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Advertising with Flash

Advertising with Flash

Many opportunities exist for creating interactive and engaging advertisements using SWF files. Adobe recommends that you follow several guidelines when you produce Flash advertisements, based on standards set up by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Using Recommended Dimensions

It is recommended that you use the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) guidelines to set dimensions for your Flash advertisements. Table 2 lists the recommended Interactive Marketing Unit (IMU) ad formats measurements.

Table 2. Recommended Interactive Marketing Unit Ad Formats

Type of Advertisement Dimensions (pixels)
Wide skyscraper 160 x 600
Skyscraper 120 x 600
Half-page ad 300 x 600
Full banner 468 x 60
Half banner 234 x 60
Micro bar 88 x 31
Button 1 120 x 90
Button 2 120 x 60
Square button 125 x 125
Vertical banner 120 x 240
Leaderboard 728 x 90
Medium rectangle 300 x 250
Square pop-up 250 x 250
Vertical rectangle 240 x 400
Large rectangle 336 x 280
Rectangle 180 x 150

When you create a new FLA file from a template (Select File > New and click the Templates tab), you see many of these sizes.

Creating SWF File Advertisements

Optimize your graphics as much as possible. Make your SWF file banner advertisements 15K or smaller. Create a GIF banner advertisement in Flash that is 12K or smaller. Limit looping banner advertisements to three repetitions. Many websites adopt the standardized file size recommendations as advertising specifications.

Use the GET command to pass data between an advertisement and a server, and do not use the POST command.

Note: Remember to provide control to the user. If you add sound to an advertisement, also add a mute button. If you create a transparent Flash ad that hovers over a web page, always provide a button to close the advertisement for its entire duration.

Tracking Advertisements

Several leading advertising networks now support standardized tracking methods in FlashSWF files. The following guidelines describe the supported tracking methodology:

  • Create a button or movie clip button.
  • Add a script to the button. This script executes when a user clicks the banner. You might use the getURL() function to open a new browser window. For example, you might add the following to Frame 1 of the Timeline:

    myButton_btn.onRelease = function(){
    getURL(clickTAG, "_blank"); };
    You might add the following code to Frame 1 of the Timeline:
    myButton_btn.onRelease = function()
    { if (clickTAG.substr(0, 5) == "http:")
    { getURL(clickTAG); } };

    The getURL() function adds the variable passed in the object and embed tags, and then sends the browser that is launched to the specified location. The server hosting the ad can track clicks on the advertisement.

  • Assign clickTAG code for tracking. This code tracks the advertisement and helps the network serving the ad to track where the ad appears and when it is clicked. The process is the standard way of creating an advertising campaign for a typical Flash advertisement. If you assign the getURL() function to the banner, you can use the following process to add tracking to the banner. The following example lets you append a variable to a URL string to pass data, which lets you set dynamic variables for each banner, instead of creating a separate banner for each domain. This means that you can use a single banner for the entire campaign, and any server that is hosting the ad can track the clicks on the banner.

    In the object and embed tags in your HTML, you would add code similar to the following example (where is the ad network, and is the company with an advertisement):

    <EMBED src="your_ad.swf?clickTAG =">

    And you would add the following code in your HTML:

    <PARAM NAME=movie VALUE="your_ad.swf?clickTAG 
    = tracking?">

Testing Your Ads

Ensure that your SWF file ad works on the most common browsers, and, in particular, the ones that your target audience use. Some users might not have Flash Player installed or they might have JavaScript disabled. Plan for these circumstances by having a replacement (default) GIF image or other scenarios for these users. Let the user control any audio in the ad. If the advertisement is a borderless SWF file that hovers over a web page, let the user close the advertisement immediately and for the duration of the ad.