Last Excuse Gone: Ad-ID Intros A Workaround For VAST 2.0 Users

05/19/2020 - In the latest effort to spur universal adoption of Ad-ID, the unified standard for advertising metadata, joint owners ANA and the 4As have worked with industry partners to introduce a “stopgap” solution for agencies and marketers still using the outdated 2.0 version of VAST.

Ad-ID (UniversalAdId outside of the U.S.) — a joint venture of ANA and the 4As — enables identifying creative advertising assets across all media platforms, digital and linear.

It’s considered crucial to the growth and evolution of premium video by industry leaders, including those on the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video (FWC).

As I noted in a column a few months ago advocating adoption of Ad-ID, the benefits of using it, according to the experts, include workflow efficiencies (reducing the need to re-identify the asset across channels and vendors); reducing demand- and supply-side duplication and storage of assets; enhancing ad quality and avoiding running the same ads back-to-back; enhancing accurate ad delivery (right audience, frequency) through a more efficient ad inventory; and improved post-delivery reporting.

But while more than 3,000 brands are currently registered to use Ad-ID, and more than 900 agencies and nearly 400 nonprofits are using it, use is not universal or consistent, for a variety of reasons.

Far as I can see (my interpretation, not Ad-ID’s), many of these boil down to not yet having been forced by client expectations or enforceable industry standards to upgrade to the 4.0 version of VAST — the Video Ad Serving Template for structuring ad tags that serve ads to video players.

Ad-ID is a required element in VAST 4.0 versions and higher (4.2 was introduced last June) because it helps maintain a unique creative identifier across systems, which enhances the ability to track ads more accurately and easily.

But “many in the industry are still using VAST 2.0 as they determine how and when to update to the newer VAST 4.0 versions that support the UniversalAdId element,” the Ad-ID organization’s release tactfully notes. “For this reason, Ad-ID asked its industry partners for help to determine if the UniversalAdId element could be carried through VAST 2.0 and, if so, in which field.” 

With help from A+E Networks, NBCUniversal and Hulu, Ad-ID “was able to understand and document how the UniversalAdId can be used in VAST 2.0 within the AdID attribute in the creative elements,” the organization reports.

Ad-ID is still working with the IAB Tech Lab to encourage the industry to adopt the newer versions of VAST as soon as possible, “but using the AdID attribute for an Ad-ID code in VAST 2.0 is an easy solution to introduce Ad-ID codes into the digital supply chain,” they add. 

The best practices for using this stopgap solution are detailed in a new paper.

Meanwhile, some words to ponder from Jermaine Roseman, senior director of advanced advertising solutions for A+E: "Ad-ID provides the opportunity to streamline the ad serving process and deliver on the promise of the right message to the right person at the right time. By incorporating the UniversalAdId into VAST 2.0 as a best practice, the digital ecosystem will improve users’ experience, reduce troubleshooting and create greater transparency to marketers and agencies.”

So what’s your excuse now?

Karlene Lukovitz
Editor of Video Insider
MediaPost