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Google to start blocking Flash from today [@SmartInsights Alert]

By Robert Allen 01 Sep, 2015
Essential
Internet Advertising

Google Chrome will pause all ads using Adobe’s Flash whilst Amazon will ban flash ads outright

Importance: (for Digital Advertisers)

Recommended link: Google's announcement of change from September 2015

As of today Google’s chrome web browser will not play ads created using Adobe flash and will automatically pause them so they don’t disrupt Chrome users' browsing experience. Google have framed this in terms of improving browser speed and battery life. Other Flash interactions or animations you are using on your site shouldn't be affected, as explained at the end of this alert.

This is significant for advertisers since according to a report from the mobile ad management firm Sizmek, Flash was the most popular format for digital display ads as recently as Q1 2015. Advertisers tried to deliver more than 5.35 billion Flash ads in Q1 2015, compared to 4.25 billion HTML 5 ads. Flash ads will still appear on Google chrome, but users will have to click them in order to play them, rather than have them play automatically.

Chrome

Amazon has gone a step further than Google and outright banned advertisers from submitting flash ads to its site, they have timed the implementation of this ban to be on the same day (September 1st) as Google Chrome will be auto-pausing Flash ads. According to amazon, they are banning flash ads to ensure that "customers continue to have a positive, consistent experience on Amazon."

Does this my display ads are going to be less effective?

Because a sizeable majority of online advertisements use flash, you may think this announcement from Google is bad news for digital advertisers, but it doesn’t have to be. Google has introduced tools to let you convert your Flash ads into HTML 5, so their display won’t be affected. Adwords will also now automatically convert Flash into HTML when it is uploaded by default. If you want to continue to use Flash you can, but you have to opt to do so. Google also has a number of tools that let you create HTML ads easily, so you don’t have to rely on flash. And if that wasn’t enough, Google will now let you upload HTML 5 ads directly into AdWords. If you need to know more about how to convert your Flash ads into HTML 5 Google has put together a useful post to provide you with the information you need on how to do so.

This means it is easy to avoid being penalised by this change by Google, you just have to be ready to convert your ads into HTML 5- which won’t be hard if you follow Google’s advice.

Does this affect other Flash content on my site?

It shouldn't in theory... According to the original announcement when this was introduced as an option in Chrome:

"don't worry, the primary plugin content on pages (games, videos, etc.) should still run just fine...'

Still, if you use Flash visuals or interactions on your own site it's worth checking that they still run OK.

Image credit: Stephen Shankland

By Robert Allen

I was the Editor of Smart Insights between 2015-2017. I managed the blog and you will find blog articles on a range of subjects- Marketing Technology trends and latest tech developments are a regular focus, as well as exploring key marketing concepts. You can get in touch with me on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn. The new Editor is Carolanne Mangles.

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