Google has sounded the death knell for Flash-based ads after announcing that it will drop support for the multimedia and software platform in favour of HTML5 by 2nd January 2017. The 11-month transition period is aimed to give advertisers enough time to prepare for the switch.
Adobe’s Flash Player accounted for just 6 per cent of web and mobile video last year, and Google has already blocked Flash ads from its internet browser Chrome and video sharing site YouTube, while Facebook has already done the same for its videos.
The ad giant has also given advertisers notice that they will not be able to upload Flash ads to DoubleClick and AdWords from 30th June this year, so those building ads in Flash will have just under five months to use the Google Display Network.
Google’s latest clampdown on Flash ads is the final note to urge advertisers to abandon the vector, which is infamously insecure and often used by third-parties that distribute malware and stage other cybersecurity attacks using advertising networks. Only yesterday, Adobe released a patch to plug 22 critical flaws in the Flash Player plugin for every browser across the Windows, OSX and Linux desktop operating systems. Adobe said there had not been any attacks, but exploits are likely to show up during the coming months.
Mozilla has also attempted to ban Flash from Firefox, but it has since reneged on that plan after declaring that the plugin is central to the web experience for the majority of users. Google has confirmed that video ads built in Flash won’t be affected by the change.
Flash has been in decline during the last few years, and a recent report has predicted that it could be dead by 2018, though Google’s latest announcement is likely to hasten abandonment rates.
Google has provided free tools to convert any Flash ads to HTML5 since 2014, and began the process of converting them automatically last year in order to help advertisers targeting smartphones that do not support the platform, which was formerly known as Shockwave Flash and Macromedia Flash.