IAB Says HTML5 Is New Standard, Adobe Agrees

Adobe Says HTML5 Is A Core Part Of Its Business

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The Interactive Advertising Bureau says HTML5 is the future.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau says HTML5 is the future. Credit: IAB

In a move that is sure to change the digital advertising landscape, the Interactive Advertising Bureau laid out an overhaul to its display creative guidelines Monday that will make HTML5 the new standard in interactive marketing, further encouraging agencies to move away from Adobe's Flash.

Adobe supported the move and helped update the voluntary guidelines – which are intended to create a unified and scalable digital advertising industry – along with other members like AOL, Google and Yahoo.

"Markets take time to migrate and I think a company like Adobe, who have held the previous de facto market standards, have redefined themselves," Scott Cunningham, general manager of the IAB Tech Lab, told Ad Age. "Adobe's software suite already has support for HTML5 ... You also have different companies that have emerged with a different de facto standard, but I think Adobe has positioned itself very well, especially at the IAB Tech Lab."

The switch to HTML5 should occur within the next nine to 12 months, but for now, the IAB Display Creative Guidelines will be open for public comment until Sept. 18, 2015, allowing those in the industry to chime in about what they think should be tweaked or changed, Mr. Cunningham said.

Adobe Senior Product Manager Sarah Hunt said HTML5 will provide "an exciting new playground for ad publishers to distribute content."

"Updating the IAB Display Creative Guidelines is only the first step in the process of helping the industry transition into an HTML5 dominant landscape," said Hunt, who also co-chairs on the IAB HTML5 for digital advertising guidance working group. "Expert advice and guidance is going to be necessary in order to allow HTML5 to live up to its promise of delivering rich, immersive digital advertising creative that is cost-effective and looks great on both desktop and mobile screens."

Flash software is used to make and display interactive online ads. While it has been the unofficial standard for years, its security vulnerabilities have been widely criticized.

In late July, Yahoo fell victim to a "malvertising" attack through an Adobe Flash software exploit. Yahoo issued a statement earlier this month, stating that the attack "was grossly misrepresented in initial media reports."

Still, popular browsers like Firefox temporarily blocked Flash by default following the attack on Yahoo and Apple's smartphones and tablets don't support it.

Aaron Wood, director of production services and premium experiences at AOL, applauded the move. "The industry is no longer relying on a single, proprietary application for creative that requires a browser plugin to run for consumers."

"The conversation has definitely shifted from 'should' to 'when' and HTML5 is the clear alternative," Mr. Wood said. The added trend of more video content players moving to HTML probably means that by 2017, we'll have very strong adoption of the technology."

The revised guidelines include major changes to key specs for the IAB Universal Ad Package and IAB Display and Mobile Rising Stars, which address issues such as file weights and packaging for optimal load performance when HTLM5 is deployed. Other ad units, rich-media guidance and the display creative glossary of terminology have been reworked as well.

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