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HTML5 is here and it’s the end for Flash

August 13, 2015

The advertising world is abuzz! Google will be making changes to the way users see & interact with ads on Google Chrome – one of the most prominent and widely used browsers in Canada.

Google is pushing the industry to HTML5 and away from the older, dated Flash. Let’s face it, the majority of the web changed to HTML5 back in 2011 when Adobe cut out responsive design support; however, advertisers held onto Flash technology like vice grips.

Kicking off in September, the newly defaulted Chrome Plugin Power Saver or Chrome Flash Pause will grey out any Flash banners within the browser. This means users will need to hit the play arrow on the ad to see the content – which is likely not to happen. And yes, these greyed out ads will still be considered an impression for any ad campaign. Currently, ad development is split 50/50 between Flash & HTML5 for digital campaigns.

What does this mean?

As with many changes, there will be challenges and rewards, but we are committed to work with our creative and publisher partners to ensure a smooth transition for our clients. Changes to HTML5 demonstrate the shift in technology and consumer attitudes & behaviours. Flash banners are becoming wallpaper, eat up battery juice and provide a poor user experience.

How does this impact my advertising campaign?

This Google Chrome update will go live in September, so advertisers and creative agencies will need to skill up in HTML5 development. Currently, only 63% of creative agencies have limited experience in HTML5 ads for mobile, 35% for desktop and 61% for tablet.

As the industry adjusts to HTML5, from both a creative agency and publisher stand point, creative agencies may need to develop two sets of ad creative for each campaign – HTML5 and static. If the site is not HTML5 compatible, the static image will be served in its place.

How does HTML5 change the way we advertise?

Mobile & tablet sales and usage continue to explode and ad developers need a universal platform for content that works across all devices. This is HTML5.

HTML5 is the upcoming star for digital content / advertising and has become a top choice for advertisers and web developers due to its flexibility in comparison to Flash. The benefit? HTML5 can be supported on any device and browser from iOS systems to PCs. This technology truly aligns the cross-device concept – beautiful, interact creative with flawless user experiences no matter the device. HTML5 is better for battery life on all devices as it uses less power to generate the content of the ad.

Why did advertisers continue to use Flash?

Advertisers continued to use Flash as it’s a well-known tool with libraries upon libraries of tools & frameworks for creating content quickly. File size is also an issue with HTML5 – Flash can squeeze more content in the file versus HTML5. The way we look at it, HTML5 is like creating a mini-website and can take longer to produce with larger file sizes (minimum 100kb versus a Flash file of 40kb). However, the benefit of the additional time (roughly 30% more) pays off with the creative usability.

The transition to HTML5 is another step in the direction of great marketing – consumers care about meaningful, relevant content as part of their online journey and making their device battery life last longer.