Tech Tuesday Feature: HTML 5 versus Flash in Display Advertising

This week’s Tech Tuesday blog features an opinion piece from Paul Scanlon, Interactive Designer/Rich Media Specialist at Super natural. What do …

This week’s Tech Tuesday blog features an opinion piece from Paul Scanlon, Interactive Designer/Rich Media Specialist at Super natural. What do you think? Please join the discussion and post your comments and thoughts below:

HTML 5 versus Flash in Display Advertising

After a lot of research, I’ve come to the conclusion that HTML is not a solution for display advertising. Yes, we will be able to serve our ads on non-Flash devices, but we may find ourselves in a situation where our ads end up on a browser that we hadn’t planned for.

Including mobile, there are over 200 browsers out there and all are likely to end up displaying images and copy and handling animations slightly differently, meaning we’d need to code up our ads 200 times to ensure they work the same on all browsers.

When we present this to clients they often ask, “Is there a way to ensure the ads display the same across all browsers?”

We answer …  “Yes, it’s called Flash.”

At this point, we usually find that our client’s interest in HTML display advertising drops. We don’t think that because of this the problem shouldn’t be addressed, so we’ve looked into the whys and hows, and come up with at least one small solution.

Safari and Chrome have both decided to use WebKit as their Layout Engine, and by ‘coincidence’ Android devices run Chrome and iOS devices run Safari. “Hooray!” we thought, “we can code our ads using WebKit and at least we’ll know for the most part iPhones and Android phones will display the ads the same. What we need at this point is some smart media ad buying / ad serving to ensure our ads only end up on the devices.”

We’ve had numerous discussions with DoubeClick, Flashtalking and Celtra about how this could be handled and, without giving away all of our secrets, we feel we’ve really got something that could work.

We’ll probably still need to make two sets of ads for our clients:

1. One set that will be Flash-based and will run on desktop devices, and

2. One set that will be HTML-based, specifically programmed using WebKit, and pure CSS transitions (potentially Greensocks’ new JS solution as well).

All we need now is for the big time ad people who speak to clients to stop reading Mashable and we might get somewhere…

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