The Demise of Flash: Google’s New Ad Policy

Image courtesy of Monotype

Image courtesy of Monotype

The use of Flash has seen a decline for years, especially with the advent of HTML5 and with iPhone’s refusal to support Flash-built products. Google’s announcement that as of June 30, 2016, they will stop selling ad space for Flash-built ads might be Flash’s final death blow.

While we’ve seen this coming for a while, this still poses a problem for digital advertisers who use Flash for its easy plug-in functionality rather than writing several lines of HTML5 code to achieve rich content. (For those ad agencies and marketers who have already purchased Flash-built ads space on Google, those ads will continue to run until the end of the year. As of 2017, Google will be completely Flash-ad free.)

What does Google’s decision mean for designers and advertisers? Well, it means two things. Designers and advertisers, instead, will need to replace their dynamic Flash-built ads with a static image, or adopt an HTML5 code-heavy approach for dynamic ads.

The need for rich media content is extremely valuable to brands and marketing campaigns. In fact, according to a study from Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), rich media ads receive 29.5% more brand lift, has four time higher ad recall, three times higher interaction rate and five times longer gaze duration rate than static ads.

We recently discussed this issue with our friends at Monotype who pointed us to resources filled with savvy advice to pass on to designers who are needing help during this transition. The tips below focus on HTML5 knowledge and how to maintain consistency with brand standards with web fonts.

Image supplied by HTML5-logo.svg: W3Cderivative work: Patio (talk) - HTML5-logo.svg, CC BY 3.0,

Image supplied by HTML5-logo.svg: W3Cderivative work: Patio (talk) – HTML5-logo.svg, CC BY 3.0,

Digital Ads:  HTML5 Tips & Resources

  • The great thing about HTML5 coding is that your content will adjust to different screen sizes. However, the HTML5 ads will display differently in each browser and you will need to know how each browser will handle your code’s content. Test your HTML code with different browsers here.
  • Maintaining brand identity is crucial and doable with HTML5. Even though coding is an involved process, you tell the browser specifically which web fonts to use that upholds your branding strategy. In light of Google’s decision, Monotype recently expanded it’s Enterprise Licensing to make the brand conformity process easier to manage. This licensing now include web fonts in HTML5 digital advertising, which gives designers flexibility as it allows them to use the font in both the HTML5 digital ads and in printed publications.
Image courtesy of Monotype

Image courtesy of Monotype

  • Another killer point about web fonts: They use less bandwidth than SVG or rasterized images, which means they will quickly render on the screen.
  • When specifying your web fonts in the ad, don’t forget to list backup font options you would like the browser to use if your first choice doesn’t read in the browser. That way, the browser won’t automatically pick one for you that might not match your branding guidelines. Learn more about web typography in this HOWU course.
  • This webinar from Monotype discusses making the transition from Flash to HTML5. It’s super informative for those who are prone to using Flash and have limited knowledge of HTML 5.
  • IAB discusses more considerations about creating HTML5 Digital Ads, which you can find here.
  • The Rich Media Gallery site showcases tools that you can use to create HTML5 ads. This source is perfect for those new to HTML5 coding.