2021 is most likely to be the year of the increasing standardization across the global digital video ad tech industry, and it’s time you prepare for action.

As most experts agree, 2021 will definitely become a year of hard work for businesses, working in the online video advertising niche.

The fact is, while the raging pandemic inevitably took a toll on the digital ad market activities at some point in 2020, expert working groups at IAB Tech Lab and other organizations wasted no time and speeded up their efforts to develop new, actionable tech standards for the industry. More importantly, as analysts admit, 2021 is the high time to get started with their adoption.

Since AdPlayer.Pro has already released a comprehensive guide to the newly-introduced OM Web Video SDK, let’s see which other video ad tech standards are likely to steal the limelight this year.

Recommended SSAI VAST Macros

Server-side ad insertion is nothing new in digital video advertising. However, it wasn’t until November 2020, when IAB Tech Lab released its updated guidance on the recommended SSAI VAST macros to implement.

While the entire list of VAST macros currently includes 50+ options, the number of recommendations for SSAI providers is much shorter, since it includes only the info, which is vital for sharing with video ad verification vendors and Demand partners. such as user agent info, video ad environment and content specs.

Note! Keep in mind that the standardized VAST macros, typically replaced by a video ad player or a SSAI platform initiating a VAST request, are different from the proprietary ad server macros (replaced within the video ad server platform).

In particular, the recommended SSAI-specific macros that cover the video ad player tech utilized include the following:

[SERVERSIDE] – indicates whether the URL is being requested from a server or a client. Namely, the accepted values are:

  • “0” – request sent on the client side
  • “1” – ad server sent a request on client’s behalf
  • “2” –  ad server sent a request on an another server/unknown party’s behalf

Note! If the macro is missing, the default value should be “0”.

[SERVERUA] – passes user agent info about the server making a request on a client’s behalf. Suggested formatting is:

{service name}/{version} ({URL to vendorinfo})

[CLIENTUA] – passes info about the video player and VAST client utilized. Suggested formatting is:

{player name}/{player version} {plugin name}/{plugin version}

Note! In case the player name’s unknown, please use “unknown”.

[PLAYBACKMETHODS] – indicates how the page is being loaded (with ad inventory sound ON or OFF). Namely, the accepted values are:

  • “1” – page loads with sound ON
  • “2” – page loads with sound OFF

[PLAYERSTATE] – indicates the current video ad player state (e.g. muted, fullscreen).

For more information on the recommended SSAI VAST Macros, please refer to the IAB Tech Lab’s implementation guide.

Unknown / Unavailable Macros Values

If a certain macro value is unknown, but would have been shared in case it was known, please replace the macro with the “-1” value.

If a macro value is actually known, but is exempt from sharing given the particular policy restrictions or other limitations, please replace the macro with the  “-2” value.

Common Ad Transport Standard

Back in 2020, IAB Tech Lab released the Common Ad Transport Standard (CATS), aimed at complementing OpenRTB by standardizing the execution of ad requests in the so-to-speak non-bidded transactions.

Namely, CATS doesn’t only enable to standardize S2S communication, but more importantly, helps resolve somewhat the common URL length issues with HTTP GET requests (i.e. 2048 characters including URL), hence allows sharing more info across the supply chain more efficiently, in a privacy-safe environment.

The initial iteration of the standard, released in June 2020, doesn’t imply a standardized protocol for responding to CATS requests yet, however in case of video ads, VAST XML should be expected as the response.

Namely, the accepted response types info should be passed in the so-called Accept header. Example:

Accept: application/vast+xml

For more information on how to implement the Common Ad Transport Standard, please refer to IAB Tech Lab’s CATS documentation.