The End of Flash (and What It Means for Advertisers)

By Dascha Bright  | 

Adobe’s “Flash” format has been an important component of the web for more than 20 years. The technology has long been used to display multimedia, including animations and graphics. For more than a decade, it’s been the single means of running rich audio and video content on the web.   Because of this, it has played an important role in advertising, with many advertisers relying on Flash to help create their online display and video campaigns.

But now, Flash is on its way out. Most major browsers like Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox recently chose to discontinue support for Flash due to security concerns over potential hacking vulnerabilities. The IAB advised all publishers, brands and agencies, in December 2016, to begin transitioning their video ads away from Flash and toward a new HTML5/Javascript standard by July of this year.

The change brings benefits for consumers. In addition to being less susceptible to hacking, HTML5 allows browsers to play videos with less power, which helps batteries last longer. Given the surge in video viewing on all devices, that is welcome news for many.

How should advertisers, publishers and agencies still utilizing Flash in their video campaigns respond to the changes? The good news for partners of Extreme Reach is that we do not plan to enforce a hard cut-off date for advertisers still using the technology. We are actively working with both publishers and media vendors to test the new HTML5 and Javascript VPAID tags as all parties work to transition their sites and video serving to the new format.

For anyone looking for additional information about how to manage the transition away from Flash, the IAB is a good resource. The organization has created checklists designed for both advertisers and publishers that help ensure compliance with HTML5 and Javascript.

The switch from Flash is already well underway. But for those industry participants who need additional support, there’s plenty of information and assistance available. Ultimately, the transition will result in a more secure, robust and efficient advertising ecosystem for advertisers, publishers, agencies and consumers.

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