VAST tags (Video Ad Serving Template) are scripts that enable effective communication between video players and ad servers. They play a crucial role in delivering and tracking video ads across different platforms and devices. VAST tags provide detailed instructions to video players on retrieving and displaying ads, specifying ad media, length, format, tracking information, and pricing. 

Created by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), VAST tags have been regularly updated to support different video formats and advanced features. Some benefits of VAST tags include streamlined communication between ad servers and video players, reduced ad playback errors, and increased control for advertisers. We write about how they work and how to make them yourself below!

What Is a VAST Tag?

A VAST tag, short for Video Ad Serving Template, is a script that allows ad servers to communicate with video players. It instructs video players on retrieving and displaying ads by providing information such as ad media, length, format, tracking information, and pricing. VAST tags use XML schema to transfer metadata readable by both humans and computers. They link to a media file containing the ad creative and define the ad format. Tracking the performance of ads is also possible through tracking URLs included in the VAST tag. VAST tags are essential for properly functioning video ads, ensuring effective communication between ad servers and video players. These tags play a vital role in maximizing the performance and revenue of video ad campaigns by providing essential information and tracking capabilities. The VAST tag is a critical component in the realm of digital advertising. It ensures that video content is communicated accurately between the ad server and players. Essentially, when someone asks, “What is a VAST tag?”, the answer is simple:

it’s a script that allows an ad server to send detailed instructions about the video ad’s playback to the player.

What are Key Elements in a VAST Tags?

A VAST tag consists of several key elements that provide detailed information about the video ad. These elements are defined using XML markup schema, making them easily readable by computers and humans alike.

Media File

The media file element is a crucial component of a VAST tag. It links to the actual video file that contains the ad creative. This element ensures the video ad is properly delivered to the player for playback.

Video Format

The video format element specifies the ad format, such as MP4 or FLV. It ensures the video player can correctly render and display the ad in the intended format.

A Brief History of VAST and Video Ads

VAST tags have played a significant role in the evolution of video advertising since their inception by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) in 2008. These tags were created to standardize the delivery and rendering of video ads, providing a framework for effective communication between ad servers and video players.

What is The VAST tag 1.0?

The first version of VAST, VAST 1.0, supported popular video formats such as MP4, 3GP, and .MOV. It introduced basic linear event tracking, allowing advertisers to measure the performance of their video ads. Subsequent versions, like VAST 2.0, expanded the supported video formats and introduced quartile event tracking and companion ads.

What Changes Were Introduced in VAST 3.0?

VAST 3.0 marked a significant milestone in the history of VAST tags. It introduced skippable ads, improved error reporting, and compliance with Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA) standards. This version enhanced the control advertisers had over their video ad campaigns, providing more opportunities for engagement with viewers.

Last version of vast tags

The latest version, VAST 4.0, released in 2018, brought advanced features. It introduced separate video and interactive files, server stitching, viewability, verification, advanced reporting, and closed captioning capabilities. VAST 4.0 enabled advertisers to create more interactive and dynamic video ad experiences while addressing industry challenges such as viewability and measurement.

How Does VAST Work?

VAST (Video Ad Serving Template vast) works through a series of processes that involve the video player and the ad server. It starts with a VAST request sent by the video player to the ad server, requesting a video ad. The ad server then responds with a VAST inline response containing the media file and tracking URLs.

Once the video ad is played, the player fires the tracking URLs to record impressions and track the ad’s performance. This process ensures seamless delivery and tracking of video ads across different platforms and devices.

The VAST tags use XML schema to transfer metadata readable by both humans and computers. This process involves a VAST request from the video player to the ad server and a VAST inline response from the ad server to the video player. Tracking URLs are also included, pinged to record impressions and track the ad’s performance.

The Dance Between Ad Server and Video Players

When a video player requests a video ad, the ad server receives the call and responds with the appropriate VAST tag. This process, where the server receives the request and the video player understands VAST, underlines their shared symbiotic relationship.

Validating Your VAST Tags

It’s not just about knowing how to create VAST tags; it’s also essential to validate VAST tags. By doing so, advertisers ensure that their video content is displayed correctly and that the media file associated with the ad is intact and functional.

The Journey of a Video Ad Request

From the moment the ad server receives the initial request for video content, to when the video player deciphers the VAST tags and displays the content, the journey of the video ad is a testament to the power of digital synchronization.

