Chrome Pauses Flash, But It Won’t Pause Ads!

on October 5, 2015

Is HTML5 the new standard in interactive marketing? Theorem’s creative lead, Manuel Moreta, discusses this highly controversial topic.

Google Chrome is pausing secondary web content or content that is not central to the web page in order to assist with battery consumption – basically this means they will pause Flash ads and if users want to see the content they will have to click to play them.

At the same time the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has said it will change its display creative voluntary guidelines that will make HTML5 the new standard in interactive marketing, which will undoubtedly steer agencies away from a move to Adobe’s Flash. Flash has been the de facto standard for banner ads for more than a decade. Adobe has supported the move and has apparently helped to draft the new guidelines. This comes as no surprise. Adobe has already positioned itself well. Its software suite already supports HTML5.

The switch to HTML5 is expected to happen within the next nine to 12 months, depending on the outcome of the public comment period for the IAB Display Creative Guidelines. Of course there are both political and technical bridges in this changeover to cross, but the IAB is working hard to nail down specs to make the transition as easy as possible.

At the same time, Google Chrome is now a very popular web browser. Around 50% of users are thought to use it right now. But users have been complaining that it has a negative impact on their notebook’s power consumption. Google has addressed this by taking a look at how Flash elements on web pages appear. Google has come up with a solution whereby Chrome will automatically pause ‘non-essential’ Flash content, whilst still playing other material users want to see.

Since this announcement Facebook’s chief security office Alex Stamos has called the death knell for Flash and Mozilla has blocked all Adobe Flash plugins from running with its Firefox browser. This means users of Firefox cannot use Flash by default. This follows a series of vulnerabilities found in Flash exposed by the Hacking Team compromise.

Stamos has called for an end to Flash and said a date needs to be set to kill off Flash, so the industry has time to plan a move away from the plugin.

The move towards HTML5 for the majority of Flash is the route of choice. In my view, HTML5 really is where you want to be right now. Why? Because I think we are moving to a place where everything we can do in Flash we can do in HTML5. People will start taking the time to rewrite tools and upgrades for HTML5. Sure it will take time to get this and the skill set in place, but it is happening – and the Chrome pause will speed this up.

A World without Flash?

Will Flash disappear? I would like to say yes, but even if it doesn’t, we should not let it hobble innovation.

Agencies should definitely be choosing HTML5 as their number one in tech terms right now, following the IAB’s announcement. It should be the first choice for multiplatform deployment of a digital asset. This may mean holding on to Flash as the default for the desktop as a safety measure for a limited time. But HTML5 is where it is at!

From an operational standpoint, working with one standard is going to make everything far easier. It will also free you from constraints in terms of display. Servicing one pack is the easiest and most economic route to take. We, for example, have been building HTML5 creatives in platforms such as DoubleClick Studio, Sizmek, Celtra, Aarki as well a custom requested units.

One wonders why so many advertises stick with a technology that has such flat mobile support. The truth is that it is familiar and some don’t like change. I’m not saying HTML5 is the holy grail here. Work will need to go into optimizing it for different devices and platforms and build time will take longer than with Flash. But from an ad point of view it will be more than capable of delivering great campaigns on more than one target device. At the same time we will have a more open and secure infrastructure across platforms. That has to be a good thing.

If you are looking for a one-pack, cross-platform unit, and at the same time follow both the market and the industry, HTML5 is the ace card to play.

Kara DegeorgisChrome Pauses Flash, But It Won’t Pause Ads!