HTML5 Ads—the Burgeoning Power in the Ad Industry

Online advertisements, whether you like it or not, have existed since the internet came into being. Traditionally in the internet industry, ads were mainly created with Flash animation or video; however, as HTML5 rises like a shining star, HTML5 ads are becoming a burgeoning market. So in 2012, we are going to see more ads transform from Flash to HTML5, especially in mobile platforms.

HTML5 Ads—the Burgeoning Power in the Ad Industry

Why HTML5 Ads?

Choosing the right tools for a project means using the simplest tool with the lowest cost that meets all your needs--something HTML5 is capable of doing. Ads, whether animation or video, can be played by HTML5 canvas and video tags; theoretically, it means ads could be created for the web without plug-ins (like Flash or Silverlight), which is the simplest way.

HTML5 Ads

HTML5 ads will not be just animated banners (GIF) or static, but totally interactive pages including advanced functions such as games, quizzes, simulations and etc. The trans-platform capability enables HTML5 ads to be compatible with PC, mobile, tablet as long as the browser supports HTML5. It saves on the cost of development.

The Current Situation:

On PC platform, most of ads are Flash animation or Flash video; according to Adobe’s statistics, 99% of internet-based PCs have installed Adobe Flash Player.

The Current Situation

Meanwhile, a change also happened. With more HTML5 support by browsers, more than 60% of web users are ready for HTML5. We have witnessed the huge growth of HTML5 apps in the last year, the HTML5 ad will also flourish along with the growth. Although IE is not compatible with HTML5 before version 9, we will see great changes in IE10.

Statistics

While Flash is still the dominant tool for ads on PC, HTML5 ads are undergoing a rapid growth.

The situation is totally different on mobile platforms; ads are experiencing a Flash-to-HTML5 conversion. Because of the poor performance, Adobe has abandoned Flash Player on mobile platforms, which leaves no competition for HTML5. Apple and Google are the two titans on mobile platforms; the former one, as we all know, closed the door to Flash on their products; the latter one supports both on Android. So HTML5 is quickly popularizing on mobile and tablet platforms, and becoming the important factor that changes the mobile ad rule.

In terms of cross-browser compatible animation, video technology and ad patterns, HTML5 is the No.1 choice. Previously, in the case of published ad campaigns on mobile apps or websites; there was the major issue of device technology fragmentation to overcome.

Even when limiting the campaign to the latest smart phones, there are various screen sizes, a handful of operating systems, dozens of browser versions, and hundreds of device models that the ad units will have to be displayed on; now, HTML5 enables ad publishers to create richer ads that can be served on different mobile sites and apps regardless of iOS or Android. According to the statistics from Google Doubleclick, the click rate of rich media is 5 times higher than other ad forms.

More importantly, HTML5 makes track impressions possible on mobile platforms; this method is called client side counting. Ask any mobile ad publisher, he will tell you how important it is. It helps agencies to plan, create and track mobile ad campaigns through user’s interactive time, interest degree and etc; those statistics are helpful to know the brand preference and purchase motivation.

For a rapidly growing category of media tablets and app phones, developers have turned to HTML5 for its easy distribution, great graphical abilities and flexible audio/video features.

Challenges and Restrictions:

Let us take a look at some of the possible challenges and restrictions that need to be worked on before HTML5 ads can be possible.

Challenges and Restrictions

Ad networks don't fully support HTML5 yet

Google IMA for HTML5 allows developers to request and track VAST (Video Ad Serving Template) ads in an HTML5 video environment with certain limitations based on device compatibility. YuMe HTML5 support is in progress. It is supported in the JW Player’s HTML5 mode through the YuMe plugin. The other networks are implementing HTML5 support with different degrees of progress.

WebM or H.264

HTML5 video ads must be encoded into 2 formats: WebM for Firefox and H.264 for other browsers. An appropriate format should be selected to display. This is difficult to implement in an ad scenario, especially if ad networks don’t account for the user’s browser when generating an ad response.

Crossdomain issues

An additional technical concern is that loading external assets (a VAST XML response from an ad server, for example) brings with it certain restrictions in JavaScript. These restrictions need to be worked around on the server hosting those assets.

Future Guess

HTML5 ads are a new and rising submarket; we are going to see a rapid growth of HTML5 ads in the upcoming years; meanwhile, more ad publishers will transform from Flash ads to HTML5 ads, or take care of the both; with the help of modern tools like SWF Decompiler or SWF convertor, it is not difficult to adapt the changes. Although most of the discussions have been about apps and websites in the last year, we can predict HTML5 will also bring remarkable changes to advertisements in the next year.

What are your thoughts on HTML5 Ads? Share your views with us.