Trends Assessment #2, HTML5, 4-10-12


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Trends Assessment on HTML5's Impact on Multiscreen Interactive Marketing

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Trends Assessment #2, HTML5, 4-10-12

  1. 1. Web Revolution: HTML5’s Impact on Multiscreen Interactive Marketing Andrew Baird MKTG – 7546 4/10/2012
  2. 2. Web Revolution: HTML5’s Impact on Multiscreen Interactive MarketingHTML5 Takes the Stage and Empowers Consumers and Marketers Alike In 2012, consumers are truly “always on,” constantly interacting with friends, family, colleagues,customers, news, entertainment, and brands across a variety of media on their desktops, tablets, andmobile devices. Consumers expect personalized and relevant interactions across all three screens athome, at work, and on the go. Marketers have become increasingly aware that they must createcustomized messages across these three screens in order to remain relevant in the eyes of theirempowered customers and add value to each interaction. Marketers must understand when, where,and how they can reach their customers, and then deploy the appropriate messages that engagecustomers in a meaningful way. If unsuccessful, marketers will lose out on valuable opportunities tocreate loyalty with customers and generate smarter marketing iterations. With the widespread use ofAdobe’s Flash animation for video and the explosion of native app development on mobile devices,marketers have faced major challenges in creating consistent interactive experiences for customersacross desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. But with the increased adoption of HTML5, brands willbegin to more effectively manage consistent (though not identical) customer engagement messagesusing a common platform. HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language, is the core language, or code, used by the vast majorityof developers to build web pages. HTML was created by physicist Sir Tim Berners-Lee in Switzerland in19901. HTML elements (tags, tables, etc.) form the basic building blocks for all internet pages and allowweb browsers to understand what a web page does, where it goes, and what it looks like. HTMLlanguage has been revised several times since 1990, but HTML5 is poised to become much more than asimple update. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standards organizationfor the World Wide Web, has set 2014 as the date for final approval of HTML5 for all web operators2,meaning that W3C will recommend all web developersuse HTML5 coding by that time. Whereas most rich media (video, audio, graphics, moving images) is currently delivered to auser’s browser and mobile device using Adobe’s Flash plug-in in HTML4, HTML5 offers an open andstandard way to deliver rich media, using its robust application programming interface (API) 3. Theresult of this movement is that web programmers will be able to use brand-new video and audiocommands more easily, allowing websites to act more like the native apps popularized on consumers’phones. The iOS operating system featured on Apple’s iPhone and iPad does not support Flashanimation, which caused friction between Apple and Adobe in delivering rich media to consumersthrough the popular mobile and tablet devices. Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple, was a vocalsupporter of HTML5, saying in April 2010, “HTML5…lets web developers create advanced graphics,typography, animations and transitions without relying on third-party browser plug-ins like Flash1.”Adobe, the developer of the Flash plug-in player, must have taken Jobs’ words to heart about the futureof web development using HTML5. In November 2011, Adobe announced that it was haltingdevelopment on future mobile Flash Players beyond the current Flash Player 11.14. Under HTML5, video and audio can be added to a web page without complicated computercode. While commoncoding of interactive media is an important component of the new technology, thesingle most important feature of HTML is that it is already supported by the latest versions of all majordesktop (Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 9) and mobile browsers (iOS, Android)3. This means that aweb developer can create a single code in HTML5, and corresponding functionalities such as video or 3-D graphics will work with any browser, regardless of the device. Marketers are presented with theattractive opportunity to generate interactive rich media advertisements using true multiscreenmarketing strategies. Marketers can reach consumers with a consistent interactive message wherever 1
  3. 3. Web Revolution: HTML5’s Impact on Multiscreen Interactive Marketingthey are and without expensive development costs needed to generate separate channel experiences.In terms of tracking the impact of ads, HTML5 offers unprecedented analytical capabilities. Ad unitsbased on HTML5 coding can be tracked across desktop, mobile devices, and tablets to generate onereport, thereby creating a more holistic picture of the success of particular marketing messages5. The underlying goal of expanding HTML5 is to standardize all of the changes in technology anddesign of the last 15 years6.According to, 34 of the 100 most trafficked websites wereusing HTML5 as of September 20117. Search engines and social media sites led the way in transitionover to HTML5, a figure supported by the investments made by both Google and Facebook thus far.Facebook is even committing resources to the