Mid/Post-Roll Video Ads

Mid/Post-Roll Video Ads

What is VAST?

The IAB's Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) specification is a universal XML schema for serving ads to digital video players. It provides support for linear pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll MP4/FLV/WebM video ads as well as non-linear GIF/JPG/PNG, Flash (SWF), text, HTML, <IFRAME> and <SCRIPT> banners. In addition to this it also specifies video tracking events, which enables measurement of video advertising consumption.

Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll and Post-Roll Video Ads

Pre-roll video ads are short 15-30 second video clips that play before the video that viewers actually intend to watch. Mid-roll ads play in the middle of the intended video and post-roll ads play at the end of the intended video. They are comparable to television commercials. Typically viewers aren't able to skip or fast-forward video ads, which makes them very appealing to advertisers.

Getting Started

We learned how to deploy CDN hosted, pre-roll video ads using JWPlayer in our previous tutorial. In this tutorial we're also going to use JWPlayer, but this time we're going to be wrapping a third-party VAST tag. The major difference here is that there is no video to upload. If you followed along with our previous tutorial you'll find this one is much shorter for that reason.

Creating a Mid/Post-Roll Video Ad

Creating the Media

You'll obviously want to set up a zone with multiple campaigns/media on your live web site, but for the purpose of this example we'll skip those extra steps.

  1. Log in to your AdvertServe account.
  2. Go to Media and create a new media. Select VAST Tag Wrapper for the media type.
  3. Enter the following URL in the VAST Tag URL field: http://pubads.g.doubleclick.net/gampad/ads?sz=400x300&iu=%2F6062%2Fiab_vast_samples&ciu_szs=300x250%2C728x90&impl=s&gdfp_req=1&env=vp&output=xml_vast2&unviewed_position_start=1&url=&correlator=[timestamp]&cust_params=iab_vast_samples%3Dlinear
  4. Review your settings and make sure they look like the ones in the screenshot below. AdvertServe: Creating a VAST Tag Wrapper
  5. Press the Create Media button.

Generating the VAST Tag

  1. After you have successfully created the media, simply click on the Generate Code shortcut that appears on the top right side of the screen.
  2. You'll be presented with a VAST Tag that you'll need to copy into the JWPlayer settings. AdvertServe: Generating the VAST Tag

JWPlayer Configuration

  1. Go to jwplayer.com and sign up for the JW Player enterprise plan if you haven't already.
  2. Log in to your JW Player account.
  3. Click on the Publish a Video Now button and make sure your Player Edition is the Ads version as shown in the screenshot below. JW Player: Publish a Video Now
  4. Click on the Your Website button and then you'll need to enter the streaming URL for another video that you've uploaded to RackSpace Cloud Files. I'm using a video of an animated flyby over some train tracks. I also happen to have a JPG image that I'm using for the poster image as shown in the screenshot below, however, this is completely optional. JW Player: Upload Video from Your Website
  5. On the next screen you'll be able to customize the video player to your liking. JW Player: Video Player Customization
    • Make sure that your primary player is selected as Flash and it will automatically fall back on using HTML5 for visitors without Flash capability.
    • You then need to select VAST Preroll for the Ad Client and enter the VAST Tag that you generated earlier into the provided Insert Your Ad Tag box as shown in the screenshot above.
    • When everything is set how you like it press the Get Embed Code button.

Publishing Your Video

The first part of the Embed Code should be pasted into the <head> section of your page and will look similar to the following:

<script src="http://jwpsrv.com/library/yourlicensekey.js"></script>

The second part of the Embed Code should be pasted into the <body> section of your page where the video should actually appear and will look similar to the following:

<div id='playerlY5ILoW2TpH4'></div>
<script type='text/javascript'>
        file: 'http://e736daa9861a3da5faf4-49d13c85de3b1b0658221edbffbf1629.r69.stream.cf2.rackcdn.com/traintracks.mp4',
        image: 'http://8ea7863d68099f00b39c-49d13c85de3b1b0658221edbffbf1629.r69.cf2.rackcdn.com/traintracks480.jpg',
        width: '480',
        height: '270',
        aspectratio: '16:9',
        stretching: 'fill',
        primary: 'flash',
        advertising: {
            client: 'vast',
            tag: 'https://tester.advertserve.com/servlet/vast2/media?mid=234&pid=0&random=__random-number__'

I've actually changed the width and height to 480x270 in the above code and added the stretching: 'fill' option to make the video stretch to fill that entire space.

At this point if you try this code out you'll see a pre-roll video ad for Google plays before your video.

Mid-Roll Video Ad

Turning this into a mid-roll video ad requires some changes to the advertising settings in the player embed code to define a schedule that tells JW Player when to play your video ad.

Here's an example that plays the midroll video ad after 15 seconds (see the offset option):

advertising: {
    client: 'vast',
    schedule: {
        midroll: {
            offset: 15,
            tag: 'https://tester.advertserve.com/servlet/vast2/media?mid=124&pid=0&random=__random-number__'

Post-Roll Video Ad

Doing a post-roll video ad is very similar, except you use the pre-defined post offset as shown in the following example:

advertising: {
    client: 'vast',
    schedule: {
        postroll: {
            offset: 'post',
            tag: 'https://tester.advertserve.com/servlet/vast2/media?mid=124&pid=0&random=__random-number__'

Final Thoughts

Stay tuned for more blogs in this series covering companion banners and non-linear banners. These will also be done with JWPlayer. For help with other video players, see the VAST chapter in our user manual.

Can't wait for more? You'll find more examples and configuration help in the official JWPlayer video ads documentation.

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