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Decoding VAST: Navigating Common Error Codes for Seamless Video Ad Integration

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital advertising, Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) stands as a crucial standard, facilitating the effective delivery of video content across diverse online platforms. As advertisers and content creators strive for engaging and immersive experiences, VAST serves as the backbone that orchestrates the display of video ads seamlessly. However, this intricate web of technology isn’t without its challenges, and understanding the nuances of common VAST error codes is pivotal for those seeking to ensure the flawless integration of video ads into their digital campaigns.

In this comprehensive exploration, we delve into the world of VAST error codes—those cryptic messages that sometimes disrupt the seamless flow of video advertising. For marketers, developers, and anyone involved in the digital advertising space, deciphering these error codes is not just a troubleshooting exercise but a means to optimize ad performance and elevate the user experience.

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Throughout this blog, we will demystify the intricacies of VAST error codes, shedding light on their meanings, potential causes, and, most importantly, practical solutions to resolve them. Whether you’re a seasoned professional navigating the complexities of ad tech or a newcomer looking to enhance your understanding, our aim is to empower you with insights that will prove invaluable in your quest for flawless video ad integration. Join us on this enlightening journey as we unravel the secrets behind VAST error codes, paving the way for a more seamless and effective video advertising experience.

Understanding VAST Errors: Why Ads Halt and Messages Fail

Video Ad Serving Template Errors, more commonly known as VAST Errors, act as potential roadblocks during the delivery of digital video ads, often preventing them from reaching their intended audience. These errors can manifest for a variety of reasons and are reported back when issues occur in the ad-serving process. In an ideal scenario, after the code is served for a video ad, the user should seamlessly encounter the intended advertisement. However, when a VAST error occurs, the issue is highlighted through a numerical code.

VAST errors play a critical role in determining whether a video ad will be successfully served or not. The reported errors fall into two main categories: ‘non-fatal’ and ‘fatal.’

1. Non-Fatal Errors

If the error falls into the ‘non-fatal’ category, the video player has the flexibility to continue playing the ad despite the reported issue. This means that although there might be an underlying problem, the ad can still be delivered to the user. Non-fatal errors are like cautionary signals, indicating a hiccup in the process but allowing the show to go on.

2. Fatal Errors

On the other hand, a ‘fatal’ error is more serious in nature. When the ad-serving process encounters a ‘fatal’ error, the video player faces a critical decision point. It may either request another ad to replace the failed attempt or, in more severe cases, abort the entire ad request. Fatal errors signify significant obstacles that may hinder the successful delivery of the intended message, prompting the system to take corrective actions to maintain a smooth user experience.

Understanding the distinction between these two categories of VAST errors is key to comprehending how video players respond to issues in the ad-serving workflow. In the following sections, we will explore common VAST error codes, dissecting their meanings and offering practical solutions to address each type, ensuring that your video ads not only play but do so without disruption, delivering the intended message to your target audience.

Common VAST Error Codes and Their Resolution (Fatal Errors)

The intricate web of Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) has become the backbone of video advertising, enabling the seamless delivery of content across diverse platforms. However, even in the well-designed VAST ecosystem, challenges can emerge in the form of fatal errors that interrupt the flow of video ads, impacting both advertisers and publishers. In this section, we’ll delve into several common VAST fatal errors and provide comprehensive resolutions for each, empowering you to navigate the complexities of video ad integration with confidence.

1. VAST Error 100 – XML Parsing Error

  • Cause: This error may surface due to incidents like invalid XML documents, distorted buyer’s responses, or a failed VAST URL redirect.
  • Resolution: Publishers should take immediate action by alerting the buyer. This proactive step allows the buyer to verify the XML file’s formatting and ensure it contains all the relevant attributes specified in the IAB VAST specification. By fostering collaboration in this way, publishers contribute to the swift resolution of XML parsing errors.

2. VAST Error 102 – Response Version Not Supported

  • Cause: This error rears its head when the video player fails to support the specified VAST version or when the exchange inadvertently sends the wrong version.
  • Resolution: To address this issue, advertisers must play a crucial role by informing the buyer promptly. This communication ensures that only VAST formats supported by the video player are sent, mitigating potential version-related compatibility challenges.

3. VAST Error 300 – Wrapper Error

  • Cause: A wrapper limit is reached, rendering the system unactionable.
  • Resolution: To resolve this, a thorough review of all VAST URIs (Unified Resource Identifiers) is necessary. It involves checking for timeouts to ensure that URIs remain reachable. Simultaneously, publishers need to be vigilant, ensuring that the wrapper limit is not exceeded, taking pre-emptive steps to prevent potential errors in the future.

