Vast Video/Audio Ads

Overview

The Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) specification is a universal XML schema for serving ads to digital video and audio players. It is IAB's standardized format for tracking Video Ads. VAST is a script for the Video Ad. Every tag in a VAST chain must point directly to VAST XML.

Creating New Video Ads

  1. Navigate to The Campaign Grid and select Creatives > Ads via the menu on the left-hand side.

  2. Click + New Ad and choose Video/Audio from the drop-down. 

3. The following screen will appear:

4. Set values for this Ad Type per the table below. 

Exchanges can approve or disapprove an Ad depending on the values you set. To ensure acceptance on the Google Ad Exchange (ADX) as well as the best delivery and performance outcomes, use SSL-compliant, i.e. https rather than http in all URLs.

VAST Video/Audio Ad Fields

Field

Description

Ad Name*

It is best practice to include the following in this field:

  • Current Date

  • Tag Name

  • An Attribute (If applicable)

  • Other Useful Information

Example: 170617-ImproveAnimalAdoption-Native (Tablet)

Video Upload*

Choose one of Video File or VAST Tag (XML). The next field changes depending on your choice.

Video File *

Upload the Video or Audio Ad file by dragging and dropping the file into the grey box. The Zeta DSP supports the following formats below.

MOV

QuickTime.

M4V

Similar to MP4, but can feature DRM copy protection.

MP4

MPEG-4.

Small Web Format

Shockwave Flash file.

WMV

Windows Media Video.

WAV

Audio-only format.

MP3

Audio-only format.

OGG

Audio-only format.


VAST Tag Field

Description

Output

(Video File Only) Check the Standard Default Formats box to have the DSP provide your Video not only in its native format, but also transcode it into the webm, mp4 and flv formats. This helps make your Video eligible for placement on more devices and locations. Choose + Video Output to specify other transcoding options, specified by paired quantities: pixel size and display rate (in Kilobytes per second).

Click-through URL

If you have a click-tracker URL, enter it here. Otherwise, enter the landing URL, i.e. the URL visitors reach when they choose the Ad.

Land In New Window

Check this box if clicking the Ad takes the visitor to a new window.

Video Duration

Set this to match the length of your Video, in seconds. If the length of your Video is not one of the provided options, choose Custom and enter the number of seconds in the box provided.

Ad Vendors

The DSP should auto-populate this field so you should not need to enter anything. However, if in the rare event you need to do so, or if an Ad Exchange rejects an Ad, for this reason, set this field as follows. 

An Ad Vendor is an Ad Partner beyond the Ad Server having a component within the Ad. Examples include Brand Safety tools and Rich Media such as Double Verify or Ad Safe.

Ad Attributes

The DSP auto-populates this field. In most cases, you do not need to edit this field. If you need to do so, or if an exchange rejects an Ad, for this reason, set this field as follows.

IAB advertisement category attributes are now available to select as additional aspects of the creative. The options available in the Ad Attributes field allow you to select one or more attributes to apply to the creative, such as HTML5, etc.

Event Tracking

This feature enables tracking the activities of each viewer who watches your ad. To enable, choose + Event. A menu button and text box appear. Choose the button to pick an Event type and enter the details into the text box.

Add another event by again choosing + Event. Delete an Event type by choosing the X.

Companion Ads

This feature enables the placement of a non-Video companion ad on the same screen as your Video. Choose +Companion Ad. A list of your eligible companion ads appears. Choose one to associate it with your Video. Add another companion ad by again choosing +Companion Ad. Delete a companion ad by choosing the x.

Time Zone

Select the time zone that the Zeta use to run the Ad per the Start and End Times specified in the next two fields.

Start Date/Time

(Optional) Specify the beginning date and time during which the Ad is to be available to campaigns. If you leave it unspecified, the Ad is available immediately.

Zeta suggests leaving the Start Date and End Date fields blank unless you are working in one of the following scenarios:

  • Scenario #1 - You have a long-running campaign that cycles through several sets of ads. If you have all of the ads ready to go before the campaign is launched, you can use Start and End dates on the ads to ensure the campaign automatically switches from one set of ads to the next on the appropriate day.

