About VAST 4

The fourth version of the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) is the latest IAB standard. While VAST 4 provides continued support for all features released in VAST 3, it also includes major updates for server-side ad insertion. It is recommended that you use this latest version to take advantage of all available features.

VAST 4 support for server-side ad insertion

Learn more the server-side ad insertion solution: Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI).

Support for VAST 4 extends to Ad Exchange publishers. Bid requests now include the VideoProtocol field, which specifies accepted VAST versions. This is available for both Real-Time Bidding and OpenRTB.

Enable VAST 4 for your network

The VAST version is controlled by a network setting. By default, your network is set to serve VAST 2. To begin serving VAST 4, you need to update your network setting. This is recommended to automatically begin serving with this version, without having to retag.

To update your network setting:

  1. Sign in to Google Ad Manager.
  2. Click Admin and then Video.
  3. Select VAST 4 as the "VAST version".

Your video ad tags request simply output=vast, and Ad Manager uses the VAST version set in your network default. For specific ad tags or parts of your site, you can explicitly request a VAST version with the following:

  • VAST 4: output=xml_vast4
  • VAST 3: output=xml_vast3
  • VAST 2: output=xml_vast2

Before switching all network traffic to VAST 4, you should make sure your players are capable of processing VAST 4 XML responses. For players that have not integrated with IMA 3, contact your player provider.

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.

The SDK for HTML5, iOS, and Android now includes the ad ID and registry. See the Google developer documentation for Interactive Media Ads for details about supported video player platforms by VAST version.

Report on VAST version

This feature is currently in beta and may not be enabled for your network.

You can manage your upgrade to VAST 4 and determine which version of VAST is requested on your ad tags. This allows you to see which features work with particular inventory. To report on VAST version, include the VAST version dimension when you create a report for Video Solutions.

This dimension is currently in beta and not available to all publishers. Contact your account manager for details.

Learn more about video-specific reporting dimensions.

Manage Ad Manager or externally-hosted mezzanine files

A video creative file can be designated as a "mezzanine" file when you create a new linear video creative. The mezzanine file should be a high quality video file that acts as the source to create other versions of a creative, optimized for varying devices and formats.

To designate a video file as the mezzanine file:

  1. Sign in to Google Ad Manager.
  2. Follow the instructions to add a linear creative set to a video line item.
  3. Designate your creative file as the mezzanine file:

    For Ad Manager-hosted assets, select Store uploaded file as mezzanine and either drag-and-drop or upload a new asset.

    For Externally-hosted assets, enter an asset URL and then click Add assets, and select to store the file as mezzanine. 

Set an ad ID for linear video creatives

A universal ad ID can be set when you create a new linear video creative. This ID allows for standardized tracking for distinct video creatives. In addition, you can choose to select an identification registry, such as ad-id.org or clearcast.co.uk.*

To set an ad ID or select a registry:

  1. Sign in to Google Ad Manager.
  2. Follow the instructions to add a linear creative set to a video line item.
  3. When configuring the optional settings, enter your ad ID and optional registry.

You can learn more about the ad ID field and the formatting requirements for each type of ad ID, and see a detailed explanation of the ad ID structure.

* Ad Manager does not validate if the ad ID you've entered is valid for the selected registry.

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