4. VAST Error 301 – Redirect Timeout Reached

  • Cause: Timeout of the VAST URI, often linked to an unresponsive or faulty URI or network issues.
  • Resolution: Addressing this error requires a multi-faceted approach. Firstly, publishers should meticulously check the validity of VAST URIs, ensuring their reachability and correctness. Additionally, monitoring and improving internet connections, as well as resolving protocol issues like hosting on HTTP while serving on HTTPS, contribute to a comprehensive solution.

5. VAST Error 302 – Wrapper Limit Reached

  • Cause: This error manifests when the wrapper limit is exceeded, commonly due to daisy chaining or empty VAST responses.
  • Resolution: Publishers can take strategic steps to resolve this error by collaborating with SSPs or other publishers to increase the wrapper limit. Simultaneously, avoiding daisy chaining, a process involving passing ad calls from one network to another, is essential. Excessive redirects from daisy chaining may cause the video player to abort ad requests, leading to this error.

6. VAST Error 303 – Empty VAST Response Returned

  • Cause: This error occurs when an empty VAST response is received, a frequent happening in third-party wrappers.
  • Resolution: To tackle this error, publishers can proactively enable fallback in Google Ad Manager. This involves navigating to Admin >> Video >> Video Settings and enabling Video Fallback. This strategic move ensures a more robust response mechanism in cases where a third-party wrapper might return an empty VAST response.

7. VAST Error 402 – Unable to Download or Timeout of MediaFile URI

  • Cause: This error signifies a timeout occurring when a media file is problematic, often due to large file sizes or platform incompatibility.
  • Resolution: To resolve this error, publishers can explore several avenues. Firstly, they can enhance page load speed by optimizing website layouts, potentially through partnerships with ad networks such as AdPushup. Additionally, adjusting the video player’s timeout limit and optimizing bitrate for mobile serving contribute to a holistic solution.

Understanding and addressing these fatal VAST errors is not just a technical necessity but a strategic imperative. By implementing these resolutions, you pave the way for a more seamless video ad experience, ensuring optimal performance and user satisfaction in the ever-evolving landscape of digital advertising.

Bonus: General VPAID Error (Error 901) – Untangling the Web of Confusion

Error 901, commonly known as the General VPAID Error, is a frequent stumbling block that publishers encounter in the intricate realm of video advertising. This perplexing error, which can stem from various factors, often leaves publishers scratching their heads due to its multifaceted nature.

Potential Causes of Error 901

  1. Incorrect Usage of IMA Adapter Tag in Ad Exchange: When an IMA Adapter Tag in Ad Exchange is utilized with the IMA SDK, but a VPAID ad is returned instead, Error 901 manifests as a fatal error, disrupting the ad delivery process.
  2. VPAID Wrapper Timeout: The VPAID wrapper might face a timeout, leading to the occurrence of Error 901.
  3. VPAID Wrapper Not Buying Video Files: If the VPAID wrapper fails to purchase video files, it triggers Error 901, adding to the complexity of the troubleshooting process.

While these causes provide a glimpse into the potential culprits behind Error 901, it’s essential to acknowledge that the issues contributing to this error can extend beyond the listed scenarios.

Resolving Error 901

Publishers grappling with Error 901 can take proactive steps to resolve and prevent its recurrence. One crucial aspect is ensuring that the VPAID creatives used are universally supported across all devices and video players. A strategic approach to resolving this error involves leveraging Google Ad Manager for thorough checks and configurations.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to navigate Google Ad Manager to address and mitigate the impact of Error 901:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ad Manager account.
  2. Navigate to Video >> Video Creative Profiles >> New Video Creative Profile.
  3. Configure the video creative profile with the required criteria, including Name, Restrictions, Bitrate, and Resolution. [Note: Setting bitrate is optional, and under Restrictions, if VPAID is allowed, redundancy in bitrate settings can occur if a VPAID creative is served.]
  4. Click on Save.

By diligently following these steps, publishers can create a robust foundation for their VPAID creatives, ensuring compatibility across devices and video players. This proactive approach minimizes the risk of encountering Error 901, contributing to a more seamless and effective video advertising experience.

