With insights from Alia Samhat, Media Manager


HTML5 is continuing to gain ground versus Flash in display advertising.  Following Safari’s lead in 2014 (and Firefox asking users to opt-in to Flash each time they land on a page running Flash-built creative), Google Chrome will now pause Flash ads—in favor of HTML5—starting in September.  If you’re currently employing Flash rich media display campaigns, Google Chrome will, by default, pause them from playing.  This means that they won’t animate on impression; they’ll only animate once a user clicks.


Whether in search or display, Google is constantly evolving to provide better consumer experiences.  HTML5 promises better experiences as it’s faster, more mobile, more interactive and more dynamic than Flash.  Advertisers making the move to HTML5 in display will be able to create experiences that deliver more conversions at lower costs.

HTML5 has become the gold standard for interactive content. Advantages include:

  • Faster browsing speed and less power consumption (e.g. longer battery life) versus pages that contain plugin content like Flash ads
  • Interactivity features that enable richer ad creative
  • Mobile support (most mobile devices, including iOS devices, don’t support Flash). This is critical as mobile usage overtakes desktop.


Advertisers should run HTML5 units before this change takes place, as well as in preparation for the HTML5 future of rich, interactive digital ads and experiences.  HTML5 ad units can be created via template, from scratch or converted from Flash:

  1. Template: DoubleClick offers pre-made HTML5 rich media templates for free. Brands can select formats, upload creative assets, customize and publish.
  2. Scratch: Google Web Designer offers an HTML5 authoring tool for creative developers. This includes a design view and a code view.  DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM) also supports all other code libraries used by developers, as well as hand-coded HTML5.
  3. Convert: While some creative assets will still be built in Flash, DoubleClick Campaign Manager can convert them to HTML5 using the Flash-to-HTML5 feature. However, DoubleClick requires certain criteria for HTML5 file generation.

The fact alone that iOS devices don’t support Flash makes HTML5 display ad units critical to performance going forward.  With this update, Google is pushing laggards towards HTML5; as a result, consumers will receive better experiences and advertisers will realize more engagement.  With almost all browsers and devices supporting HTML5 as Flash fades, advertisers making the move early won’t miss a beat.

For more info on Flash-to-HTML5, please contact your performance account team today.

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