Rich Media Ad Standards

Often Flash Ads are often considered “Rich Media” ads when they are expandable, floating, stream video, look like a peeldown, or push down content momentarily. JavaScript will often be used with these types of ads to do something different than just appear as a box in one spot.

  • Pick an older version of Flash to support. I recommend supporting back to the Flash 6 (Flash MX) player. Flash 6 supports compression but not FLV video. Flash 7 supports FLV video, but Flash 8’s On VP2 codec is much better for filesize and quality. I would recommend building a player that detects the version of flash the user has and play an appropriate FLV. That means you will have to export the video twice, but if people are paying for ads, they need to be seen. Despite what Adobe’s says the statistics for Flash 8 or even the Flash 9 player on the web are, many people simply do not upgrade Flash for long time. Now if its a video player just showing video, then you can just use Flash 8, because people might upgrade to see videos, but they won’t upgrade to see ads.
  • Set a filesize limit of the SWF. 40k is a good amount but you might make some of your own settings based on the dimensions of the ad.
  • Some advertisers have limits on how many times a ad may loop. Sometimes they will allow you to repeat the loop if someone hovers over the ad.
  • Some ads such as floaters, can be quite annoying so they may put a frequency cap on how many times a person will see the ad, often its set to 1.
  • Some advertisers want a distinct border on ads, so they don’t get mistaken as content.
  • FPS limit – A higher FPS limit makes the animation smoother but also costs more CPU time to render the animation. Flash will generally skip frames or set itself to lower quality if it thinks it needs to. I really cannot see a need for using more than 24 FPS (cartoons use that framerate), usually I just stick with the default of 12 FPS.
  • Sound – Sound should not be played in an ad, people often surf the web while listening to music and the last thing they want to hear is some annoying loop or weird sound blow out their eardrums. However, some advertisers allow for sound when a video is playing or when the ad is moused over after 1 second but then stops if the mouse is moved off of it.
  • Don’t access user’s microphone, webcam or clipboard. This just means they get a security warning or dialog asking them to allow it and they will just say no.
  • Video – You should stream if possible and have an image show up with a play button. That way you don’t force the video to download and play until it’s clicked. I would recomment not to loop the video, but go back to the image with the play button. I recommend having play/pause and unmute/mute buttons. When you unmute the video it should rewind the video and start playing, because the user may have missed part of the audio with the ad. Videos should be no more than 30seconds and be the appropriate size for the ad, don’t scale or stretch the video to force it to fit in the ad. How big should the video be? Yahoo has a limit of 2.2MB, so that is a good standard to follow.

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One Comment to “Rich Media Ad Standards”

  1. 1 · Anonymous says:

    12 fps sucks! It’s choppy and it looks stupid. Why do you think Flash gives you a choice? You may as well use an animated gif.

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