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HTML5 vs. Flash: A Head-to-Head Battle

February 1, 2016

HTML5 is being hailed as the future of online advertising. There are sound reasons for this as HTML5 version is taking online ads to a new level, allowing them to run faster and be more responsive. There are a few advantages to Flash-based ads though. Below is a head-to-head comparison of HTML5 and Flash, so you can decide for yourself if the trend towards HTML5 is truly leading the way in online advertising.



Size: HTML5 ads are larger in file size than Flash based ads. This is because HTML5 ads include the back up images, click tags/codes and other elements. Flash ads sizing, however, is based on the creative size only. Because of this, HTML5 ads are around 100Kb larger.


Cost: Constructing Flash ads can be costly. You have to create a Flash ad for every possible size placement. Once you create an HTML5 ad, the ad is responsive to all possible sizes. 


Convenience: Unlike Flash, which requires a dedicated plug-in, HTML5 can render multimedia content easily without plugins or player applications. However, the downside to this is that some older browsers do not support HTML5.


Picture Clarity: Flash has greater image clarity, as it can offer sub-pixel support. This results in crisper images. HTML5 can lead to inconsistency and unreliability in display.

Mobile Support: HTML5 offers better support for mobile sites. Flash is PC-based only, giving HTML5 a large advantage over Flash as we move into an era of mobile web accessibility. HTML5 offers much better cross device support.

Development Resources:  Flash has a large resource pool and even larger community, whereas HTML5 is still a fairly new technology with a building community and some still prevalent inconsistencies and support issues.


Parent Company: Flash is not an open standard; it is controlled by ADOBE systems. HTML5 is largely controlled by the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) managed by – MOZILLA, OPERA SOFTWARE and APPLE.


Optimization: Flash provides automatic optimization and compiles everything into a single compact file. HTML5 currently offers no optimization. However, HTML5 ads can be packaged and delivered optimally as long as special attention is paid to their packaging.


Usability: HTML5 requires considerably lower processing power than Flash. This is partly due to more people using mobile devices. 

Semantic Elements: In HTML5 semantic elements follow the HTML language use of the semantic/meaning of the information in webpages and web applications. This is an improvement of the use of non-semantic elements i.e. <div>, <span>, etc. to define web presentation. This results in faster processing. Flash does not provide this level of semantic functionality, and so does not benefit from the resulting performance improvements.


There's Always a But...

Moving from Flash to HTML 5 comes with lots of advantages, however, there are still harmful scenarios that could occur on the publisher’s site, disrupt the user experience and cause users to leave. GeoEdge has built notifications to monitor and identify if any of your HTML5 ads are in breach of scenarios like Z-index range misalignment, or exceeding expansion dimensions, ad call requests or creative file sizes.


Publishers will be able to view and understand the lifecycle of the HTML5 ad, including all of its specs, such as the creative file size breakdown. Publishers can also view the entire delivery path, pre-click and post-click, and determine the direct demand partner who initiated delivery. For more information of how GeoEdge ad security and verification solutions can protect your site or app, click here. 






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