Summits Yellow

Chrome Blocks all Flash-based Ads

Tim Maytom

It has been a mainstay of the internet for the past 20 years, but another nail has been driven into the coffin of Adobe's Flash, with the news that Google's Chrome browser will block all ads using the technology from now on.

Flash has powered the vast majority of online banner and video ads for most of its existence, but Google has said the format increases page-load speeds and device battery consumption, leading to a general decrease in user experience.

Apple famously chose not to support Flash on its mobile devices due to performance concerns, leading to many problems with accessing some online content for the first few years of the iPhone's existence.

However, with the advent of HTML5 technology, many sites have switched from using Flash, making it increasingly obsolete. HTML5 provides similar functionality to Flash but is more efficient and works across a much wider range of devices.

Google has suggested HTML5 as an alternative for advertisers still using Flash. From now onwards, any Flash ads served within Chrome will be automatically paused, meaning users will have to click on them to activate the rich media content.

Google is offering tools to help marketers build new ads in HTML5 and convert existing ads from Flash, but with Chrome accounting for around 36 per cent of all Flash ads displayed in the first quarter of 2015, it means there are a large number of marketers who will need to make adjustments to their creative content.

"It was clear back in 2013 that the writing was on the wall for Flash," said Diaz Nesamoney, CEO and founder of ad tech firm Jivox. "We have been developing our HTML5 feature set ever since, delivering today a wealth of functionality that brands and agencies can use right away.

"My advice to brands and agencies worried about the 'flashpocalypse' is simple: run – don't walk – to your nearest HTML5-based ad platform and breathe a giant sigh of relief."