The fact is, VPAID is to be deprecated. And it’s time to get a grip around its replacements.

Ever since its introduction over a decade ago, the VPAID standard was never a remedy for the online video advertising industry.

Initially designed to allow interactivity of the video ad units, it has soon converted into somewhat a multifunctional all-in-one tool, with full access to the page DOM, which also handles the actual delivery of video ad campaigns on publishers’ digital properties, as well as their verification.

Quite predictably, running VPAID ads often results in higher page latency, greater number of unspecified errors and, more importantly, little to no publishers’ control over the playback and website/app audience experience with ads.

Long way from VPAID to SIMID

Aiming to resolve some of the major issues, related to VPAID ads, back in 2010’s IAB organized multiple technical working groups and task forces to develop and implement brand-new video ad standards, which would eventually work as VPAID replacements.

In this respect, while the newer, more enhanced versions of VAST are to handle the actual video ad delivery, and the so-to-speak “OM umbrella” is to cover the verification aspect, the interactivity of video ads has become a focus point for SIMID.

What is SIMID?

In brief, SIMID stands for Secure Interactive Media Interface Definition and refers to the IAB’s technical specification, aimed at enabling the delivery of advanced interactive video ads in a more secure and transparent environment.

Benefits of SIMID

Unlike in case with VPAID ads, SIMID doesn’t require creatives’ direct access to the player DOM, which ensures higher data security, and is built upon the concept of separating the media asset layer from the interactive layer.

A peculiar thing is, it’s due to such separation that publishers gain more control of media/ad streams on their digital properties, getting an ability to run variable duration ads in their live streams, and access SSAI capabilities, too.

More importantly, SIMID ads launch in a separate cross-domain secure iFrame, sandboxed from the player environment, which enables pre-caching of media creatives, hence mitigating latency issues, so common for VPAID ads.

SIMID Video Ads Implementation Specifics

Given that SIMID creatives are designed to have no access to any DOM (player/page), the standard neither supports creative wrapping, nor the ad blocking functionality. The video ad verification is also handled separately, i.e. via Open Measurement SDK for Web Video.

From the technical perspective, SIMID ad tags can can run in a web/native in-app video player, as long as the device supports web view (that is, a creative has a so to speak sandboxed access to DOM). The communication is being handled through postMessage API & SIMID messaging protocol, across the separate sandboxes. The resource MIME type is text/html.

Tip! If you wish to see a range of currently implemented SIMID ad capabilities in a live environment, try out the IAB’s SIMID sample player, specifically implemented for testing purposes. 

For more information, regarding the IAB’s SIMID tech specification, please refer to SIMID documentation on GitHub.