Moving from Flash to HTML5
As web users continue to increase their daily video consumption online, the underlining technology powering video is continuing to evolve as publishers are shifting from using Flash to instead adopting HTML5 for driving and delivering their video content on their digital properties.
HTML5 is the latest standard of HTML, and the first update of the standard since 1997 (HTML4). It features new elements, attributes, and behavior which create clear advantages for publishers seeking new, streamlined solutions for delivering video content. In contrast to previous versions of HTML, HTML5 supercharges websites, applications and video to be more powerful, cost-effective and faster loading on the internet.
For streaming video, HTML5 has begun to be supported by billions of mobile, desktop and connected devices across the world. For the world’s most visited sites (e.g., Facebook, NYTimes, YouTube, etc.) which feature video content, HTML5 has replaced Flash as their standard for delivering web and mobile video. In particular, Alphabet’s YouTube dropped Flash as the video standard back in January 2015, in addition to Chrome transitioning to HTML5 later in 2015.
Common Reasons to Switch to HTML5 for Video
The industry pivot from Adobe Flash to HTML5, the once go-to software designed to take files and display them in a browser or on a website to play content like GIFs, animations, and videos, is due to Flash having critical security vulnerabilities, system, browser instabilities, and lack of mobile support for its users.
For video, we are seeing publishers transitioning over to HTML5 most commonly for the following reasons:
- Improved Functionality
- Maximize the Full Use of APIs in HTML5
- Support from All Modern Web Browsers
- Coverage on Android and iOS
- Simplified Coding for Web Developers
Valuable Benefits Gained for Publishers
In clear contrast to Flash, by adopting HTML5 for video, publishers automatically experience massive benefits which eventually trickle down to improving the overall user experience as a result:
- Easy Implementation – For developers, HTML5 offers a much simpler coding experience due to the software’s add-ons and extras available. HTML5 is also much less expensive and more accessible for developers to begin using than Adobe Flash Professional CC.
- Less complexity – Ability to create a single player solution and experiences across desktop and mobile web
- Cost savings – By using advanced codecs, lower distribution and storage expenses
- Improved user experience – Shorter start times provide instant gratification for users on a website. This results in a much smoother and rich browser experience. Whereas Flash brought a cadre of security issues due to Adobe’s add-ons, HTML5 offers a much more stable and secure web experience.
- Longer video consumption – Faster video load times motivate more content viewing per session due to higher frame-rate transfer
- Reduced battery waste – User power consumption on mobile devices is significantly reduced while watching video on a mobile device
Next Steps – Moving Towards HTML5
We would be incorrect not to state that moving from Flash to HTML5 is not as simple as just modifying a few lines of code on your website. The transition to HTML5 involves many inter-connected decisions regarding your video-related specifications and set-up decisions that spans throughout all the layers of your digital technology stack. Here are a few pro-tips in order to set the agenda and your expectations correctly as you begin.
- Moving to HTML5 video can be a lengthy process so it’s a good idea to allocate enough resources and time to the change.
- Speak with browser vendors and check online industry forums to seek out verified solutions for handling the entire Flash to HTML5 migration.
- When moving from Flash to HTML5, a full inspection of your website will potentially uncover the less obvious elements that are still using Flash, your website logo, bookmarks, title metadata, and chapter markers.
- The move to HTML5 video will also affect advertisers as they will now need to submit HTML5 friendly creatives that will display on your video content. Be sure to inform them of the change and recommend creatives that will work on the new format.
- Converse with your web developers to ensure that the potential advertising requirements will work well with the new technology on the website.
Additionally, if you need any assistance during your HTML5 transition, whether you are a publisher or an advertiser, you are welcome to reach out to us and we will assist you in any manner that we can.
Brian Blondy is the Marketing Manager at Total Media. You can contact Brian by email at or on LinkedIn