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What to Do With Your Flash Ads Inventory in an HTML5 World

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What to Do With Your Flash Ads Inventory in an HTML5 World
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What does that possibly have to do with Flash and HTML5 ads?

Within our analogy, let’s think about Adobe Flash. With Flash, the big catastrophic slip already happened in 2015. It’s no longer just a prediction. The rich media ad world has been shaken up.

Who Killed Flash?
The short answer is everybody.
Mr. Steve Jobs wrote an open letter. He wasn’t a fan. Flash suffered on the iOS platform. It was a no-go. (2010)
Mozilla disabled it for 24 hours over various concerns. But sent a big wave of Flash’s increasing unpopularity. (2015)
Google announces that Chrome will auto-pause Flash on laptops – as a move to conserve battery performance (2015)
Facebook indicates they will drop support (2015)
Amazon drops Flash ad support (2015)

Quantifying the Flash Ad Catastrophe
In terms of the “third world problems” generation, rich media ads with Flash have been around forever. In 2015, there were likely more than 5 Billion ad impressions that were blocked because the ads were created in Flash. And that was just mobile rich media ads alone.

When the Google Chrome team started auto-pausing Flash ads in 3rd and 4th quarters of 2015, they doubled the default rate of Flash ads. Flash ads are now next to useless for over 15% of their overall impressions. But mobile platforms are like a full extinction event for Flash. Over 98% of Flash ads will be rendered useless on smartphones.
Much Ado About Flash Ad Inventory

In the ecommerce world, imagine that you buy a huge amount of something you can’t sell. Maybe you bought a 1,000 units of David Hasselhoff t shirts wholesale.

You can’t put them into your premium retail shelf space and expect them to sell. If you want to move them, you’ll need to be creative. Either sell them at a discount, find a way to turn them into folk art on Etsy, or put them in storage until Mr. Hasselhoff makes a come back and wins an Academy Award. Then you’ll have a collectors item on your hands.
What Can Advertisers Do With All That Flash?
It might be all HTML5 bling now, but make it in the day it was Flash. And you know I’m up on my history – as demonstrated by my previous meme choices.

As an advertiser, if you have a bunch of flash based ads, you have two primary choices, and one less desirable third option:

Utilize those ads on an ad network with Flash to HTML5 conversion tools,
Do the conversion yourself using tools like Swiffy. It’s a Google Developer tool that lets you convert Flash to HTML5.
Find publisher that are taking direct ad placements that target desktop traffic and accept Flash.

The third strategy is the least valuable. And that’s because the trend of Flash being phased out is well underway. If you try it, make sure you confirm they have scripts that detect when Flash is disabled on the visitors’ browsers. In some cases, that’ll let you fall back to a static ad image instead.

Without the conversions you have to be aware of what you’re up against. Your advertising is running up against almost full annihilation on mobile platforms. Likewise, on the desktop or laptop browsers, you’re still up against a ~15%+ default rate.

If you’re not converting them, decommission them. Then move forward by creating your new rich media ads using HTML5 technology and tools.
How Can Publishes Take Advantage of the Last Remnants of Flash Ad Inventory?

Publishers targeting desktop users might want to do a flash sale (get it?). I’ve been waiting this whole time to slip that one in there. Bad dum tss. It was a pun!

The ad networks are dropping support for Flash. But you can still arrange to sell your ad inventory for flash ad campaigns. Consider going direct to advertisers, private ad exchanges, or other networks.

If you’re running ad video units, make sure that they support both HTML5 and Flash. That’ll let you make a seamless transition while picking up advertisers remaining flash ad inventory.
You Didn’t Need to See It Coming
At this point, it doesn’t matter if you saw it coming. The day of Flash are finally over. 2015 was the irrecoverable big slide. Flash ads are well beyond the point of no return.

Let us know if you were prepared. Are you already transitioning to HTML5, or still working with leftover Flash ad inventory? Please comment below to let us know.

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