As mobile advertising proliferates, more and more publishers are wanting to display video ads in addition to static display ads on their website. Running video ads is not that difficult but requires additional components to display the video. Understanding what is required to display them is necessary for integrating this ad unit type.

Static banner ads can be displayed on a mobile site via html or javascript, nothing else is required to render and display the ad other than adding the code directly to the page. To display a mobile video ad, a publisher needs to first have a video player installed on the page. The video player is typically installed via javascript and html inserted on the page, similar to what is done for banner, but the difference is the video player code is separate from the ad code provided by the advertiser or ad platform.

Many publishers think that they only need to signup to run mobile video ads and then add the code to their page and it will work, but the mobile video code provided by the advertiser is an ad tag URL (ie If this ad tag URL is placed directly in your code, the page will not know what to do with it, so in order to properly display the video ad, a video player must be installed on the page.

The video player will use the ad tag URL to call the ad server, and the ad server will respond with VAST XML, which contain information about how to display the video: such as the duration of it, where the video URL can be retrieved from and the different tracking pixels/beacons to fire when certain events (video starts, video complete, video is clicked on, etc.) in the video take place. A video player is required to be able to properly interpret the VAST XML and play the video.

There can be some exceptions to this if an advertiser delivers the video ad via a non VAST format, but that is typically a proprietary format and is not supported by most video players. For our discussion we are only focusing on playing video ads delivered via VAST XML.

There are many commercial (JW Player, Flash Player, etc.) and custom video players available that a publisher can obtain and install on their website in order to display mobile video ads. Many of the large commercial ones offer support for ads, but some do not so you need to confirm the features each supports and if there are costs for using the ad supported version. If a publisher chooses a custom player they should verify the features supported.

Video ads are increasing rapidly on mobile sites, and they typically offer a much higher CPM so they appeal to publishers. Adding mobile video ads to a site, is not difficult as long as you understand the process and have a video player in place to request and display them.