  • Scenario #2 - Your campaign is running a specific time-sensitive promotion, event, or sale that has a defined end date. Setting an End date will ensure that the creative set runs only during the time of the promotion.

End Date/Time

(Optional) Specify the end date and times during which the Ad is to be available to campaigns. If you leave it unspecified, the Ad inherits the run dates of its campaign.

Zeta suggests leaving the Start Date and End Date fields blank unless you are working in one of the following scenarios:

  • Scenario #1 - You have a long-running campaign that cycles through several sets of ads. If you have all of the ads ready to go before the campaign is launched, you can use Start and End dates on the ads to ensure the campaign automatically switches from one set of ads to the next on the appropriate day.

  • Scenario #2 - Your campaign is running a specific time-sensitive promotion, event, or sale that has a defined end date. Setting an End date will ensure that the creative set runs only during the time of the promotion.

Third-Party Placement ID

(Optional) Use this field to store on the Third-Party Placement ID, and then report on this field using the Third-Party Placement ID metric.

Third-Party Ad ID was a legacy metric that was automatically extracted from some DCM ad tags. In those cases, this field is automatically populated. You can overwrite this field as necessary.

How to Setup a Companion Banner For a Video Ad

Companion Banners can be assigned to Video Ads in the Ad Settings and will be displayed along with the Video asset when inventory that supports companion banners is available. Companion banner inventory is heavily dependent on whether or not a given publisher supports the companion banner slot. Occasionally, the publisher inserts the companion banner after a Video has played (usually with mobile apps). We currently do not support seeing companion availability in our Forecasting Tool, nor as a custom report.

  1. Upload the 300x250 Companion Banner separately as an Image or HTML Ad.

  2. Navigate back to the Video Ad Creation Page to locate the corresponding Video/Audio Ad for the Companion Banner.

  3. Within the Ad Settings, you will see a field for Companion Banner. Click + Companion Ad. Via the drop-down menu, select the desired Companion Banner Ad that you uploaded.

 Zeta DSP does not guarantee 1:1 delivery for Video Ads and companion banners.

Companion Banner FAQ

Question

Answer

Are Companion Banner Ads static?

Ads can be static or dynamic. If you are uploading a video file, the Companion Banner will be uploaded as a separate creative in the DSP and linked to the Video creative via the Companion Ad selection.

Do not link a separate Companion Banner to a VAST tag, as this can interfere with delivery. If you plan on using VAST Video tags, it's best practice to traffic the Companion Banner along with the Video that is being trafficked in the Third-Party VAST Ad Server.

What sizes do they need to be?

Companion Banner size is 300x250.

Can I use a Third-Party Ad Server to track its performance?

Yes, you can create the Companion Banner Ad using a Third-Party Ad Server, and then traffic it as an HTML creative in the DSP. This option will only work if the Video creative is a raw asset and not a VAST tag.

Can I pull Companion Banner reporting?

Yes, the Report Builder has Companion Views, Companion Clicks, and Companion CTR as metrics.

Is there a benchmark performance goal that I should keep in mind?

Exchanges do not guarantee Companion Banner impressions or a 1:1 ratio of Video to Companion Banners. If a user with a high propensity score visits a page with Video, we will serve a Video Ad to that user regardless of the availability of a Companion Banner. There isn't a need to adjust performance goals based on the Companion Banner, as our models are optimizing towards the Video creative.

Is there an additional cost associated with running a Video campaign that has a Companion Banner?

Companion Banners are considered added value impressions. The Companion Banner will serve when the inventory allows for it, but it will not keep the DSP from bidding on valuable Video impressions that don't allow for companion ads.

If I use the same CPM bid as a Video campaign without a Companion ad, would it affect the pacing of my campaign?

Setting the CPM the same as a Video campaign without a Companion Ad is recommended and will not affect the pacing.

Best Practices

Creating Audio Ads and Serving on Spotify

The VAST format applies to Video and Audio files. You can upload Audio Ads using the VAST Video Ad Card; and track those Ads using standard VAST event tracking.

