Ramping up the pressure to move digital ads to HTML5

Scott Sphar

by Scott Sphar

The fate of Adobe Flash and move towards HTML5 has been a hot topic in the digital advertising and mobile technology space for years now. In April 2010, “Thoughts on Flash” sparked a heated and ongoing debate on the suitability of Flash for mobile, and in 2014 the IAB published an open letter to marketers calling on advertisers, publishers, and agencies to help end the fragmentation in mobile advertising and “make mobile work” by moving digital ad production from Flash to HTML5.

Since then, the migration of ad formats away from Flash has become more and more important as mobile adoption rates and ad revenues have continued to skyrocket. In the first half of 2015 we've seen the pressure really ramp up on a number of fronts. Big industry players aren’t waiting, and several of them have already taken significant action this year to help move the change along:







These are major developments, and separate from the recent security vulnerabilities that have been uncovered and exploited, the Chrome team cites better battery performance as a key factor in its decision to automatically pause “non-essential” Flash elements by default within the browser. The Google AdWords integration of Swiffy’s SWF to HTML conversion technology is another milestone that makes Flash less relevant, and at least within AdWords, helps remove part of one of the primary barriers to the industry’s move: scalable HTML5 ad production.


Scalable production for digital ads

The question of how to manage and implement a scalable process for digital ad production is something that we’ve seen our clients struggle with for years. It’s a problem we’ve looked to address with Drafthorse – a digital ad production platform which already supports HTML5 – and is something that is aggravated by the industry’s continued reliance on Flash.

The rise of programmatic and audience-driven ad buying strategies has made ad creation workflows even more topical and important for advertisers who face the production multipliers introduced by localization, retargeting, personalization, and optimization.

Although the wide adoption of dynamic creative optimization has thus far been slow, it presents another opportunity for savvy advertisers that either face an ad production challenge, or are moving towards programmatic and audience-based strategies. Working with our partner Advanse over the last few years, we’ve helped a number of clients take a quantum leap in their ad production and performance by streamlining and dramatically reducing the amount of time that goes into ad development, trafficking, and optimization.

We can’t stress the importance of this topic enough, and have a number of related questions to help you make sense of how things are changing, how it affects your digital marketing strategy, and what marketing technology solutions are out there  – so please watch this space for more on this and related topics!