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Digital Media

HTML 5: Death to Flash


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by: Kathleen Doyle and Michael English

While we’ve heard rumblings in the industry about the demise of Flash for some time, it has become a reality only recently. Here’s a quick history of the rocky relationship between the Internet and Flash. Back in 2007, Apple chose not to allow a Flash player plugin on the iPhone, and in 2010, Steve Jobs called for Adobe to “kill Flash.” The writing was on the wall.

In early July of this year, another security issue was detected with Flash player plugins. In response, both Chrome and Firefox browsers announced they would no longer have automatic animation on any Flash files as of September 1, and would become click-to-play. This adds one more click in the process of digital advertising—and we know how hard it can be to get that first click.

What will I do without Flash files?

First, stop calling all animations Flash, and second, build animated files in HTML5.

What is HTML5?

HTML5 is the core technology markup language of the Internet.

Why is HTML5 better?

HTML5 gives the user the same experience across all devices, including mobile. Advertisers would have to create only one ad per unit size to use across all ad networks and exchanges. HTML5 also enables advertisers to create responsive ads that resize or adjust content based on screen size, giving the user the most optimal experience on each device.

How will it affect me as an advertiser?

Evaluate your brand’s digital assets. Are any elements on your website Flash? Are you running banner ads that are Flash? If you have Flash animated assets, it’s time to get them updated. Yes, it will cost money—but it beats having your consumer viewing a grey box.

Do I have to update my Flash assets? 

No, but why wouldn’t you? You can run the Flash assets on your website, but visitors using Chrome and Firefox won’t see them. You’ll be wasting an opportunity for a positive user experience, which plays a key role in search engine algorithms.

As for banner ads, you can seek out the few vendors that are willing to accept Flash files—but they are becoming scarce. Most ad networks and exchanges have announced deadlines after which they will no longer accept Flash files. The IAB has just released new guidelines for Display Creative with an “overhaul that fully embraces HTML5 technology,” laying the foundation for an HTML5 dominance. It’s getting harder and harder to find a vendor willing or able to provide inventory for Flash files.

Can AB&C help me convert existing Flash assets?

Absolutely! AB&C’s digital media and interactive departments have been working together to seamlessly transition animated assets to HTML5. We can create files from scratch or recreate Flash files in HTML5. And we’ve already successfully tested HTML5 files with many of our ad networks for compatibility.


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