The Rise of Programmatic and the Death of Flash

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In the very near future, Programmatic will do for media buying what desktop publishing did to T-squares and marker carousels. Meanwhile, Flash-dependent content will join 8-track tapes as a fading memory as HTML5 continues to shove it to the margins.

Although I have no crystal ball, I recognize history when it repeats itself.

First to Programmatic. While it began as a near-synonym to RTB (or Real Time Buying), it’s rapidly evolving to much, much more. Think of it as a process (software platform) in which millions upon millions of data-specific considerations are used to target online media availabilities with instantaneous negotiation and purchasing. Think of it also as a method of delivering precise content/creative to individualized audiences, in real time at any given moment. All the while, monitoring performance to provide an amazingly detailed report on who viewed and engaged with what advertising and which action was taken.

Programmatic has not taken full sail just yet, instead it’s like an amazing new software product still in beta testing. But it’s coming. And it will make our business—and everything we do—better.

John Wanamaker is quoted as saying, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Now, nearly one hundred years later, programmatic media buying may come very close to answering that question.

As for Flash? in 2010, Steve Jobs famously described Flash as “no longer necessary.”  While that was a bit premature, there’s little doubt remaining about the outcome of the Flash vs. HTML5 battle. It’s HTML5, not by a knockout, but by unanimous decision. Let’s review the judges scorecards:


  • Mobile: With nearly half the US population now sporting mobile phones with internet access and desktop PCs on the decline, Flash-based video content is being lost on huge audiences because iOS and many Android devices don’t support Flash. Deliver those same videos via HTML5 and the problem is solved. Decision to HTML5.

  • Gaming: HTML5-based games are coming of age and more than 30% of users’ time on iOS and Android devices (which don’t support Flash) is spent playing games. Decision to HTML5.

  • SEO: To the spiders and bots sent to index websites for search engines, Flash content looks like a black box, because it’s a closed container. Conversely, HTML5 allows for video—built with a semantic structure that allows multiple interrelated subcomponents—to be found and understood within the content. To spiders and bots, it’s as if the video contains title tags and all the information of a standard well-structured web page (H1 tags, meta info, description and more) Again, decision to HTML5.



If you haven’t embraced programmatic buying and HTML5, you’re already behind and need to get busy to avoid the dust-heap of history. Like today!

As for Current360, “We Do That.”

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Rob Womack

If there’s anyone who can honestly say, “Been there, done that,” it’s Rob. After traveling the world for seven years in his 20’s, Rob went to LA and started working in film production. Then it was off to New York, where he learned how to program, which eventually brought him back home to Louisville to build websites. At Current360, Rob heads up our in-house production studio, creating all things digital for our clients — videos, commercials, radio spots, and a lot more. 

When he’s at home, Rob likes to create things like homemade kombucha and music.