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June 28, 2021

Connecting With Your Audience Through VAST Tags

Young woman sitting outside on her porch watching videos on her tablet.

by Calista Odum, Digital Client Strategist

Say what you want about video ads…but I believe everyone has a favorite commercial. They may pop-up at the wrong time and leave you on a major cliff hanger in your favorite series, but then why do we love to watch them in the Super Bowl? Unless your team is in the game – It’s all about the commercials!

My favorite is the 2019 Bubbly commercial that appeared in the Super Bowl line-up.

Video advertising has been a popular commodity within industries of all kinds for many years. From a two second Miller High Life ad to a compelling two-minute Hallmark short story. They both help to convey their branded message to the right audience.

Since the early 2000’s rise of interest in the YouTube and media player world, marketers and advertisers needed a way to grab your attention. They want to meet you where you are and serve you the content you didn’t know you needed. So long are the days when individuals and families would receive their video ads from their nightly television shows alone. Consumers crave content on-the-spot, which means ads must also be on-the-spot.

Major media steaming sites like Hulu, Xfinity, ESPN, Sling, and YouTube are supported by this type of ad placements that help keep their cost low and ensure users stay on their platform.

As a business owner, you might find yourself asking how you can improve the reach of your video and how to connect with your target audience without breaking the bank. In our own efforts for clients, we’ve found that video advertising (outside of YouTube) can be incredibly costly. Part of the cost is the “serving” of the ad itself via VAST Tags.

 

What is a VAST Tag?

A VAST Tag is a Video Ad Serving Template that was developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

To help put this in perspective, we must remember that computers and programs can only do what we tell them to do. So there needs to be something that tells a media player what to play, when to play it, for how long, and with other specific parameters.

When a video player reaches a point in the video that needs an ad, the VAST tag sends out a message to request for an ad. This ad server responds by serving the video ad to the media player. Once the video has been played, tracking information is “pinged” and sent back to the server that provided the content.

Back in 2008, the first version of the VAST was created with limited features to only pause, play, and stop an ad. This has now grown into a tool that provides detailed reporting, interactive elements, error reporting, and closed captioning abilities, also known as VAST 4.1.

To set this up can be costly. A VAST server must be used and difficult to manage.

 

How much does this cost?

Well, traditionally, utilizing video ads can be expensive. In addition to the cost of production and development of a video ad, you must pay the ad costs AND the costs to have your video hosted on a VAST server.

However, recent developments with one of Forum’s advertising partners has made these ads something that is feasible for most small and medium-sized businesses. One of our advertising partners now has the capability to both run ads and host VAST tags for our clients. With this new development, Forum now offers OTT, CTV and other digital video ad options for marketing campaigns with media costs ranging between $20 – $50 per 1,000 ad impressions (CPM) not including agency fees or videography costs.

 

How can Forum help my business?

Call us!

The marketing industry is constantly shifting. Fortunately, our digital team stays on top of the latest trends to provide our clients cutting-edge options in their marketing efforts.  We specialize in creating a plan that is unique to your business needs, but also ensures your brand is relevant for today’s marketplace.

So, the next time you are watching a show on YouTube TV or the game on ESPN and a video ad pops-up, now you know how it works!