development of HTML5 mobile applications through itsinternal tool, known as Faceweb. Facebook has used the tool to introduce continuous News Feedupdates to mobile devices, which helps the social networking site keep pace with desktop features8. InJanuary, AT&T introduced an HTML5 Android app store, which allows developers to release their apps tousers faster than “closed,” native apps9. Google also released HTML5 support in its Interactive MediaAds product in February. While security companies such as McAfee warn that HTML5 will increase thenumber of potentially vulnerable places that hackers can target, the increased adoption of HTML5 bythe web’s most powerful companies indicate that HTML5 is not a simple language update. Instead,HTML5 is a powerful solution for marketers to deliver dynamic, interactive experiences to consumersusing multiscreen strategies.Coca-Cola and USA Network on the Cutting Edge of Seizing HTML5 Advertising Opportunities;RecordLabels and Software Developers Stand to Benefit in the Future Coca-Cola is well known for its innovative interactive marketing campaigns, having foundcreative ways to engage consumers and fans throughout its history across a variety of media. However,even as the world’s most valuable brand, Coke is not content simply resting on its laurels. OnNovember 15, as part of its Artic Home campaign, Coke became the first advertiser to run a singleHTML5 interactive ad campaign across the three major digital platforms. The company partnered withThe New York Times to deliver a consistent animated ad experience on, the Times’ iPhoneapp, and the iPad’s Safari browser10. The ad features the familiar use of a polar bear image to bringawareness to Coca-Cola’s efforts to help protect polar bears’ natural habitat. The advertisement was asuccess in part because of the level of collaboration between Coke’s Marketing team, the Times’Technology team, and the Times’ Advertising Sales staff in creating message consistency across digitalthe three platforms. HTML5 technology available to Coke and the Times offered exactly whatmultiscreen marketers strive for: one-stop shopping for marketers who want to reach all of its audience,regardless of the platform consumers use to consume their content10. It can be reasonably inferred thatthe success of the Times interactive ad spurred the announcement of Coca-Cola’s “Content 2020”Marketing strategy going forward, which places a strong emphasis on interactive advertising. While it is an early application of the cross-platform integration marketers are sure to embracegoing forward, the Coca-Cola polar bear ad from November could have been even more interactive toencourage users to donate to the Artic Home campaign. The advertisement adds pieces of the polarbear’s image frame-by-frame until the picture becomes clear. After the image has completed loading, abanner ad appears at the top of the page motivating the consumer to send donations through textmessages. Instead of simply showing an image of the polar bear and then asking the user to donatethrough text, Coca-Cola could have used multiple images to show the impact of sending a text to the 2
  4. 4. Web Revolution: HTML5’s Impact on Multiscreen Interactive MarketingWorld Wildlife Fund (WWF) for the well-being of polar bears. The animation itself could be a step-by-step moving image of a user sending a text, followed by the text reaching Coca-Cola, and concludingwith Coca-Cola working with the WWFto maintain the protection of the polar bears. This type ofanimation would produce a more meaningful experience for the user, who would be able to visualizethe progression of his or her donation to the safety of the polar bears frame-by-frame. Much of theeffectiveness of multiscreen marketing lies in the ability for marketers to engage in effective storytelling,which is what this example would accomplish. Building a compelling story on a single text donation tothe safety of polar bears in their natural habitat would accomplish the goal of creating a moreinteractive, personalized experience for consumers, and may have resulted in both more donations aswell as greater brand engagement with Coca-Cola. Given the robust capabilities for incorporating video into HTML5 coding, the entertainmentindustry would be anticipated asan early adopter from a Marketing standpoint. This was certainly thecase for USA Network in creating awareness for the premiere of its original series, “White Collar” onJanuary 18, 2011. Thenetwork worked with Glow Interactive to create an interactive rich mediaadvertisement for iPad that integrated the brand with the actual page content on The New York TimesHTML5 web site for one day. USA Network’s SVP of Brand Marketing and Digital, AlexandraShapiro,explained that “the iPad rich media, over-the-page browser ad for the premiere of WhiteCollaris undoubtedly the first of its kind for any iOS device”11. iPad users exposed to the advertisement weretargeted with an FBI-themed game that was integrated with content from the show and playable withinthe Times’ ad banner. Users were offered a virtual scanner tool that could be dragged off the bannerunit and around The New York Timeshome page to find clues within the content of the page itself.When users found the clue, they could drag the tool back to the ad banner to solve the clue, which inturn would provide a reward response and unlock exclusive video content shown exclusively within thead11. The game within the banner ad was built specifically for HTML5 