Advertisers should love smartphone proliferation.

Being able to funnel brand storytelling into a portable computer that most people keep within 5 feet of themselves at all times seems amazing. And with US smartphone penetration having exceeded 50%, we’re now living in a multi-screen majority. The time is ripe for really connecting with users via interactive rich media on their most personal devices.

But one of the chief problems with smartphone proliferation for advertisers is a reliance on Flash. When Flash ads are served to environments that don’t support it—which is most devices—the result is a broken ad experience.

However, to handle the new mobile world order advertisers are moving toward developing ads with HTML5.

Why is HTML5 replacing Flash?

Multi-screen creative

HTML5 offers a platform for designing interactive, device-agnostic creative. These ads aren’t only for mobile. They can run on modern web browsers as well.

Scalable Vector Graphic (SVG) support

SVG graphics are supported with HTML5. These mathematically-drawn graphics can scale indefinitely to high-resolution without increasing file size. Read more about SVG.

Improved readability of text

Using HTML text and fonts rather than baking text directly into images offers significantly improved clarity. Given the smaller screen sizes on mobile devices, clear text is crucial.

Access to the best mobile features

Through HTML5s integrations with JS APIs like Geolocation, advertisers can incorporate incredibly powerful features into their ads. Mobile-specific CTAs like Tap to Call, Show Nearby Stores (on a map), Add to Calendar, or Set Reminder offer the kinds of interaction functionality that advertisers dream of.

Responsive ads

While the market for responsive ad creative is still maturing, HTML5 allows for the possibility of ads that resize and adapt to new layouts depending on the size or orientation of the viewing area.


The benefits of using HTML5 for rich media are clear, but many advertising professionals who have been working with Flash may have no or limited knowledge of HTML5. Those accustomed to working with Flash may find HTML5 to be more code-heavy or requiring refreshing skills they don’t have time for.

However, a few design tools are emerging to assist in HTML5 ad design to overcome the cost of the shift. With the right tools in hand, designers can build ads for HTML5 environments without missing a beat.