Serve VAST ads without the IMA SDK

Google Ad Manager allows you to traffic video line items and video creatives that request video assets via the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST), and provides a way for you to forecast and report on those lines items based on what delivered.

While Ad Manager's main responsibility is to serve the VAST that contains the video media files, third-party VAST, tracking metrics, etc., it's not part of any additional processes once the VAST is delivered to the requesting source.

When possible, it's recommended that you use the Google IMA SDK to request video ads.

The Google IMA SDK is responsible for requesting and parsing the VAST from Ad Manager, pinging video tracking metrics, handling VMAP, and fallback. Learn more about the benefits to requesting ads with the SDK, including additional monetization solutions.

You cannot monetize Ad Exchange without the Google IMA SDK.

It's possible for you to monetize your video inventory through a video player that is not integrated with the Google IMA SDK, by using another SDK or player to handle the VAST returned from Ad Manager.

In these cases, the other player or SDK is responsible for pinging and reporting video metrics, parsing the VAST/VMAP/VPAID, handling fallback, handling playback after Ad Manager has returned the VAST, and handling any additional feature that is either considered IAB standard or supported by the Google IMA SDK.

For example, if a publisher uses a third-party SSAI ("Server Side Ad Insertion") provider with Ad Manager, Ad Manager only provides the VAST when requested by the provider. The provider is responsible for handling the VAST at that point. If the VAST and media are confirmed to be delivered correctly to the provider, any failure after that point should be handled with the provider.

Another example might include a publisher that uses a client-side player with the Google IMA SDK. The same responsibilities apply—Ad Manager has no control after the VAST was successfully returned with the correct media files and tracking metrics.

Valid troubleshooting cases

There are some cases where troubleshooting should continue to focus on Ad Manager, even when the Google IMA SDK is not used. Here are a few examples:

  • An Ad Manager line item isn't eligible
  • Large discrepancies or inconsistencies with reporting or forecasting *
  • Ad Manager returns the wrong creative or a broken media file (if Ad Manager hosted)
  • A line item pacing outside of the normal bounds or constraints

* These discrepancies or inconsistencies might still be attributed to a third-party player or parser.

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