browsers supported by the iPadplatform in mobile Safari. While USA Network partnered with The New York Timesto deploy its HTML5 interactive ad justas Coca-Cola did, the cable network’s advertisement provided a much more interactive and customizedexperience for consumers than Coke. Perhaps most importantly, the ad sought to achieve specificbusiness objectives, namely creating awareness for White Collar’s season premiere and driving tune-inof the series. The ad is interactive in the truest sense: it engages the user through a responsive gameusing his or her own fingers; it allows the users to move the advertisement components into newscontent on the home page; and it provides access to exclusive material unlocked by participating in thegame. Instead of the banner ad starting where the article columns leave off, USA Network and Glow dida phenomenal job of leveraging HTML5’s design capabilities to create the type of rich, personalizedexperience for users that marketers hope become much more commonplace. For its design prowess,Glow Interactive won the 2011 MOBi award for best iPad/Tablet ad, the 2011 OMMA award for bestRich Media – single execution, and the 2011 MediaMind Smart Ad award for the Americas. The White Collar ad may be easy to praise based on its creativity, successful implementation,and awards won, but there were some significant shortcomings in making the ad as successful as it couldhave been. First of all, USA Network worked with Glow Interactive to design an iPad-only ad, versusworking across devices like Coca-Cola did. The New York Times has an HTML5-enabled desktop website,and could have implemented a similar advertisement on its home page for PC users. This would haveprovided USA Network with a better understanding of the impact of its interactive ad for all types ofconsumers, rather than just for iPad users, who are generally more receptive to interactiveadvertisements than traditional desktop users anyway. While Mike Molnar, Managing Partner of Glow 3
  5. 5. Web Revolution: HTML5’s Impact on Multiscreen Interactive MarketingInteractive, contends that “the focus should be on using each device to its full potential,” brandsadopting interactive ads on HTML5 websites should take advantage of the cross-functionality of theplatform, especially in the early days of HTML5 interactive ad adoption. Marketers need to test,measure, and test again to ensure that they are delivering the best experience for their consumers. Forall USA Network knows, the White Collar ad may have opened up an entirely new viewer segment ifimplemented on the desktop browser as well as the iPad browser. Publishers in general, and especially news publishers like The New York Times, stand to benefitfrom increasing interactive advertising spends by brands as HTML5 becomes more popular amongadvertisers. But two other industries could leverage these publishers’ advertising space to tap intomultiscreen marketing and create some exceptional interactive ads to be displayed across platforms.One activity that is very common to many consumers across digital platforms is the presence of music,either through active listening or having it on in the background. iTunes helped to shape the musicindustry as a whole in the early 2000s, but left record labels with decreased revenues and profits as aresult. And while the presence of music videos on stations such as MTV and VH1 has dipped in the pastdecade, record labels can use HTML5 capabilities to deliver personalized video experiences for users.Labels such as Sony Epic, Interscope, Atlantic, and Warner Music Group could aggressively partner withvarious websites offering ad space and create interactive ads based on video and audio for users. Theselabels could embed various videos of their artists playing in concerts, performing raw sound checkfootage, or speaking in interviews in banner ads that would give users choices for how to listen to theparticular artists. The level of personalization and customization could be raised to an even higher levelif the ads were able to capture personal information of the users through the cookies on their browsers.For example, if a particular user has recently been on Pandora Radio(another site which converted toHTML5 last year) and listened to My Morning Jacket radio, the browser (be it Google Chrome, IE9, orSafari) could capture that information and send it to the next HTML5 site that featured an interactive ad.If the music label set up specific targeting for My Morning Jacket listeners, it could serve up videofootage of the band performing in various capacities (perhaps the last concert in the users’ hometown)when they check their favorite news site. This would bring the desired media directly to the consumerand allow him or her to engage further with a band in which he or she has already expressed interest.The potential power of bringing one’s favorite music directly to the consumer without having consumersgo out and look for it, is a very useful for marketers at record labels. Add to this the potential to employmore interactive ads through YouTube, and the music industry could be poised for a major return. Another industry that has long been on the cutting edge of new technologies is the softwareindustry. While companies such as Microsoft have focused much of their energy on developing robustproducts for its users, they have not traditionally been the most innovative marketers, at least in theirusers’ eyes. HTML5 can change that. The ability for users to be able to