Google will stop running display ads in the Adobe Flash format on the Google Display Network or through DoubleClick in favor of HTML5, and has published two deadlines that affect advertisers using its services.
The search engine will stop the ability to upload display ads built in Flash into AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing as soon as July 2016, and stop running display ads in the Adobe Flash format on the Google Display Network or through DoubleClick as of January 2017, in favor of HTML5.
The decision sends a loud-and-clear message that developers and marketers using Flash ads in their AdWords campaigns must switch to HTML 5. Google says the move protects consumers against being infected with malware from injected ads as well as the reputation of brands, and speeds search services that help them to return results more quickly.
Google’s latest change also dictates that mobile-friendly sites will gain an edge in search rankings, but the warning does not include video ads at this time. New video standards are slowly replacing Flash with HTML5-supported codecs.
Adobe Flash accounted for 6% of mobile and Web video in 2015. With Google dropping support for Flash-based ads, some industry experts predict the format will disappear as early as December 2017.
One year ago, Google Chrome and Firefox served up more than 100 million Flash ads daily, estimates the Interactive Advertising Bureau U.K. "The mobile environment prevents 32% of all Flash ads from ever being seen, with static backup ads running instead," per the IAB U.K. "This issue has resulted in 5.35 billion rich media ad impressions being wasted on mobile devices in the first quarter of 2015 alone."
On Tuesday, Adobe patched 22 critical security updates affecting the Flash Player plugin on Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Explorer 11, Linux, as well as other browsers and all desktop operating systems.