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How HTML5 Ads are changing the game

Published by Papa Whale Webmaster

HTML5 Ads have a leg up on classic banner ads and outdated Flash files - but how can you use them to their full potential? Find out all about what HTML5 is, what benefits it brings to the table, and how you can use it to your advantage.

What are HTML5 ads?

HTML5 ads were first introduced by Google back in 2016 as an alternative to Flash elements, which had been all the rage since 1996. 

Even though Flash revolutionized, in a sense, the landscape of digital advertising, it had one fatal flaw: it simply wasn’t adapted for the rapid rise of cross-platform web usage, especially as mobile devices gained in popularity. 

When Google announced at the end of 2016 that its browser would block Flash elements altogether, this was the nail in Flash’s coffin. Since then, HTML5 ads have established themselves as the new standard. But what are they, exactly? And how can you use them to your benefit?

The basics of HTML5

In its simplest terms, HTML5 allows you to create responsive, adaptive advertising campaigns featuring animated, interactive content. This means great-looking ads across any device, OS, or browser.

HTML5 ads are based on HTML5 code (duh!) and include an array of different files: usually image files, video files, and a .html source file. Because yes, HTML5 derives from HTML, which is simply a markup language used by browsers to display various content.

When HTML5 was created, it allowed web developers to write animation, including video and audio, directly into the source code of the page. This eliminated the need for plugins, which is exactly what Flash was. 

This is only one of the pros of HTML5 ads – here are a few more!

The benefits of HTML5

We’ve hinted at a few of them earlier on, but here is a more comprehensive list of some of the advantages of using HTML5 for your advertising campaigns: 

HTML5 is cross-device compatible, which means that it allows you to use a countless number of ad formats interactively, even with touch screen interaction. This freedom offers flexibility in your campaigns like never before.

HTML5 requires no plugins to embed videos.

HTML5 is very light, allowing you, for example, to display a video in an ad that could be as light as 3kb.

HTML5 improves viewability & memorability by showing interactive ads that can be set with autoplay and full-screen capabilities if desired.

HTML5 is ideal and optimized for dynamic content. It allows for more attractive ads that live within a page and are more subtle to the eye while also attracting high click rates. 

Are you sold yet?

If you’re unsure where to get started or how to truly use HTML5 ads to your benefit, here are a few tips that might help you out.

Using HTML5 ads to your advantage

Remember banner ads and the challenges that come along with this more traditional approach to digital advertising? 

HTML5 ads have been a breath of fresh air when it comes to this more classic strategy, notably by bringing forth a more than noticeable increase in click-through rates. How noticeable? Well, according to a 2014 study from Adform, HTML5 ads brought on a click rate 267% higher than static banner ads – and that was seven years ago! Imagine what rate we’ve reached today. 

Here are three tips to make your HTML ads stand out and bring you the best possible traffic.

1. Make it fun and interactive 

One of the best ways to make your ad less product-oriented and more organic is to include elements that make it more interactive for the user. Ads that include a quick, easy game or elements that users can click on or interact with are a great way to catch their attention – and retain it. 

It can also give you the chance to “disguise” your product and present it instead as a “prize” to be won after the user clicks through a couple of steps. This way, your offer comes as a fun surprise at the end. And everyone loves having a little fun, especially when it comes to ads, which are ever so present these days.

2. Immersion over intrusion

The use of code in HTML5 ads has one significant benefit: the possibility to make the ad as expansive as someone could dream of. Think of your HTML ad as its own mini webpage. In our blog post on banner ads, we discussed making your ad blend in with its surroundings: this applies to HTML ads as well, except that with this more interactive concept, you can take it a step further. 

Think of your ad as a world hiding behind a swipe of a cursor. Allow the user to click on their own rather than tricking them into it, simply by giving them a quick taste of the amazing product or offer you’re advertising. 

Keeping your ad from being intrusive is possible. It’s all about keeping an eye on this delicate balance. Putting our tips to good use can help you achieve that. 

3. Don’t stay static 

Last but not least: bring animation to your product or offer! This obviously is a tip that can’t be applied the same way to all ads, but it’s worth giving it a try if you’re able to consider it. 

If your product or offer involves an action or movement, HTML5 ads are the perfect way to give your user a preview of what awaits them should they click on your call-to-action

Use HTML’s accessible animation properties to put your product in motion and catch the user’s eye without falling into the tiresome repetition of GIF files that can bother your traffic. It will keep your ad concise and won’t annoy the user by playing on a loop. 

This is only one suggestion of how you could use HTML5 to its full potential, but really, the options are vast, and it’s up to you to determine what works best for the offer you’re trying to advertise. 

Tools to help you

Google has some additional details on the ad creation process and a design tool for anyone to explore, with easy steps to follow to get started.

You can also do a quick search online and discover various platforms that will allow you to easily create your own HTML banner, even if you’re not a coding pro. 

Now go forth and rock your user’s world with HTML5 ads!

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