Vincent Webb

Not Your Average Blogger

Understanding VAST and VPAID video advertising (pre-roll and post-roll video ad tags)

Spent a bunch of time over the last few days learning about VAST and VPAID which are two technologies that are used to deliver video advertisements online.

Several ad networks will provide you with what is called a VAST tag. This tag is given to the video player which can support it. The most popular video player to use VAST tags is JWPlayer.

It took over a day of beating my head against the wall with trying differnt versions of the jwplayer tags before I realized that ads DO NOT WORK in any version of JWPlayer except for the Enterprise version. The enterprise version costs around $1500 so right there most people are out of the game...

After searching around, it does seem like the older version of JWPlayer can play VAST ads with flash.

Whether you pay the $ for enterprise edition, use the old version of the player, or have a network partner that can let you use their player, once you have it working, then you are ready to rock, just drop the VAST url they give into your JWPlayer code and the player will start to display ads before and\or after the video.

Here's an example of what your code might look like:

<script type="text/javascript" src="jwplayer.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
        //  ------- JW Flash config -------
            flashplayer: "player_5.8.swf",
            autostart: false,
              width: "728",
             height: "600",
            file: "",
            plugins: {
                   "ova-jw": { 
                       "ads": {

                           "schedule": [
                               "position": "pre-roll",
                              "tag": ""
                               "position": "post-roll",
                              "tag": ""

                   "debug": {
                       //"levels": "vpaid" 
                       "levels": "none" 

This player can also support VPAID. VPAID is typically only available with SWFs in Flash. This makes it not very useful on mobile.

From what I can tell, not too many people have been able to figure out how to make money on mobile video. Each phone and device is different and not all of them have the capability to display pre roll video ads.

A few networks say they have figured out how to make money from mobile video, but most of them require you to display the ads within an app. It usually will not work on mobile webpages.

A large percentage of the traffic coming off social networks is mobile, so if you are trying to make money from content, you need to figure out how to monetize mobile ASAP.

If you need help implementing profitable advertising on your websites, feel free to reach out to me with specifics and I might be able to point you in the right direction.

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