Implement skippable video ads

Learn how to use VAST to improve video ad experience

Skippable video ads (VAST) allow users to skip video ads at five seconds of play. They are available to both user interface buyers and through real-time bidding.

More information about skippable video ads

  • Skippable ads allow you to serve ads longer than 15 seconds into much more inventory.
  • Publishers specify the duration limit for skippable ads.
  • Skip duration is not configurable. Research indicates that five seconds is optimal.
  • Ads are not truncated. A 30-second ad plays to completion, or until skipped by the viewer.
  • The skip rate is an unbiased measure of engagement, and can be used as an optimization metric.
  • Cost-per-impression (CPM) is the same, whether or not the user skips it.
  • Desktop skippable ads do not require additional certification.

Implement skippable functionality using VAST creatives

Authorized Buyers supports skippable ads that use VAST 2.0 (via a custom in-line skippable tracking element in the XML) or VAST 3.0 with built-in skippable ad tracking functionality. When a skippable ad is served, the publisher player reads the response and displays a skippable button, if the ad has been correctly implemented as skippable.

To render an in-stream video creative as skippable:

VAST 2.0: Creatives must include at least one Tracking node under Ad/Inline/Extensions/Extension/CustomTracking, with the attribute event="skip". The content of the node should be a CDATA-wrapped URI that the video player will ping if and when the user clicks the skip button.

See an example
 <Tracking event="skip">
  <![ CDATA[
  JH9hkli899hif989KUH73lkpO ]]>

VAST 3.0: Creatives only need to include the skip event, not the custom tracking extension. Also, the skipoffset attribute on the linear element must be set to 00:00:05.

Optional custom tracking event: engagedView

Authorized Buyers supports Tracking nodes under Ad/Inline/Extensions/Extension/CustomTracking with the attribute event="engagedView". The content of these nodes should be a CDATA-wrapped URI that the video player will ping if and when the user reaches the lesser of 30 seconds and completion.

Because Authorized Buyers is unable to analyze the contents or functionality of a VPAID ad, it cannot detect an ad's skip functionality if the ad is implemented via VPAID.

Additional requirements for real-time bidding

Two fields exist in the Video message of the RTB protocol:

  • video_ad_skippable

    This field is an enum specifying whether an in-stream impression allows skippable ads, non-skippable ads, or both. Most in-stream Authorized Buyers inventory today allows both, which corresponds to a value of ALLOW_SKIPPABLE.
    See the developers documentation for details.

  • skippable_max_ad_duration

    This field specifies the maximum duration of skippable video ads. In general, video publishers allow ads to be longer when they are skippable, and so this value should normally be higher than max_ad_duration.

Our system only periodically loads VAST tags to check whether they are skippable. In between checks, the system assumes that the creative, uniquely identified by buyer_creative_id, remains skippable or non-skippable as determined during the previous check. Therefore, we have instituted a policy against rotating skippable and non-skippable creatives on the same buyer_creative_id.

Buyers found to be rotating skippable and non-skippable creatives on the same buyer_creative_id will face penalties up to and including account suspension.

Additional requirements for the user interface

When you create a third-party in-stream video ad, select the Declare as skippable ad checkbox, restricts your eligible inventory to impressions that allow or require skippable ads.

You'll also need to build the skip functionality and custom tracking into the XML, as described above.

Learn the differences between skippable and TrueView

Skippable video ads on Authorized Buyers are not the same as TrueView ads and cannot be marketed to your customers as such. Here are the primary differences between skippable video ads and TrueView:

  • TrueView is only available through Google Ads.
  • TrueView is available on a cost-per-view (CPV) basis, but Authorized Buyers skippable video ads are only available on a cost-per-impression (CPM) basis. Buyers can charge their customers on a CPV basis, but they’ll pay for the underlying skippable impressions on a CPM basis.
  • TrueView ads increment the YouTube view count of the media file when users choose not to skip the ad, but Authorized Buyers skippable video ads do not, even when the media file is hosted on YouTube.
  • TrueView media files must be hosted on YouTube. Authorized Buyers media files can optionally be hosted on YouTube. Contact your account team for more information about hosting your in-stream creatives’ media files on YouTube.
  • YouTube allows TrueView to run skippable ads of any duration.

Learn more about the VAST specification from the IAB.

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