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IAB issues HTML5 guidelines amid ongoing Flash cull

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has revamped its display creative guidelines to “fully embrace” HTML5 as moves from online behemoths including Apple, Mozilla, and now Google accelerate the industry's move away from Adobe’s Flash.

While Flash has been the standard for quite some time, it has been criticized for a number of reasons including security issues. Flash is blocked by default on Mozilla’s Firefox, and Apple doesn’t allow it to run on iPhones or iPads.

Google’s Chrome has also recently made moves to block it through what it is calling intelligent pausing, where the browser will pause Flash content that it believes users are not actively engaging with. Many digital media industry observers claim that Flash is all but dead following such moves.

In addition, Flash's critics appear to have been vindicated last month when Yahoo was the victim of a ‘malvertising’ attack where hackers exploited a vulnerability in the software.

Meanwhile, IAB Tech Lab members including AOL, Celtra, and Pointroll have tested ad units under the new HTML5 standard, which will now be open for public comment before it becomes final.

Aaron Wood, director of production services and premium experiences at AOL Platforms, said: “As the industry develops, being nimble is increasingly important in technology. HTML5 is rapidly becoming the go-to for creating captivating ads that work across multiple screens.”

Adobe also supported the move. Sarah Hunt, senior product manager at Adobe, said updating the guidelines is “only the first step in the process of helping the industry transition into an HTML5 dominant landsape.”

“Expert advice and guidance is going to be necessary in order to allow HTML5 to live up to its promise of delivering rich, immersive digital advertising creative that is cost-effective and looks great on both desktop and mobile screens,” she said.

Marketers, advertisers, and others in the industry have until 18 September 2015 to weigh in IAB’s update. Afterwards, the IAB Display Guidelines Working Group will look at the comments and make any necessary revisions before rolling out the finalized version.

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