Zehnder Communications, Inc.

R.I.P. Adobe Flash. Here’s What it Means for Your Brand.

The world of online banner ads is experiencing a rebirth — or rather, a redesign. As popular web browsers and networks like Google, Mozilla, and Facebook put a ban on Flash, advertisers are moving away from this decades-old animation software and toward HTML5 (a technical markup language) instead.

It’s a high-tech transition that will have a direct impact on the success of your brand’s digital ads. Learn why.

Why are browsers blocking Flash content?
In short, Flash is no longer a secure technology for users. In June, Adobe identified more than 35 different vulnerabilities in the technology, three of which were extremely dangerous. Although Adobe and Google have taken steps to secure Flash over the past decade, the technology continues to fall victim to cyber attacks. As of July, Google and others have blocked Flash ad content to help protect their users (note that Apple said goodbye to Flash when it released the first iPhone in 2007).

This moment in digital history is a bittersweet one for sure. Interactive Creative Director Rob Hudak (who, ironically, once held the title Director of Flash Development) points out that Flash was a revolutionary resource in the 90s and early 2000s. “In its time, Flash was an amazing tool. It pushed the boundaries of what could be done on the web. Like many designers, I appreciate Flash for the things it’s done for me and for the Internet as a whole. Whether or not we actually use Flash in the future, I’m sure that its influence will live on forever,“ he says.

My brand is using Flash banner ads. What will happen to them?
Depending on your target audience, there’s a very likely chance that your dynamic digital ads will now appear as static images (or, even worse, not appear at all). This is especially true for Flash content on mobile devices. In a recent study, 98.6% of Flash impressions on mobile devices defaulted to a static image. In comparison, just 8.3% of HTML5 ads defaulted.

I want to get the most value out of my digital ads. Since Flash is fading as a useful option, what should I do now?
Although we’re sad to see Flash fade out, it’s an exciting time to try new technologies. Zehnder is taking steps to produce the majority of dynamic digital ads for our clients with HTML5 instead of Flash. By doing so, we’re ensuring that our clients’ digital ads remain secure and reach the largest amount of people possible.

Does HTML5 produce the same results as Flash in terms of quality?
Yes. Visually, the two produce content that is identical to the viewer. On the back end, you should note that HTML5 integrates more easily with Google Analytics — allowing you access to more in-depth data on ad performance.

What are the pros and cons of using HTML5 over Flash?
The most obvious advantage of designing digital ads with HTML5 is the guarantee that your ads will actually be displayed across browsers and devices. Additionally, you’ll know that your ads will be more secure for users and continue to be technologically relevant in the near future. Lastly, because HTML5 is a text-based language, you can easily tweak and update your digital ads in real-time (Flash ads are difficult to update due to security issues).

The (short-term) downside of using HTML5: it might require a little more time to develop each ad. HTML5 was officially released less than a year ago, so the industry is in the early stages of creating HTML5 support tools and resources. But if there’s any community that’s quick to embrace change, it’s the digital one — so you can bet that the industry will adapt quickly.

So, what should I do?
When it comes to digital ads, the future of Flash is pretty much over. It’s time to get your brand on board and start using HTML5 before it’s too late. Contact us to learn more about how this transition can maximize your digital ad campaign performance.

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