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Adobe works up new ad format for smartphones

Collaboration with ad agencies aims to define two full-screen formats for mobile device ads, geared toward devices running Flash Player 10.1 but with an HTML5 option.

Adobe Systems is working with several digital ad companies to create a new format for mobile ads that can tap into Flash or HTML5.

EyeWonder mobile ad
EyeWonder ad Adobe

Announced today at the Adobe Max developers conference, the collaboration will define two full-screen ad formats in a bid to create a new industry standard for mobile device ads. Though geared toward devices running Flash Player 10.1, the ads can display in the Flash format or be converted to HTML5 for devices that don't support Flash. Currently targeted at smartphones, the new ad format will eventually expand to tablets and other devices, Adobe said.

By supporting Flash, Adobe is offering ad agencies and publishers an alternative to Apple's iAd format, which doesn't allow for Flash due to Apple's snub of it on the iPhone. But by offering the ability to convert ads to HTML5, Adobe is looking to build a standard that can run on all mobile devices.

Adobe said it will also give ad agencies the power to control the design and development of their own ads but will provide technical requirements to make sure those ads are both interactive and consistent. That capability may be Adobe's way of further distinguishing its new ad format from that of iAd. Apple has been criticized by some advertisers over its tight control of the creative design of the mobile ads.

The first Adobe ad format, dubbed FS-microsite, will include interactive product details and lead capture in the ad itself, so users don't need to view the ad in their mobile Web browsers to get the full experience. The second format, named FS-video, will send redesigned broadcast ads and high-quality video ads to the user, letting agencies reuse their broadcast ads for the mobile market.

"Our work with the advertising industry will define a new model for ads units and ad measurement in a marketing world being transformed by mobile communications," John Loiacono, senior vice president and general manager of Adobe's Digital Media Solutions, said in a statement. "These new ad formats are a first step in establishing an industry example that is cross-platform and expected to become the volume standard on smartphones, reaching across the broadest number of platforms and devices worldwide."

Teaming up with Adobe are six digital ad companies: EyeWonder, Greystripe, Medialets, MediaMind, PointRoll, and Sprout. Beyond working with Adobe, the six will also promote the new ad format to ad agencies as well as to trade associations, such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Mobile Marketing Association.

See also: Adobe modernizes with tablet tool, mobile AIR