interact with an advertisementboth within the ad itself and across the content shown on the page, is an extremely powerful tool forsoftware marketers. For example, for many new Microsoft or Adobe products, there are typically a fewmajor functionality additions that seek to make users’ experiences more seamless and user-friendly. IfMicrosoft comes out with a new version of its Office software package and wants to show users some ofthe more integrated ways in which the programs work with users’ web experiences, it could offer usersthe ability to test out some of the features using an interactive ad. Users could export articles to their e-mail or take a screen shot and send it to contacts right from the interactive ad. This would give users aglimpse into the future of how software developers should not be thought of as stand-aloneapplications, but rather integrated services that create a more robust, personalized digital experiencefor users as they increasingly interact across three major screens. Microsoft could use the multiscreen 4
  6. 6. Web Revolution: HTML5’s Impact on Multiscreen Interactive Marketingmarketing approach within HTML5 to demonstrate value to users in being able to take their corecapabilities from their desktop software and transition it over to Windows Mobile. After all, Microsofthas committed major resources to ensuring that its mobile operating system makes an impact on themobile device market. HTML5 interactive ads provide such an opportunity to have Microsoft leverageits easier, faster development and present customized brand interactions that were not possible beforethe advent of HTML5.HTML5’s Future: Creative Designers Will Usher in a New Wave of Interactive Marketing The versatility of HTML5 makes it among the most exciting and useful mediums for multiscreenmarketing going forward. With the surge in social-local-mobile marketing adoption by brands to createinteractive experiences for users across their favorite devices, HTML5 will serve as an important vehiclefor marketers for a number of reasons. In addition to the improved interaction available to market toconsumers, brands will be able to strengthen search engine optimization, as theycan organize theircontent in a more meaningful way. Flash animation did not bode well in the past for brands who soughtto bring more users to their video content. HTML5 allows for easy tagging and creates relevance forspecific content, which can help brands monetize their dynamic efforts in interactive marketing throughsearch engine marketing. Additionally, with the increasing number of smartphone users in both theUnited States and abroad, marketers need to be able to tap into opportunities to drive revenueeverywhere, not just when consumers are sitting at their desks at home ready to purchase something.HTML5 enables marketers to involve consumers in the advertising messages themselves, which can helpto drive revenue whenever and wherever consumers are. Finally, the “gamification” of society hasempowered marketers to become more playful, more relevant, and more consumer-oriented, all ofwhich is possible because of HTML5. As a full-service web designer and Creative Director at CommPartners in Baltimore, MD12, AlexRobinson sees the potential in how HTML5 will revolutionize the world of interactive marketing throughmultiscreen strategies. From a broad-based perspective, Robinson believes that HTML5 will becomeinteractive marketers’ best friend. “The adoption of HTML5 in interactive advertising will greatly impacthow advertisers are able to reach their audiences. HTML5 additions to your web site/app can help youtarget your mobile audiences. With more people accessing web sites and web apps on their smartphones and tablets, this lets advertisers get closer to the consumer and obtain user information they’venever been able to before.” The targeting abilities of HTML5 because of the versatility of the codingitself makes it a very attractive tool for marketers who seek to get closer to their customers’ purchasedecisions. Robinson explains that “being able to target consumers by their exact location and the abilityto extract personal information using social app logins such as Facebook and Twitter will helpadvertisers present content more relevant to them.” As mentioned previously, relevancy andcustomization are two crucial components to interactive marketers being able to deliver the rich mediaexperience that consumers are looking for when interacting with a marketing message. HTML5 allowsmarketers, designers, and media partners to collaborate and deliver dynamic and creative experiencesthat bring brands closer to their customers. With regard to specific industries and consumer segments impacted by HTML5, Robinson doesnot see a limit to its potential. “Any company or organization that uses these new technologies willbenefit. Consumers in the 18-35 age group are most likely going to be the target market for advertisersusing HTML5.” Robinson’s take on the broad application of this technology should not be surprising, as 5
