Transitioning Video Ads from Flash to HTML5

Over the last few months, almost all of the major browser vendors have been announcing plans to restrict the use of Flash, and replacing it with HTML5 as the default media playback option. Some of the changes announced have a direct impact on Video Ads and will require the video advertising community to move from Flash to HTML5/JS based technologies. However, this transition will not be simple as it is ridden with technical as well as operational/logistical challenges.

The IAB Tech Lab has been working with the members of the Digital Video Technical Working Group to determine the best approach for publishers and agencies to orchestrate this transition. The working group has put out the following guidance:

  • References to Flash in all IAB technical standards and guidelines (including VAST, VPAID, OpenRTB, Ad format guidelines) should be considered as “deprecated” as of January 2017.
  • Considering the complexity of the transition, publishers and agencies should take steps immediately to move away from Flash and plan the transition over the course of the next six months. The goal is the complete elimination of Flash Video Ads by July 2017.
  • We also have complied two checklists – one for publishers and one for agencies – that will help with the Technical and Operational details of the transition. The checklists include suggestions around shifting the balance of inventory from Flash to HTML5, the various technical components that need to be updated, and communication best practices.

Documents to Download:

In addition, the IAB Tech Lab will be releasing tools such as a VAST Validator and a JS VPAID tester by January 2017, in order to help with the transition.

Please contact html5video@iabtechlab.com if you need more information.


Developed by the Digital Video Technical Standards Working Group


IAB Tech Lab Contact

Amit Shetty
Senior Director, Video & Audio Products
amit@iabtechlab.com