Spotify has the following requirements for Audio Ads:

  • File Format: .MP3, .WAV, or .OGG. (Note: Zeta converts all files to .OGG)

  • Format: 160kb per second

Creating Video Ads for Spotify

The links from Spotify provide the formats necessary to create Video Ads for Spotify. They need to be in .MOV or .MP4 format.

Video Completion Optimization

For Video campaigns in the Zeta DSP, you should set a Video Completion goal on your campaign.

Zeta Policy for Misleading Creative Format

Zeta does not allow ad creatives whose format, landing page, URL is intentionally misleading. Ads whose format, content, landing page or URL are found to be intentionally misleading using methods including but not limited to Video stuffing, misleading creative practices or misleading landing pages are subject to the Zeta Malware Policy. Creative rotation that results in serving more than one advertiser's creative in the same impression, or rotation of multiple advertiser's impressions in the same creative tag, is not allowed.

Video Stuffing is defined as:

  • Using display banner creative or VAST Video creative to buy display banner inventory or Video inventory that serves pre-roll content that syndicates Video inventory ad requests to buyers on ad networks and Video SSPs.

  • Using display banner creative or VAST Video creative to buy display banner inventory or Video inventory and serve/rotate multiple Video Ad creatives in succession.

In-banner Video defined as:

  • Use of display banner creative to serve a Video player without ending the animation after 15s with a call to action (separating this from Rich Media that uses Video clips) or user interaction through expansion (excluding full-screen expansion).

At Zeta's sole discretion, this policy is subject to change at any time.

Additional Resources

Video Ads being rejected for a mix of SSL and non-SSL.

Error Message
Seen under the "Audit" tab of the DSP for a Video Ad as a rejection reason from AdX SSL:
correction reason: SSL_ATTRIBUTE [Removed attribute: 47, The snippet contains a mix of SSL and non-SSL content: (your ad's landing page inserted here) ];FLASHLESS_ATTRIBUTE[Added attribute: 50];

Cause (Provided by Google Support)
When a user visits a page served over HTTPS, their connection with the web server is encrypted with TLS and is, Therefore, safeguarded from phishing agents and malicious actors. If the HTTPS page includes content retrieved through regular, cleartext HTTP, then the connection is only partially encrypted; the unencrypted content is accessible to sniffers and can be modified by malicious actors, so the connection is not safeguarded. When a web page exhibits this behavior, it is called a "mixed content" page.

When the ADX-SSL rejection shows the landing URL as having mixed content, the creatives associated with it are flagged as non-SSL by Google. To clarify, the landing URLs themselves do not need to be secure, so an ad with a landing URL of "http://www.your company.com" would be approved for delivery on AdX SSL inventory so long as all the elements on the site were secure. However, when an ad's landing page has non-secure elements on it, the ads will be rejected to run on the AdX SSL inventory.

To fix this type of error, all requests to HTTP content should be removed and replaced with content served over HTTPS. Some common examples of mixed content include JavaScript files, stylesheets, images, videos, and other media. Please refer to this article to know more about this.

Workaround
Consider redirecting your campaign Video Ads to a valid secure landing page as this is the easiest solution. If this is not possible, review the landing page to ensure all the elements on it are secure. Please note that ads with a rejected status on ADX-SSL inventory may be running on other exchanges. For further assistance, contact Zeta Support and provide the following information: 

  • A direct link to the ads list for your company or campaign

  • If the ads list is 20+ in total, please confirm if the need is for all the Ads or just a subset to be reviewed for possible re-audit.

Ad Vendors

Vendor

Details

Integral Ad Science (IAS)

Zeta can wrap tags with an IAS tracker, even if the tag is wrapped with another vendor. Often impression does not serve properly if double-wrapped in client-wrapped IAS tag && Zeta-wrapped IAS tag. This allows Zeta to measure viewability on IAS, regardless of the client-mandated Viewability Vendor.

DISCLAIMER

Interactions between MOAT tags wrapped on IAS wrapped tags causes a ~10% loss of Ad Server-reported impressions.

MOAT

Zeta can wrap tags with a MOAT tracker, even if the tag is wrapped with another vendor. Each impression fires a MOAT pixel which populates in the MOAT website with login.