  7. 7. Web Revolution: HTML5’s Impact on Multiscreen Interactive Marketingconsumers of all ages, nationalities, and education levels are curious about new interactive ads, whetherthey are through HTML5 on a web browser, using augmented reality through Google’s Glass project, orwith the advent of social television. Given that all companies interested in interactive marketingoperate a company website, all industries should be interested in how to make HTML5 work for them.Companies with larger resources to invest in HTML5 development are higher on the list of adoption.However, without having to use complicated video coding, HTML5 will realistically become a cheapertool for interactive marketers over the long haul. It will simply take time to educate enough talentedweb designers to use HTML5 coding and create the type of dynamic marketing messages that brands areseeking to implement. Robinson believes that widespread adoption of HTML5 is coming, but slowly. “HTML5 will beimplemented in the next few years with backwards compatibility in mind. Web sites will gradually startemploying HTML5 uses when the web browsers, used by the majority, begin to support them.” Whilethe most updated versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and AppleSafari, have all adopted HTML5 to this point, there are still many consumers who have not updated theirsoftware to the HTML5-enabled browsers. This presents an obstacle to marketers who seek to reach aswide an audience as possible with interactive marketing through HTML5-enabled sites. Nevertheless,Robinson says that because of the increased usage of mobile devices and HTML’s adoption acrossmobile operating systems today, “in the next few years, we’ll start to see seamless transition fromdesktop to mobile.” While fairly new to HTML5 (as most web designers are), Robinson says that heplans to use HTML5 “slowly but surely.” Among the core HTML5 features Robinson has already startedusing are “the addition of mobile-friendly form features that make the user experience much easier,device detection that showcases content based on the users’ environment, and the implementation ofmore responsive layouts.” For marketers looking to tap into the potential of HTML5, Robinson views expertise in theintricate design elements are a source for competitive advantage. Whether for branded websitesthemselves or interactive advertising companies deploying specific ads, the common thread thatRobinson believes will be needed to stay ahead of competitors is the right people. “They’ll need UI [userinterface] and user experience designers/researchers as well as strong web/mobile developers. HTML5is the latest and greatest, so to stay one step ahead of the competition, you need some serious talent.”As we witnessed with both the Coca-Cola and USA Network case studies, The New York Times served asan important strategic partner for enabling the two brands to implement the interactive strategies theysought. With help from a company like Glow Interactive, HTML interactive ads are possible, but onlywith the talent necessary to make the ads work as the marketers hope to. As interactive HTML5 adsbecome more mainstream, we may witness brands employing their own web designers to carry out theintricate and sophisticated marketing messages that brands want to use on a widespread basis.Companies are already increasingly investing marketing budgets into interactive digital marketingrather than the traditional offline media, and in doing so, they require resources that are still bedeveloped. As a result, we may witness a digital designer “arms race” where brands compete over themost talented web designers with intricate knowledge of HTML5 and its profound impact on interactivemultiscreen marketing. 6
  8. 8. Web Revolution: HTML5’s Impact on Multiscreen Interactive MarketingReferences: 1. “HTLM5: the language aiming to make the web wider.” Johnson, Bobbie. BBC News Online. December 29, 2010. 2. “W3C sets 2014 date for HTML5.” Thomson, Iain. February 14, 2011. 3. “Why HTML5 is more than just a buzz term – and one that marketers should not ignore.” Phillips, Rob. March 19, 2012. _than_just_a_buzz_term_and_one_that_digital_marketers_should_not_ignore. 4. “It’s Official: Flash Mobile Player is Dead.” Ulanoff, Lance. November 9, 2011. 5. “How HTML5 Can Change Mobile Marketing.” Kim, Peter. Business2Community Online. January 25, 2012. marketing-0123693. 6. “Five Things Marketers Need to Know about HTML5.” Bay, Michael. Content Marketing Institute. April 5, 2012. marketers-need-to-know/. 7. “Quarterly HTML Census, Q3 2011.” September 30, 2011. 8. “Facebook to Enrich Mobile with HTML5.” Lawson, Stephen. PCWorld Online. September 27, 2011. 9. “AT&T Unveils 4G Windows Phones, New Android Devices.” Bonnington, Christina. Wired Magazine Online. January 9, 2012. announcements-2012/. 10. “The New York Times Runs a Cross-platform Interactive Ad Campaign in HTML5.” Garber, Megan. Nieman Journalism Lab. November 15, 2011. platforms/. 11. “USA Network Drives Tune-in to White Collar with iPad Rich Media.” Butcher, Dan. Mobile Marketer Magazine Online. March 2, 2011. 12. Alex Robinson Bio: Alex Robinson has been a professional Web designer since graduating in 2005 from the Johns Hopkins University Computer Career Institute. Throughout his career, Alex has exceeded his clients expectations, pushed his own design limits and created web sites, logos and print, and e- mail marketing tools that have revitalized his clients businesses. Alex currently serves as Creative Director for CommPartners, a company specializing in web site design and development, online event management, and e-mail marketing. Alex also accepts freelance assignments in the design and development of web sites, logos, e-mail marketing tools and online and print branding. Alex was born in Missouri and spent time in Colorado, Kansas and Florida before settling in Baltimore with his wife, his English bulldog, and two cats. 7