A Comprehensive List of VAST Error Codes: Decoding the Digital Dilemmas

In the intricate tapestry of video advertising, understanding the various VAST error codes is paramount for advertisers, publishers, and developers alike. These error codes serve as diagnostic signals, indicating potential hiccups in the delivery of video content. Below is a comprehensive list of VAST error codes, each with its unique identifier and a brief explanation:

List of VAST Error Codes

  1. VAST Error 100: General VAST error. This code signals that an error occurred during the ad response process.
  2. VAST Error 101: Unable to find the VAST document. This error indicates that the ad response did not contain a valid VAST document.
  3. VAST Error 102: Unable to parse VAST document. The VAST document provided is not well-formed or contains errors.
  4. VAST Error 200: Linear ad timeout. This code suggests that the linear ad exceeded the maximum duration allowed.
  5. VAST Error 201: Non-linear ad timeout. Similar to Error 200, this code applies to non-linear ads that surpass the maximum duration.
  6. VAST Error 202: Companion ad timeout. Companion ads associated with the linear creative have exceeded the allowed duration.
  7. VAST Error 203: Undefined conditional ad. This error arises when a conditional ad returns an undefined value.
  8. VAST Error 300: General wrapper error. This code indicates an error within a VAST wrapper.
  9. VAST Error 301: Timeout of VAST wrapper. The wrapper, which is designed to request one or more VAST ads, has exceeded the maximum time allowed.
  10. VAST Error 302: Wrapper limit reached. This error signals that a VAST wrapper reached its limit for the number of times it can be wrapped around other VAST documents.
  11. VAST Error 303: Empty VAST response. The VAST response from a wrapped ad is empty.
  12. VAST Error 400: General linear ad error. This code indicates a problem with the linear creative.
  13. VAST Error 401: Mezzanine file not found. The mezzanine file, a high-quality video file, could not be found.
  14. VAST Error 402: Unable to load linear file. The linear creative or file could not be loaded and played.
  15. VAST Error 403: Media player error. An error occurred in the media player during playback of the linear ad.

This list offers a snapshot of the diverse challenges that can arise within the VAST framework. In the subsequent sections of this blog, we will dissect some of these error codes, providing insights into their specific meanings and actionable steps to resolve them, empowering you to navigate the complex landscape of video advertising with confidence.

Creating a VAST Error Report in Google Ad Manager (GAM)

Google Ad Manager (GAM) provides a robust framework for advertisers and publishers to manage their digital ad inventory efficiently. When it comes to troubleshooting VAST errors, creating a comprehensive error report through GAM is a valuable step. Follow these seven steps to generate a detailed VAST Error Report:

Step 1: Navigate to the Reporting Tab

Begin by accessing the “Reporting” tab in your Google Ad Manager account. Click on “Report” and then select “New Report.”

Step 2: Configure Report Type and Date Range

Set up the type of report as “Historical” and specify the desired date range. This allows you to analyze historical data related to VAST errors.

Click on “Filters,” then choose “Request Type.” In the search field, type or select “Video Tag” and click “Apply.”

Step 3: Add Report Dimensions

Define the dimensions of your report to gain insights into specific aspects. Include:

  • Line item type for the creative serving a particular ad slot request.
  • Select the name of the line item.
  • Choose the name of the ad unit.

These dimensions help in narrowing down the scope of your report to identify the root causes of VAST errors.

Step 4: Select Metrics from the “Total” Section

Choose relevant metrics from the “Total” section to gauge the performance of your video ads. Include:

  • Total Code Served Count
  • Total Impressions
  • Third-Party Networks responded to an ad request

These metrics provide a comprehensive overview of the ad delivery process.

Step 5: Specify “Total Error Count” from Video Viewership

Navigate to the “Video Viewership” section and click on “Total Error Count.” This metric is crucial for understanding the frequency of errors affecting your video ad campaigns.

Step 6: Include All Error Codes from “Video Errors” Section

To capture a detailed breakdown of errors, select all error codes from the “Video Errors” section. This step helps in identifying specific issues encountered during ad delivery.

Step 7: Run Your VAST Error Report

Once you’ve configured all the parameters, click on the “Run” button to generate your VAST Error Report. Analyze the findings to pinpoint areas that require attention and optimization in your video ad setup.

By following these seven steps, you’ll be equipped with a comprehensive VAST Error Report in Google Ad Manager, allowing you to proactively address issues and enhance the overall performance of your video ad campaigns.

Best Practices for Publishers to Follow

Reference: “While publishers can individually do VAST troubleshooting for these errors whenever they occur, the best solution would be to make sure that these errors never occur. Here are some best practices that publishers can follow:

1. Collaborate for Continuous Improvement

  • Foster strong collaborations with your Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs), Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs), ad networks, and other partners. Regular communication and collaboration can contribute to consistently improving the performance of your VAST creatives.
  • Aim for an ideal scenario where VAST error codes become a rarity. By working closely with your partners, you can proactively address potential issues and ensure seamless ad serving, ultimately leading to increased revenue.

