Media Container Targeting

Media Container Targeting is now available in SpringServe if you have turned on the Media Container Targeting beta feature. With this feature, clients now have the ability to exclude demand sources from eligible supply based on a specific attribute of the media file in the VAST response, namely the properties of the media container.

What is a media container?

MPEG-4 Part 14 or MP4 is a digital multimedia container format most commonly used to store video and audio, but it can also be used to store other data such as subtitles and still images. Like most modern container formats, it allows streaming over the Internet. The only filename extension for MPEG-4 Part 14 files as defined by the specification is .mp4. MPEG-4 Part 14 (formally ISO/IEC 14496-14:2003) is a standard specified as a part of MPEG-4. More information about Media Containers can be found here.

Why is media container targeting important?

Given that the media container is a combined digital multimedia format, it’s entirely possible that some TV’s may not be able to play both the container formats but may just be able to play one or the other. Some Samsung TV’s have been known to have trouble playing the MPEG-42 format and thus, this feature will help them block creatives that would otherwise be rendered unplayable on such TV’s.

Media Container Targeting in the UI

Once this feature has been enabled for your account by your Account Manager, you will find a new section on the targeting tab of applicable Supply and Demand Tags called Media Container Targeting. This is a targeting sub-section in the MediaFiles targeting section. This feature works on all Managed and Connected Supply & Demand Tags with the following exceptions:

  • It is not eligible on any Managed vpaid enabled Supply tags

  • On Connected Supply, not eligible for Mobile-Web, In-App and Desktop Environments.

This feature is highlighted in the screenshot below with the default selections for this targeting parameter.

Details of Media Container Targeting in the UI

The default selection for Media Container Targeting is All, and when Custom is selected, there are three checkboxes available to users, namely:

  • MPEG-41

  • MPEG-42

  • A checkbox to Block Unknown Media Containers.

Based on the selections made by users, Media Files with the checked media container types will pass this targeting check. 

Based on the selections made in the screenshot above, we will allow only media files with MPEG-41 media containers to go through.

Media Container Targeting in the Ad Server

It is important to note a few things about how this is handled in SpringServe's AdServer. The first thing to note is that because both Supply and Demand Tags are eligible for Media File Targeting, if Media File Targeting is applied to both Supply and Demand Tags, then this targeting is applied on each applicable tag in each applicable link of the call chain. Secondly, because of the way the VAST spec works, the Media Container Targeting attribute is applied a bit differently to the VAST responses. As a rule of thumb:

  • If a VAST Response from a Demand Source fails the Media Container Targeting checks, then we remove individual Media files from the VAST response before sending it to the video player.

It is critical to note that media container details are not displayed in the VAST Response anywhere and these are settings that SpringServe’s proprietary Creative Scanning tool has automatically detected for this media file.

Media Container Targeting Reporting & VAST Error Codes

Additionally, if users want to use reporting to troubleshoot errors in reporting, you can run a Vast Error Code Report with the appropriate supply and demand tags as filters and find error metrics specific to Media Container Targeting, namely:

  • 1657: Targeting Block for Media Containers.

SpringServe’s Creative Scanning Tool

For this targeting feature to be eligible for your account, its is important to note that we need to add the creatives seen in the VAST responses on the supply of your account to our creative scanning tool. Once we start scanning these creatives, we are able to detect certain attributes of the creative like the average audio volume, media container, etc and pass this information to the AdServer for targeting purposes. It is critical to note that our tool can’t scan vpaids and thus if these are seen in your VAST responses, these will be treated as unknown by us.

How Does SpringServe Detect Media Containers

SpringServe uses an open source library that displays the most relevant technical and tag data for audio and video files. Each Media file has a codec associated with it and when our scanning tool scans a media file, it gets the information associated with the codec and then we check for the metadata by inserting this codec information in the open source library. The output of this process is the classification of a media container type for each media file that can be scanned by our scanning tool.