I know there is 1,000's of articles around this already. Thought I would add my two cents worth and how each of us should be responding to the change.

So Google are releasing a new update to Google Chrome browser in the next couple months. The idea from Google was to put a stop to flash creative's in order to preserve the life of laptop batteries. 

For those who haven't heard, here is the article from Googles blog


In this article I will mention how this update will affect all parties in the advertising chain from Client, Agency and publisher. I will outline what publishers should be doing to prevent unhappy clients and wasting valuable impressions that don't get to see the full intended message. 

Lets start with the client. 



This is more relevevant to the direct clients without an Agecny. Some clients may not be particularly be aware of the technology updates and the new release of the new Chrome update. it is up to the Agency and Publishers to take control of informing them of the limitation and inforcing them to go down the HTML5 or animated gif path, anything but flash. I highly suggest HTML5. Why you ask? Think of it as a website. Nobody ever designs a full page websites with an Jpg or gif. It creates too much load and weight to the page. Same for display ads. The more you break it down into individal elements, the better it will be for the page load time and total weight. 

From a clients perspective. You should be reaching out to your publisher and seeing what methods they are taking to support the chrome update.

You have a couple options here.

Design an animated gif with a bang. I am not talking your old school fast animated designs. Something simple and subtle that gets your Call to action (CTA) across.

Make sure its within 7 seconds. Thats the standard attention span of a human.  

The other option I would highly suggest is using tools such as Adobe Edge or Google Web Designer (GWD) to create an animated HTML5 ad. 

Some things you will need to keep in mind. 

  • Adding in publishers or third party vendor's click tag. 
  • Creating the ad to the publisher specs. Standard IAB specs are not released for HTML5 yet. You will have to reach out to your publisher for confirmation. Most publishers by now should have increased there spec limit as HTML5 creatives chew up alot more KB's. 
  • Just make sure the publisher specs are in line with Mobile and Desktop. The last thing you want to do is build an ad for desktop and realise the media plan says Devices as well. You will have to build 2 seperate creatives if they have different specifications for Devices and Desktop. 
  • Who will host the files? Not all publishers will support loading HTML5 ads. So you will need to consider if you will need to load the CSS, JS and images on your server or if the publisher can support it. 



Here I will suggest some options for both Media Agency and Creative Agency. 

If you are a creative agency please ensure your Creative Agency is HTML5 trained and are in full HTML5 support. You don't want to be taking your clients money and serving them broken flash ads to 40% of the audience do you? So lets all start to aim to HTML5. 

Please be upfront with your publisher, communicate with them. If you are intending to update creative from flash to HTML5. You will need to let them know and ensure they are compliant to run on there network. They may have a test plan or a schedule in place you will need to adhere too. 

I will be posting another article shortly on how to load click tags for Sizmek and other ad servers using Adobe Edge or Google Web Designer (GWD). Watch this space. 



So publishers should be proactively reaching out to there clients/Agency's informing them of the Chrome update and the impact the update will have on the creative if they intend to continue to serve flash creative's. It's up to you to convince them they need to change. 

First step as a publisher is to get certified with the major vendors, Sizmek and Doubleclick. You will need to get certified for the below formats.

  • HTML5 Standard Banner
  • HTML5 Polite Rich Media Banner


You should have a test plan in place, with deadlines of when the client will need to supply creative to you. You don't want to wait for the update to happen then you get the mad influx of clients wanting to update there creative. It should be thoroughly tested before going live. 

For example. You should be aiming for a creative deadline 30 days prior to the Chrome release. If clients are looking at supplying HTML5 creative before that. Then they need to supply 10 working days prior to going live. 

This will give you enough time to impliment, pre live test and post live test and to sort out any issues with your dev team or Agency.

You need to consider HTML5 ads are going to be more problematic due to the complexity of the ad and all its working files such as JS, CSS etc. You will need to ensure you QA the file size and the functionality of the ad. Read my previous post  The best approach to QAing html5 ads.

I suggest in requesting the client/Agenct to send you test tags for the intended creative first, run your tests and organise a day when the agency is going to switch them over and ensure your campaign manager is availabel to test on site. No matter how much pre live testing you do, you may find some unforseen issues once it hits the live environment.  

Also as a publisher you will need to consider the clients that don't have the budget and time to update creative to HTML5.

The solution I suggest here in order to prevent the default Chrome overlay. 

In your ad server you should be able to load some browser detection scripts.
For example. Any one with the new Chrome update 44. Automatically loads the back up gif instead of the ugly Chrome overlay. This should not affect campagn managers/traffickers workflow

Anyone that has the old versoion <44. Continue to load flash as per normal. Please use the contact form if you would like me to share the code with you. 

As mentioned above. I will be posting an article on how to impliment Clicktags for HTML5 creative soon. 



Chrome users are quite high between 40-50% depending on the publisher. Check your Chrome % here

Users will need to engage with the ad in order for the flash animation to play. Performance of the campaign will be affected.  

Here is an example of how flash creative's will be served on the News website. You may be lucky enough to get some branding on the ad. That is dependent on the page load and the animation legth. 
If your animation has a few seconds of empty frames you will be left with no branding a blank ad. 

html update chrome


Here is some interesting stats for you. 

  • On average people spend 2:57 per day on their phones. That is roughly 20% of your waking hours.
  • Nearly 70% of all global mobile ads are static jpgs.
  • Flash ads with JPG fallback ads have an average interaction rate of 0.6%. HTML5 ads have an average interaction rate of 1.8%
  • 23% of all Flash ads wind up serving default images
  • 90% of all marketers said their top priority is achieving one-to-one personalization
  • 25% of mobile video ads experienced long buffer times
  • 40% were impacted by low resolution
  • Average person has a 7 sec attention span (goldfish 8 sec)


Feel free to share your thoughts on what preventitive measures your taking in the comments below. 



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