Canada – Not So VAST, yet

Canada has one of the most engaged online audiences, leading the world in broadband penetration and video consumption. This week, comScore Video Metrix said we lead the world in the number of online videos watched per viewer. Trends point to a continued increase in online video consumption by Canadians for 2012 however, Media Experts has found that many Canadian video networks and publishers are not adopting video ad serving standards as rapidly as their US counterparts.

Why is this? It could be our smaller market size, the disparity of publishers, or simply the size of the individual video publishers. What’s important here are the advantages video ad serving standards bring to the table and the value they bring to our customers.

A standard like the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST), now in its second version, can be a powerful tool to make video campaigns scalable. Currently, advertisers are forced to re-format assets multiple ways to accommodate different publishers. Think how much production time and cost – not to mention campaign deployment time – can be saved when a single set of specs is used for video assets – time that could be re-invested in production to create alternate versions of your video, to test performance, test calls-to-action, etc.

VAST standards help media agencies accelerate deployment of video campaigns and, most importantly, optimize these campaigns. Pre-roll campaigns have long relied on the publishers’ self-reported numbers and discrepancies abound, so campaigns have been next to impossible to optimize in real-time. Having pre-roll assets ad-served allow for greater creative flexibility and delivery. Changing messaging multiple times in a campaign becomes as simple as any other online campaign and allows for better message targeting.

For Media Experts, VAST compliance is a matter of bringing video campaigns to the same level of flexibility as the rest of online media while making video dollars work harder for our customers’ brands.

Over the past few months, Media Experts has worked proactively with DoubleClick’s In-Stream Taskforce to reach out to Canadian publishers and encourage VAST compliance. We heard from many publishers that although the number of agencies in Canada pushing for VAST adoption could fit in a kayak, they were excited to climb in and paddle with us. We are encouraged by Canadian publishers like VTélé and Astral who were quick to test with us and confirm compliance.

We are hopeful that many of our partner publishers will be VAST compliant by early 2012, resulting in greater economies in production dollars, more creative flexibility, better targeting, audited delivery numbers and consistent post-click activity tracking!

Moving to VAST compliance can only increase value for customers and agencies alike. What’s YOUR opinion?