By Collective September 1, 2015

Firefox recently announced that it will automatically block certain versions of Flash due to security concerns. This has resulted in issues with leveraging Flash for rich media in the online ad industry and has promoted many companies to create strong policies to protect their users and sites. (See linked articles below for more info).

To counteract the impending death of Flash, the IAB recently released an upgrade to the “IAB Display Creative Guidelines” for public comment, including major changes to key ad specs for the IAB Universal Ad Package and the IAB Display and Mobile Rising Stars. The revised guidelines focus on the shift to HTML5 and address issues such as file weights and packaging for optimal load performance when HTML5 is deployed.

As the industry continues to move away from Flash and embraces HTML5, it is important to remember the following in regards to working with creative assets:

  • Blocking browsers like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox is not a feasible option, as it will only temporarily bandage the larger issue of vulnerability in Flash. A mid-to long-term solution is a move to HTML5 or to have a static backup creative.
  • On Chrome, Flash ads will show, but will appear in a paused, greyed-out format.  Users will need to click on the ad to activate it, and then again to get to the site. Impressions will remain steady, but performance, including CTR, will likely suffer based on impact studies conducted by Google.
  • Flash ads continue to have significant security vulnerabilities. HTML5 will help prevent the vulnerabilities seen with Flash ads.

Read the full IAB Press Release
Download the Display Advertising Creative Format Guidelines

Good Reads on Flash

Firefox blocks Flash, and Facebook calls for its deathCNN Money
Flash. Must. Die – Wired
Mozilla says Flash is too dangerous to run automatically in Firefox – The Washington Post
Google to Freeze Flash Ads – MediaPost