September 19, 2013, 2:13 PM

How to keep mobile ads flashy without using Flash

A high-end fashion brand converts Flash ads to HTML5 for select mobile devices.

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High-end fashion brand Hermès likes to woo shoppers with rich, animated, Flash-based ads showcasing its luxury apparel and accessories. Eye-catching ads are important for a brand that sells shoes that can easily run a consumer $1,000 a pair.

But using animated Flash technology from Adobe Systems Inc. meant a significant portion of its customer base viewing the ads on mobile devices—specifically those using Apple Inc. iPhones or iPads—couldn’t view the ads because Flash doesn’t render on those devices.

To solve the dilemma, Hermès is using a service from DG, a vendor that helps brands and retailers distribute and manage ads across conventional and mobile web sites and mobile apps. The product, called DG MediaMind, detects the device a consumer is using and converts ads to HTML5 if the consumer is viewing an ad on a mobile device that doesn’t work with Flash. HTML5 is an advanced programming language that enables mobile site designs and interfaces to look and function like apps, and renders video on all major mobile web browsers.

Hermès used the DG service in a recent ad campaign it ran in Spain with the help of media agency Havas Media.  11% of the impressions were served using HTML5 instead of Flash, DG says. The campaign displayed a video banner in HTML5 rather than Flash when appropriate, DG says. Without the service, the ads would have run as standard static banners, the vendor says.

“The HTML5 delivery technology enables all users to view and interact with rich media ads while browsing from any device,” says Maggie Policarpo, new business director at DG MediaMind Spain. “The Spanish market’s share of smartphones and tablets keeps growing and this solution will be under increasing demand from our customers, as it empowers them to reach and influence greater audiences.”

The cost for DG’s MediaMind to convert ads to HTML5 is included in its overall Flash advertisement fees. DG charges a cost per thousand impressions both for HTML5 and Flash advertising.

The rate advertisers pay for 1,000 impressions will rise 76% to $4.68 by 2017 from $2.66 in 2012, according to a survey of 232 marketers conducted by research firm Forrester. Forrester includes text advertising (which typically has a low cost per 1,000 impressions) in its figures, along with traditional online banner ads, rich media and video.

“We are able to ensure a quality impact on all users of mobile devices, whether or not their devices support Flash technology,” says Albert García Leza, planning manager at Havas Media. “This is very important in campaigns that have a clear branding target.”

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