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Spring Forward to HTML5

By Shailley Singh

Last year, I wrote about the Age of HTML5 Ads where I outlined IAB Tech Lab’s initiatives to support the industry transition to HTML5 creative. Since then more announcements from ad networks and ad tech companies have made it necessary for us to move even quicker to HTML5 and many working groups have been hard at work on all of those initiatives.

This Spring, the IAB Tech Lab and HTML5 Best Practices Working Group are both excited to roll out the first set of these initiatives.

Today we are releasing the HTML5 for Digital Advertising: Guide for Ad Designers and Developers 2.0 and an updated HTML5 for Digital Advertising Resources Wiki to help ad creative designers and developers transition to HTML5 Ads.

Cory Hudson, VP Creative Technology & Innovation at BannerWave and Co-chair of the IAB Tech Lab HTML5 Best Practices Working Group said “This latest release of the HTML5 Best Practices and Guidelines is an extremely important release that will continue to accelerate the widespread adoption of HTML5 across the digital ad industry. Effectively educating ad designers and developers on the latest and emerging HTML5 ad creation technologies, tools, and techniques is an essential part of this ongoing initiative.”

HTML5 for Digital Advertising: Guide for Ad Designers and Developers 2.0

The guide provides more specific information and actions that you can pursue in transitioning to HTML5. It covers a diverse range of topics like optimization of assets, use of code libraries, clicktag implementation, common tools and platforms, animation and video, ad server compatibility and effectively applying related technologies like CSS3, JS, SVG, Web Fonts, 2D WebGL, and more.

The guide will help ad creative developers produce ads in an HTML5 format that meet IAB Display Creative Guidelines for desktop and mobile display ads. Adhering to the practices outlined in the HTML5 for Digital Advertisers guide will help improve ad development and reduce ad operations overhead.

Sam Lo, Director of Creative Mobile Technologies at Flashtalking said “The IAB’s unending commitment to serving the needs of all parties in the digital advertising industry is again demonstrated by this update to its HTML5 Best Practices and Guidelines. This document, one of many important initiatives currently being undertaken, provides much needed guidance to answer questions in this fast-changing environment.”

HTML5 for Digital Advertising Resources Wiki

This wiki is a continuously updated repository of constantly changing compatibility references, tools, shared libraries, and platforms that support HTML5 ads development. This resource will be a ready reference for HTML5 designers and developers.

John Percival, Head of Design Technology at Amazon said “Publishers, networks, and marketers are moving to an HTML5 only model, which shouldn’t be of any surprise to anyone by now. The IAB has listened to their customers over this past iteration and has delivered a great update for everyone in the industry to start adopting.”

The release of these documents will be complemented by tools and events to educate the market and support the transition to HTML5.

HTML5 Ad Validator

The HTML5 Ad validator will help test HTML5 ad creatives for adherence to IAB Creative Guidelines and analyze for file weights, sub-load criteria, number of file requests etc. This service help accelerate the adoption of HTML5 by publishers, advertisers, and creative developers.

  • Publishers can use the HTML5 Ad Validator for certifying vendors
  • Ad Ops teams can standardize IAB Display Guidelines compliance using the HTML5 Ad Validator
  • Designers and developers can validate their ad creative for IAB Display Guidelines and be assured that it will be accepted across publishers

HTML5 Education Events

IAB will be organizing a series of events to educate and showcase unique HTML5 capabilities as well as platforms that can help accelerate development of HTML5 Ads. The first in the series is on April 13 in San Francisco.

I am eagerly looking forward to our industry moving to HTML5 ads and creating better user experiences with lighter file weights and faster web page loads following the LEAN ad principles.


Shailley Singh
Senior Director, Product and Research & Development