Goodbye Flash, Hello HTML5: Warning Your Ads May Disappear

Google and Adobe had been trying to play nice with each other. Yes, trying is the key word there. With Google’s latest plans, they will ultimately push Flash into its grave when it comes to online advertising. If you’re not prepared, say RIP to your current creative mix.

As announced at the beginning of the month in the Google Chrome Blog, the browser settings will default to “intelligently pause content (like Flash animations) that are not central to the webpage” in an effort to reduce power consumption of the user’s laptop or mobile device. With that in place, Flash banners will stop playing after one or two seconds and an overlay with a play button will show instead. If the user is “still interested in the animation,” they can hit the play button.

Wow. How many people do you think will hit play button? Zero point zero?

The industry had been hesitant to switch over to HTML5 banner ads, but it’s now essentially a requirement if you want to prevent your ads from being paused in Chrome. While forced down our throats, this is good long-term news. HTML5 simply makes for a better user experience. Once creative teams are accustomed to HTML5, all should be back to normal.

Warning: We strongly recommended all banners in Q4 2015 are created in HTML5 and to swap out all existing flash banners that run past July/August.

The good news is Just Media’s main adserver, Flashtalking, has a very intuitive HTML5 ad builder with simple drag and drop functionality that will help with the adjustment. Let us know and we can help schedule training for creative partners in the coming weeks.

While we don’t love getting our hands forced, it’s time to say “Go HTML5!”

A Few Helpful Q&As:

Will we have to pay for a Flash impression that gets paused by Google after 2 seconds?

Yes. The ads will fully load and play for one or two seconds before the grey overlay stops them. The user then needs to hit the “play” button to proceed with the animation. You pay regardless.

Do we need to take action right now?

Yes and no. While we have a few weeks to adapt to this, we all need to get ahead of this and come August. Only HTML5 should run through our adserver.

Can we set our ad server to serve the backup image instead of the flash banner when served in Chrome browser?

Yes, we can set a decision tree to target Chrome browsers (with the jpeg or gif) and let the rest serve regular Flash and backup. This should be an exception, as it’s not foolproof. Ideally we move all banner ads to HTML5.

What do we think about the conversion tools available to change Flash into HTML5?

These are not recommended because they are only good with really simple files. It will inflate the “k weight” of the banner, which will result in higher ad serving costs and possible rejection by publishers.

Are there additional reporting features available?

No, reporting will be the same as for Flash.

Frauke Cast
Just Media, Inc.

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