No Flash? No problem

Here's why engineers and designers shouldn't worry about Adobe's decision to no longer support flash when building mobile and table advertising campaigns.
Written by Todd Pasternack,, Contributor

Commentary - Adobe announced this week they will no longer be supporting Flash Player for browsers on mobile devices. Though disappointing for sure, it's not terribly surprising either as it never fulfilled its promise of seamless performance and usability. So should you be worried you won't be able to build and deliver rich, interactive mobile and tablet advertising campaigns now? My goodness, no.

It was almost bizarre to see the resurgence in this web standard after Flash had become the de facto format for digital advertising after 2002. But let's jump back to the year 2000 when PointRoll launched the first ever expandable, rich banner ad built for the theatrical release of Erin Brockovich (demo: http://tinyurl.com/7hbmppl). This was built using...You guessed it. HTML.

Though it was some basic functionality by today's standards with a rollover and a trailer, it still provided a new experience for consumers based on the web standard at the time.

Fast-forward to April 3, 2010. The iPad is released and PointRoll is serving four campaigns in applications that day. Highly interactive, extremely engaging with videos, galleries and things to swipe around the screen- all built with HTML5.

So what does the future hold for Flash? I imagine Flash eventually being used more as a creative tool than a delivery format. As Adobe continues to put more effort into exporting HTML5-ready assets from Flash Pro, it tells me the swf may be slowly dying for desktop, too. Tools like Adobe Edge and Sencha are quickly hitting the marketplace to provide designers an interface that will create experiences in a similar fashion to working within Flash Pro. Even content provider's video players are beginning to support HTML5 while members of the IAB are racing to add definitions to the VPAID standard to leverage JavaScript. And if ITV's and Gaming consoles eventually support the standard with an HTML5-supported browser environment, we'll see the final move away from Flash.

Whatever the outcome of the swf, connecting with consumers is still the end goal. And it should be comforting to know that there are marketing solutions companies, including PointRoll, that enable creativity and measurement in both formats to accommodate your needs.

Todd Pasternack is Senior Director of Creative Technology at PointRoll.

Editorial standards