The Online Ads are A-Changin’

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Sayonara Flash!  With Chrome and Firefox disabling Flash, the IAB has asked everyone to switch to HTML5 ads.  What does this mean?  It means the whole online advertising ecosystem will be rapidly changing.  Here is our estimation of what to watch for, but we recommend that all our clients keep an eye out on how this will impact them specifically.

Desktop video advertising is on the move from Flash to JavaScript.  Currently the majority of video advertising is delivered via Flash which enables code to run on the client device and allows for third party tracking, verification, and delivery of the advertisement.  This client side code is what allows Real-Time Bidding (RTB) markets to work.  If Flash is disabled, then the current advertisement can’t be delivered which means lower fill rates and less revenue to the publishers.

Although alternatives to Flash-based advertising have been around since the IAB formalized VPAID in 2009, it feels like it is really going to happen now as Google and the other browsers have called it quits on Flash.  Flash will be replaced with JavaScript/HTML5-based advertising.  Rather than use Flash to execute the client side code, the code (JavaScript) will be delivered from the ad technology company and the player will be responsible for loading that JavaScript code in a browser which will then handle the third party tracking, verification, viewability and delivery of the video advertising.

The implementation concerns are as follows:

  • Player Platforms:  The vast majority of players are not ready for JavaScript ads yet.  They have been built to use Flash and need to be rebuilt and re-deployed to work with both Flash and JavaScript.  This will take time.   We spoke with our partner JWPlayer and they reported that this is a high priority and they should have something available in mid-September – early October.  Additionally, if you are using a player that does not fail over to HTML5 playback, not only will your ads not work, but your content won’t either.  Switching to a player platform that works with HTML5 video will be top priority.
  • Ad Networks:  Ad networks need to update their platforms to support JavaScript advertising and the new security modifications that JavaScript introduces that Flash ignores (see CORS).  The big networks we work with all seem to have options in place at the time of this writing.
  • Ads: The creatives and the companies that deliver the ads need to retool from Flash to HTML5. Creating interactive ads is very different in HTML5 than it is in Flash.  New skillsets and development tools are required which will take some time.  Ad delivery will also require updates to support the security requirements that JavaScript introduces. Please note: IVA’s trailer content has been HTML5 compatible since 2008.

This is very fresh news to the industry and we are sure that more will be coming to light in the next few weeks.  Here are some helpful links:

IVA is bringing a new product to market in September to help you manage all your video ad serving.  Let us know if you would like to get a first look at this new technology that will grow your fill rates from ad networks and RTBs, as well as give you powerful analytics on your user’s ad experience in real-time.

Contact for more information about this exciting new product launch.

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