It’s arguable that the key factor in the downfall of Flash has been the meteoric rise of mobile video.
With UK consumers now spending nearly an hour with digital video every day, and half of that time on mobile, the quality of video experiences across devices has come to the fore. And so has awareness of the formats that are failing to pass muster, such as Flash.
Flash might once have been the top online media player, but its security issues, playback problems and capacity for draining battery power have long been frustrating for consumers and advertisers, especially on mobile. And that’s aside from the fact Flash isn’t supported by major mobile operating systems like iOS and Android. What’s more, Google also recently pulled support for the Flash Software Development Kit (SDK), suggesting a move to HTML5.
The reason behind the shift to HTML5 is clear: it’s simply a better tool for the interconnected age. The ability of HTML5 to build advertising content that can be instantly adapted to fit the dimensions of any screen — including mobile — makes it perfect for users accustomed to switching between devices, and the advertisers trying to engage them. With more versatile ads that work across screens, advertisers can enhance both campaign scale and impact.
So it is only logical that the IAB has made HTML5 a central element of its new Ad Portfolio and a key requirement for the video ad formats it contains. By stipulating that all ads in its slimmed down selection must be built in HTLM5 and capable of adjusting to aspect-ratio file sizes (as well as meeting its L.E.A.N principles), the IAB has set a more flexible template for digital advertising that will enhance ad quality and engagement. And with the addition of its video-specific updates, the IAB is set to transform the shape of mobile video ads too.
In addition to the Flash-based issues that will be solved by switching to HTML5, the standard will also address video file size. Videos currently require a substantial download size (usually at least 1.0MB), which can make a big dent in mobile data plans, as well as increasing battery usage. The new guidelines will minimise this data drainage via several measures: halting auto expansion, requiring user initiation for outstream video ads, , and ads are initially muted and pausable.
So, for consumers this will mean mobile video advertising experiences are characterised by lightweight, versatile content that adjusts to their screen preferences, rather than irrelevant and poorly adapted ads that absorb data, and inspire irritation.
Although adopting the portfolio will require a significant transition, it will be worth it. Mobile is the key driver of online ad spend in Europe and mobile video ad spend has already passed the £10 billion mark in the UK and if marketers want their swelling budgets to produce results, it will be vital to create higher quality ads.
Indeed, industry players have already taken steps to follow the example of smaller ‘snack-size’ video ads. Facebook, for instance, is testing short 15-second video ad formats for its Live broadcasts that only appear five minutes after streaming has started. At Sublime Skinz, we have also utilised innovative developments, such as the parallax effect, to ensure our M-SKINZ ads provide enticing yet unobtrusive experiences, as well as further enhancing our HTLM5 capability by acquiring Kpsule — a specialist in producing immersive rich media ads in any format.
Of course, the precise direction video advertising will take in the future is not yet known. But one thing we can be certain of is that it will involve HTML5 and more interactive, engaging ad types. And that means the time for brands to start adapting is now.