  2. In the "Default VAST version" drop-down, select VAST 3.

Tags should request output=vast to use the version set as your network default.

You should ensure that your players are capable of processing XML responses for the version that you choose. 

If your video player uses the IMA SDK, the output parameter for a video ad request will always be set to output=xml_vast4. This poses no reliability risk as the SDK is backwards compatible with all VAST versions that any third-party ad server may serve.

If you don't use the IMA SDK, you can explicitly request VAST 3 for specific ad tags or parts of your site with output=xml_vast3.

How to customize skippable and engaged view time

VAST 3 allows you to customize the "Skip" and "Engaged view" times for your directly-sold skippable ads. This is unrelated to skippable ads served through Ad Exchange.

To customize skip and engaged view times:

  1. In Ad Manager, click Admin and then Video.
  2. Make your changes to the following settings:
    • Skippable video skip time: The amount of time, in seconds, that a user must spend watching a skippable video ad before being able to skip it.
    • Skippable video engaged view time: The amount of time, in seconds, that a user must spend watching a skippable ad before an engaged view is counted.

Once set, these two settings apply to all skippable ads in your network.

Recommended for VAST 3

  • IMA SDK or other VAST 3-compliant player : the IMA SDK supports up to VAST 4 and is the recommended SDK for VAST players and other Ad Manager features.
  • GPT: Use Google Publisher Tags to render display companion ads served with VAST 3.
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