Advanced Television

IAB Tech Lab new spec to improve transparency & UX in video ads

April 23, 2019

The IAB Technology Laboratory has released SIMID (Secure Interactive Media Interface Definition) for public comment, a specification designed to replace VPAID (Video Player Ad Interface Definition) and increase transparency and security, while increasing support for creativity and interactive capabilities.

The introduction of SIMID comes after a decade of the industry relying on the VPAID specification, a period that was a time of intense growth and evolution across the digital video landscape. As a result, even though VPAID was originally intended for building interactive ads, companies adapted it for verification and other use cases, attempting to have VPAID work outside of the scope of its intended purpose and design. This gave rise to significant problems with trust, transparency and creative freedom—all of which SIMID will resolve.

With SIMID, playback control will be in the hands of the player itself, giving publishers greater control of the user experience. In addition, by using SIMID together with OMID (Open Measurement Interface Definition) and VAST (Video Ad Serving Template), not only will creatives have more freedom to focus on interactivity, but also verification vendors will have better understanding of how ads performed, and publishers will know the sources of components of their ads, ultimately leading to better consumer experience and more trust and transparency between digital media and marketing stakeholders.

“With SIMID, Tech Lab is responding to the needs of the  evolving video advertising marketplace, creating an interactivity solution that should become a critical part of the video supply chain and will promote transparency and security,” said Dennis Buchheim, Senior Vice President and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. “Everyone who has relied on VPAID for interactivity should please review SIMID and provide us with feedback, so it can become a critical part of the video supply chain and drive greater transparency across the ecosystem.”

More specifically, SIMID has clear architectural goals to:

  • Enable a “player-centric” model, giving publishers control over the user experience and what runs on their pages. Publishers can be confident that ad units will not “take over” their pages/apps.
  • Support server-side ad insertion (SSAI).
  • Apply to all platforms including mobile and OTT.
  • Be free of constraints to support verification or other unofficial uses of VPAID, which significantly simplifies the requirements and makes it lightweight.

At CBS, we always place a premium on the integrity of our properties and the user experience we provide. The combination of SIMD and OMID — the safety and transparency features of SIMID alongside OMID allowing our inventory to be verifiable, makes for a powerful solution, giving us confidence in the two supporting our larger digital goals,” said Jarred Wilichinsky, Vice President Video Monetization and Operations, CBS Interactive.

“SIMID meets the needs of a number of our publisher partners to support an interactive ad format that offers more control, while providing a flexible framework for building innovative ad creatives,” said Peentoo Patel, Group Product Manager, Video on Ad Manager at Google. “We look forward to the gradual phasing out of VPAID with the availability of this new standard.”

Simultaneously, the IAB Tech Lab is releasing an updated VAST 4.2 template with some minor changes to support SIMID. With these releases, IAB Tech Lab is aiming to have a single tag for all video ads and all platforms.

Categories: Advertising, Articles, Standards