Thinking Google Ads? HTML5 Is a Bigger Priority than You Think

Author: Johnny Chappell
Posted: Jun 10, 2016

Topics: Digital Media

Undoubtedly you haven’t been able to avoid all the buzz surrounding the HTML5 discussion (thanks Google). At VI we thought we'd take the opportunity to throw our unique perspective out into the world. This discussion is highly nuanced and can at times become extremely technical, so we are going to attempt to keep this simple and informative while still bringing something new to the table.


So, let’s get started shall we?

So what?
Google’s move to have Chrome auto-pause flash ads was such an important step because of Chrome’s prevalence in the market with a roughly 46% share. Additionally, Firefox blocks Flash ads as well and they held a 12% share, meaning nearly 72% of all web browsers would no longer be automatically playing flash ads in the United States. This number increased to more than 50% outside the United States.

Why does it matter?
The reason for all of this is better user experience. The main benefit to creating HTML5 ads is their ability to run full animation on mobile devices. As digital media consumption continues to shift more and more to mobile, it is important that the creative campaigns being created deliver the same message seamlessly to all users regardless of where they consume the message.

eMarketer estimated people spent 24% of their media consumption time on mobile devices in 2015, and they anticipate that number to climb to nearly 28% by 2019. In addition, we are seeing current client websites receiving between 40% and 65% of their traffic coming from mobile devices.

Since HTML5 is an open web standard, it does not have the same security vulnerabilities that have plagued Flash over the years. This allows for a better user experience as additional plugins are no longer necessary allowing pages to load faster and security concerns to be less of an issue.

How does this affect my workflow?

HTML5 is an open web standard, meaning designers are basically building mini websites each time they create an HTML5 ad. Additionally, the tools used to create HTML5 ads are still in their infancy, and haven’t been around long enough to have nearly as many features as Adobe’s Flash product that has been around for more than 20 years. The most widely used product for creating HTML5 ads, Google Web Designer, is still in beta, and therefore is still working through lots of bugs. As these programs mature, and designers gain more robust tools within these existing HTML5 animation editors, the time it takes to build these ads will surely decline.

Okay, but why now?

June 2015: Google announces that its Chrome web browser will begin auto-pausing flash ads on September 1. They cited increased site load times as well as increased battery life for laptop computers as the reasons for this move.

July 2015: Mozilla announces its Firefox browser will immediately start blocking flash ads citing security concerns. Amazon also comes out saying it will no longer accept flash ads on

September 2015: Google releases a statement that beginning June 30, 2016 flash ads will no longer be accepted in AdWords or in DoubleClick Digital Marketing. Compatible flash ads begin being automatically converted to HTML5 in DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM).

June 30, 2016: Flash ads can no longer be uploaded into DCM or AdWords. Existing flash ads and auto-converted HTML5 creative assets can still run as usual.

January 2, 2017: Display ads built in flash will no longer run across the Google suite of products. Files that were auto-converted to HTML5 will still run as usual.

In Summary:

We pride ourselves at VI in doing whatever is necessary to provide the very best for our clients. The switch to HTML5 is no different, and will definitely position us ahead of the curve - ensuring the least amount of waste possible while this shift is taking place. The end result is a better brand experience for clients across all devices which will surely result in better brand recognition and affinity, and will lead to more efficient and effective marketing spends.

We can’t control this. But we can stay on top of it for the benefit of our clients.

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