DISCLAIMER

Interactions between MOAT tags wrapped on IAS wrapped tags causes a ~10% loss of Ad Server-reported impressions. This allows Zeta to measure viewability on MOAT, regardless of the client-mandated Viewability Vendor. When reports are received infrequently, optimizing off of MOAT viewability data can improve performance.

Video Reporting Metrics

Metric

Definitions

Impressions

The number of times users watched or engaged with your Video Ad.

Clicks

The number of times users clicked on your Video. Clicks can help understand how well your ad is appealing to people who view it. The more engaging the Ad the more clicks.

CTR%

The number of clicks divided by the number of impressions, expressed as a percent.

Cost

The average amount spent on media impressions.

DSP Cost-Based CPM

Cost divided by Impressions. This is the CPM at which we are winning bids.

Revenue

Revenue delivered.

Margin (DEPR)

Revenue minus Cost divided by Revenue (i.e., (R) $382, (C) Cost $297 = 382-297=85/382=22%)

Video Starts

The number of times the Video was started.

First Quartile

25% of the Video duration was viewed.

Midpoint

The number of times the Video reached its midpoint during play.

Third Quartile

75% of the Video duration was viewed.

Video Completion Rate

100% of the Video was watched to completion.

Average Video Completion Rate

Average completion rate of Video impressions, calculated as follows: (Video First Quartile Reached × 0.25 + Video Midpoint Reached × 0.25 + Video Third Quartile Reached × 0.25 + Video Completions × 0.25) ÷ Video Views × 100.

Cost per Video Completion

Calculated as Cost ÷ Video Completions.

Spend per Video Completion

Average cost of Video completions, calculated as Spend ÷ Video Completions.

DSP Viewability Measured Impressions

Number of impressions analyzed by Zeta for Viewability.

DSP Viewability %

Percentage of impressions deemed viewable by Zeta, calculated as Zeta In-View Impressions × 100 ÷ Zeta Viewability Measured Impressions.

Viewability Vendor Measured Impressions

Number of impressions analyzed by an external vendor for Viewability.


Mobile Video Notes

  • Expandable banners are not allowed in Mobile Video.

  • The recommendation is 15-second pre-rolls.

  • Video with a length between 15-30 seconds will run in a 30-second slot.

  • There is more inventory for 15-second spots, therefore, completion rates tend to be higher.

  • Assets should be in-house 6 days prior to the campaign launch.

  • VAST must play in https://developers.google.com/interactive-media-ads/docs/sdks/html5/vastinspector

  • XML/URL must contain one creative element only.

Mobile Video Specs

  • File Format: Raw Files - MOV, MP4, FLV

  • VAST: VAST 2.0 - *must be mobile encoded with MP4

  • Max File Size: 50MB (:15), 50MB (:30) Initial Load Size 60KB

  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen, 4:3 Standard

  • Max Video & Animation: 30 fps

  • BITRATE (KBPS): 300-400

  • MAX Video Length: 30 seconds

  • Audio Initiation: Must be user-initiated (on click: mute/un-mute). The default state must be muted.

  • Minimum Required Controls: Play, Pause, Mute (Volume control to (0); Output may be included instead of, or in addition to mute control)

  • Encoded with an h.264 codec at the highest quality setting recommended.

  • The following codecs are also supported: mjpeg, mpeg4, h263,dvVideo, svq3, svq1,qtrle,rawVideo,rpza.

  • Container Format: FLV, MPEG-4 Part 14, or OGG

  • Tracking URLs: Completion Pixels

Video Targeting

Video enables targeting based on the Video Ad placement opportunities and characteristics. See Video Targeting for more information on targeting by Playback and Player Size. 

Video targeting includes a size restriction. This size restriction also applies to other types of Ads. Thus, if you are running a campaign that includes both Video and non-Video Ads, and you want to apply Video targeting, you should create a separate line-item for the Video Ads and apply targeting only to this line-item (or one or more of its Tactics). If you instead apply Video restrictions at the campaign level for such a combined campaign, you risk reducing the campaign's supply of non-Video Ad placement opportunities.