There have always been tensions between “creative” and “media,” but as the two areas of advertising practice evolve from analogue to digital formats, the issues have expanded well beyond the roles of human practitioners to the machines they use. A great example of this is what some people are calling the impending “Flash Apocalypse,” a problem that is occurring by upgrades to the major Web browsers that will essentially disallow any Flash-based ads. Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox are already blocking them and Google’s Chrome is introducing “intelligent pausing,” which effectively does the same thing. The solution is a relatively simple one: convert or reformat display ads via HTML5. Many big ad agencies, brand marketers and their technology stack providers have already upgraded, but surprisingly, many still have not. That’s ironic to me and points to a disconnect between media buyers and their creative counterparts that could render many display ads invisible to the users they’re supposed to be served to. At a time when Madison Avenue seems consumed by external forces like bots and malware ripping off billions of viewable impressions, this is an example where the ad industry’s own legacies are ripping themselves off.
Coincidentally, the IAB Technology Laboratory issued new “display creative guidelines” for public comment. Not surprisingly, they are 100% HTML5.“HTML5 is the way forward, and that has become clearer and clearer,” IAB Senior Vice President, Technology and Ad Operations Scott Cunningham said in a statement announcing the new specs. Cunningham, who is also general manager of the IAB Tech Lab, noted the new guidelines are intended to be a “step up the ladder to conversion.” Read them here and give your comments to the the lab when you can.