Tracking Events

The tracking events element includes tracking URLs for different events throughout the video ad’s playback. These events can include the start, first quartile, midpoint, third quartile, and ad completion. Tracking URLs allows for monitoring and measuring ad performance, providing valuable insights for advertisers and publishers. Advertisers and publishers can ensure that their video ads are properly delivered, rendered, and tracked by including these key elements in a VAST tag. The elements work together to provide viewers a seamless and effective video ad experience and help maximize the impact and success of video ad campaigns.

How create a vast tag?

A VAST tag can be generated manually using XML, created in Google Ad Manager account, or generated with third-party tools. It is important to validate VAST tags to ensure they are correctly formatted, and tools like the IAB’s VAST tag Validator or Video Suite Inspector can be used for this purpose. You can use these metods, to create vast tags:

1. Manual Method:

  • Craft a VAST tag using an XML editor.
  • Familiarity with VAST tag elements is essential.
  • Adjust parameters like ad duration, click-through URL, and video dimensions.

2. Google Ad Manager:

  • Access your Google Ad Manager account.
  • Go to “Delivery” > “third-party tags” and click “New third-party tag”.
  • Choose “VAST” as tag type and input your tag details.
  • Paste the VAST code from your ad server or network.
  • Configure settings and save. Use this tag for your video ad campaigns and monitor metrics.

3. Third-Party Tools:

  • Several tools simplify VAST tag creation for those less tech-savvy or needing bulk tags.
  • Examples:
    • VAST Tag Generator: Input ad information to give you a VAST tag.
    • Cedato VAST Tag Builder: Ideal for programmatic advertising with multiple ad format supports.

In summary, whether manually, via Google Ad Manager, or third-party tools, creating VAST tags has never been more accessible. Choose the method best aligned with your technical expertise and campaign needs.

The Role of Google Ad Manager in VAST Tags

Advertisers can seamlessly create VAST tags tailored to their specific video content using Google Ad Manager. Once these VAST tags package together all the necessary ad details, they ensure the correct rendering of the video on various platforms.

How to Create VAST Tags Effectively?

To create VAST tags that function optimally, one must follow the instructions provided by platforms like Google Ad Manager. These guidelines ensure that the video player understands VAST commands, leading to a seamless viewing experience for the audience.

What are VAST Tags benefits?

VAST tags offer numerous benefits for advertisers and publishers in video advertising. Here are some key advantages:

Streamline Communication

VAST tags facilitate seamless communication between ad servers and video players, ensuring the efficient delivery of video ads. This streamlined process reduces delays and improves the overall user experience.

Reduce Errors

By standardizing the delivery and rendering of video ads, VAST tags help minimize playback errors. This ensures ads load correctly and play smoothly across different devices and platforms, enhancing viewer engagement.

Increased Control

With VAST tags, advertisers have more control over their ad creative and distribution. They can specify the ad format, length, and tracking information, allowing targeted and personalized campaigns.

Time and Cost Savings

VAST tags save advertisers and publishers valuable time and resources by providing a standardized and efficient way to deliver and track video ads. They eliminate the need for manual ad placements and reduce the complexities associated with ad serving.

Maximizing Your Ad Revenue with Waytogrow’s Expertise in VAST Ad Tags

At Waytogrow, we harness the power of VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) ad tags not just as a technological tool, but as a cornerstone in our programmatic advertising strategy. Our expertise in integrating these tags plays a pivotal role in navigating both Open Market and Private Market Place channels, offering our clients unparalleled access to premium programmatic demand. 

By leveraging VAST ad tags, we ensure that our clients’ ads are not only delivered seamlessly across various platforms but are also perfectly aligned with the most lucrative and relevant ad opportunities available in real-time bidding environments. 

This approach significantly enhances ad targeting and engagement, leading to a better return on investment. Our clients benefit from our strategic use of technology, gaining an edge in the competitive digital advertising landscape through improved access to high-quality ad inventory and optimized ad performance. 


VAST tags play a fundamental role in the success of video ad campaigns. They offer streamlined communication, reduced errors, increased control, and time and cost savings. Advertisers and publishers can leverage VAST tags to deliver impactful video ads, improve ad performance, and maximize revenue. By effectively implementing VAST tags, stakeholders in the digital advertising industry can enhance their video ad campaigns’ overall effectiveness and efficiency.

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