Media Migration to HTML5

Since its inaugural launch as a working draft in 2008, HTML5 has been a hot topic among web enthusiasts. Designed to provide rich content on web applications and digital advertisements without the need for additional plug-ins, this latest version of HTML has signalled the beginning of a shift towards a new industry standard in building creative.

Since its inaugural launch as a working draft in 2008, HTML5 has been a hot topic among web enthusiasts. Designed to provide rich content on web applications and digital advertisements without the need for additional plug-ins, this latest version of HTML has signalled the beginning of a shift towards a new industry standard in building creative.

It offers custom fonts, gradients, audio and video capabilities and the ability to run across platforms including desktops, tablets and smartphones. By providing a new alternative for web and banner design, it’s increasingly encroaching on the long established realm of Flash. This has sparked debate within the digital community, and whether or not HTML5 will truly overtake Flash continues to be contested by evangelists of each language.

While this debate is easy to find with a quick Google, a point less considered and one which deserves more attention is the implications that the movement towards HTML5 as an industry standard will have for brands and the online ads they want to produce.

The increasing industry-wide adoption of HTML5, which has been further encouraged by the IAB, means new opportunities for advertisers and more and more media clients are keen to explore and exploit these before the competition. In anticipation of this swelling demand for HTML5, Equator has been quick to invest in training and resource to fulfil the flourishing demand for HMTL5 ads while continuing to cater for the enduring need for Flash.

While this ambidexterity keeps options open for clients, there is mounting enthusiasm by in-house designers in favour of HTML5. One Equator designer says, “HTML5 is the future. Young designers aren’t learning Flash because it’s dying and not a good investment. New talent is interested in working with HTML5.” Reasons for this interest include the sleek and interactive creative which can harness video, expandable content, audio as well as other engagement features to provide a more compelling user experience. Recent research by the IAB has identified HTML5 as a principle tool in producing more appealing and interactive ads.

Another trend fuelling demand for HTML5 ads is the growing significance of mobile. With mobile now a key means of consumer internet activity and demand for mobile-friendly creative on the rise, HTML5 provides a universal platform for providing a smooth user experience across browsers and devices, including iPhones and iPads which do not support Flash.

This transcendence across multi-screens combined with the interactive features enabled by HTML5 may be more exciting and engaging to consumers and generate higher click-through rates. The mobile metrics tracked and analysed by Equator also offer clients insights into the value of mobile as part of a media strategy.

Of course it must be acknowledged that HTML5 is not obstacle free. The fundamental challenge is that many media publishers simply aren’t fully ready to support HTML5 - they are comfortable using Flash banners which for so long have been the de facto industry standard and are still testing the water when it comes to HTML5. So despite the new opportunities for creating digital ads, HTML5 still has some way to go to ubiquity. But at Equator there’s certainly zeal for HTML5 which is shared by designers, marketers and clients alike and in our usual geeky manner, we’ll continue to explore the many new opportunities presented by HTML5.

By Emma Burnett-Blair, Digital Media and Affiliates coordinator @ Equator