Google to Stop Accepting Display Ads Based on Flash

By January 2017, display advertisements running on Google's ad services will be 100 percent HTML5, the company said.

Google display ads to be HTML5

Starting June 30, Google will stop accepting display advertisements that are built in Adobe Flash in favor of ads using the HTML5 standard.

Advertisers will no longer be able to upload ads based on Flash into Google's AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing ad platforms after that date. Only ads based on HTML5 will be accepted, the company said in a Google+ post this week.

The June deadline will be followed by another one on January 2, 2017, when display ads based on Flash will stop running entirely through DoubleClick or on the Google Display Network. "Google Display Network and DoubleClick Digital Marketing are now going 100% HTML5," the company noted.

The goal is to enhance the browsing experience for people on more devices. Video ads that use Flash will, however, remain unaffected by the change, at least for the moment.

Advertisers using Flash ads in AdWords campaigns have two ways to cut over to HTML5. They can create HTML5 ads using a rich media toolkit supplied by Google, or they can create HTML5 ads on their own and upload it to Google. The toolkit includes HTML5 templates that advertisers can use to create ads and an authoring tool for building ads for Google Display Network campaigns, the company noted on a help page designed to assist advertisers in getting their ads ready for the impending deadlines.

Google has spelled out its technical and policy requirements for advertisers that want to create their own HTML5 ads and load them to AdWords. It also has provided an additional validator service that lets advertisers test their ads to ensure they meet the company's requirements for HTML5 ads.

Google has been preparing advertisers for the transition to HTML5 for some time. The company began giving advertisers the ability to upload HTML5 ads built using its Web Designer authoring tool back in 2014. Since then, it has been urging advertisers to use HTML5 to ensure wider delivery of ads on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices that do not support Flash.

Google has long touted HTML5 as the way to go for advertisers seeking to deliver rich media ads on mobile devices. Though Flash has been the plug-in standard for animation, video and multimedia on the desktop, it has never been well-supported in mobile environments. Unlike HTML5, it also has required users to install a plug-in in order to work.

Flash's reputation for being incredibly buggy from a security standpoint has prompted numerous calls over the years for the technology to be scrapped.

Security researchers have discovered countless critical vulnerabilities in Flash in recent years and have blasted the technology for making products that embed it vulnerable as well.

The security flaws in Flash have made it one of the most popular targets for malware writers in recent years.

Even Adobe itself has committed to making HTML5 its standard for running rich media content in Web browsers. The company has said it wants developers to use HTML5 instead of Flash for animating content and for running video and multimedia in their apps. So far, though, it has not said when exactly it hopes to completely phase out Flash.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.