2. Identify and Resolve Persistent Issues

  • Actively engage with your partners to understand the root causes behind persistent VAST errors. By identifying and addressing these issues at the source, you can significantly reduce the occurrence of errors, enhancing the overall reliability of your video ad delivery.
  • Establish clear communication channels to promptly address any emerging issues and collaborate on effective solutions with your partners.

3. Preemptive Creative Scanning

  • Prioritize proactive measures by ensuring that DSPs thoroughly scan creatives before ad serving. This practice serves a dual purpose by benefiting both publishers and DSPs.
  • Preemptively scanning creatives helps identify and rectify potential error-causing issues before they impact the ad delivery process. This not only contributes to a smoother user experience but also helps maintain a positive relationship between publishers and DSPs.

By incorporating these best practices into your workflow, publishers can move beyond reactive troubleshooting and proactively work towards preventing common VAST errors. The collaborative efforts with partners and the implementation of preemptive measures contribute to a more robust and reliable video ad integration process, ultimately benefiting both publishers and advertisers alike.


Common Error Codes

In conclusion, navigating the landscape of VAST error codes is an essential undertaking for anyone involved in the intricate world of digital advertising. Understanding the meanings, causes, and resolutions of these codes is not merely a troubleshooting exercise but a strategic endeavor to ensure seamless video ad integration and elevate the user experience.

As we unraveled the mysteries behind common VAST error codes, we discovered that proactive measures and collaboration with partners are key to mitigating potential disruptions. Publishers, in particular, play a pivotal role in shaping the success of video ad campaigns by embracing best practices such as continuous improvement through collaboration, identifying and resolving persistent issues, and implementing preemptive creative scanning.

By fostering strong partnerships and maintaining open lines of communication with SSPs, DSPs, and ad networks, publishers can significantly reduce the occurrence of VAST errors. The goal is not only to troubleshoot issues when they arise but to prevent them from happening in the first place. This approach not only enhances the reliability of video ad delivery but also contributes to increased revenue and a more positive advertising ecosystem.

In a constantly evolving digital landscape, staying informed about the latest developments in VAST technology, remaining vigilant in addressing potential challenges, and adopting best practices are essential for advertisers, publishers, and developers alike. As we continue to decode the complexities of VAST, let us embrace a future where seamless video ad integration is not just a goal but a reality, providing users with engaging experiences while maximizing the effectiveness of digital advertising campaigns.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the common causes of VAST errors?

  • VAST errors can be triggered by various factors, including issues with ad creatives, network connectivity problems, and discrepancies in tracking and measurement. Identifying the specific cause requires a thorough analysis of error codes and collaboration with relevant partners.

2. How can publishers troubleshoot VAST errors when they occur?

  • Publishers can troubleshoot VAST errors by examining error codes and checking ad creatives for compliance. They can also collaborate with their SSPs, DSPs, and ad networks for the same. Comprehensive communication and problem-solving with partners are essential components of effective troubleshooting.

3. Why is collaboration with partners crucial in resolving VAST errors?

  • Collaborating with partners, including SSPs, DSPs, and ad networks, is crucial. It is because VAST errors often stem from issues outside the publisher’s direct control. Establishing open lines of communication and working together to address the root causes is essential. It can lead to quicker resolutions and improved ad performance.

4. What preemptive measures can publishers take to prevent VAST errors?

  • Publishers can take preemptive measures by collaborating with DSPs to scan creatives before ad serving. This practice helps identify and rectify potential issues in ad creatives before they cause errors during the delivery process, contributing to a smoother user experience.

5. How can advertisers ensure a positive user experience despite VAST errors?

  • Advertisers can contribute to a positive user experience by closely monitoring campaigns, promptly addressing any issues reported by publishers, and working collaboratively to resolve errors. Regular communication with publishers and a proactive approach to problem-solving can help maintain a seamless ad delivery process.

6. Are there industry standards or guidelines for VAST compliance?

  • Yes, there are industry standards and guidelines for VAST compliance. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) provides specifications and best practices for VAST to ensure uniformity and compatibility across the digital advertising ecosystem. Adhering to these standards helps mitigate potential errors and ensures a more consistent ad delivery experience.

These frequently asked questions offer insights into common concerns surrounding VAST errors, troubleshooting procedures, and the importance of collaboration in the digital advertising landscape. By addressing these queries, advertisers, publishers, and developers can gain a deeper understanding of VAST intricacies and enhance their ability to navigate and optimize video ad integration processes.