It looks like Flash is coming to the iPad after all. Mobile ad network Greystripe is bringing its technology that allows Flash-based ads to run on the iPhone to the iPad, starting in May. Like the iPhone, the forthcoming Apple tablet won't support Flash, much to the consternation of digital advertisers and publishers that widely use the Adobe platform to power rich media ads, animation and video.
But Greystripe's iFlash solution provides a workaround that transforms ads built with Flash into a format that can be read by the portable Apple devices. The technology promises to let advertisers run the same Flash creative across the PC-based Web, iPhone and iPad without modifications.
"We're committed to making it easy for advertisers to achieve results in mobile by removing barriers to execution and offering the engaging power of Flash-authored creatives on the iPhone and iPad," said Greystripe CEO Michael Chang in a statement. HP, Burger King, Axe, and LeapFrog are among the brands currently using the iFlash formats for ads running mobile games and applications on the iPhone.
The company's secret sauce for extending Flash to the iPhone has helped the startup raise about $18 million in venture funding to date from investors including Disney's Steamboat Ventures and NBC Universal's Peacock Equity Fund.
Now it's counting on iFlash to give it an edge in delivering rich media ads on the iPad, which hits stores on Saturday. Since the Apple tablet was first unveiled in January, other mobile ad networks such as JumpTap and Mobclix have announced plans for new ad formats tailored to the iPad. And Apple in early January acquired its own mobile ad network, Quattro Wireless. How exactly Quattro will tie into the new device's ecosystem is not yet clear.
But Apple is believed to be preparing a new, personalized mobile ad system for the iPad dubbed the "iAd" that is built on top of Quattro and set to be formally unveiled on April 7, four days after the device ships.
Some large media companies are turning to HTML5, the Flash alternative favored by Apple, to adapt content to the iPad. Brightcove Monday announced that it would support the next-generation HTML format to power video on the iPad, with The New York Times and Time on board as initial customers.
For its part, Greystripe says ads using its iFlash technology generate click-throughs averaging well above 1%. It also boasts other campaign metrics that are superior to typical online display results, including brand lift of 10.4% compared to 2% online, and ad awareness of 23.3% versus 3% online.