Industry players including AOL, MSN and DoubleClick have entered an advertising alliance initiated by the internet technology company Macromedia to improve the use of Flash technology in internet advertising.
The Macromedia Flash Advertising Alliance, which is also being supported by the online advertising companies 24/7 Media and Engage and the US-based online ad technology company Unicast, will kick off its launch with the introduction of a tracking tool for Flash-based internet ads.
The alliance was created in the US, but it is intended to become a global initiative, although it is not yet clear what impact the collective will have in Europe.
Flash technology allows advertisers to use rich media such as sound and animation in their online advertising campaigns.
According to a spokesperson at Macromedia UK, up until now it has not been common practice to use Flash in online ads because of their file size and the cost of implementing the necessary tagging technology into the source file. However, the tracking tool, which is called the Macromedia Flash Tracking Kit, will enable advertisers to track the effectiveness of their online ads with greater efficiency.
The alliance also intends to address other issues including the use of Flash in wireless marketing.
An investigation by the internet research company Jupiter Media Metrix has found that 72 per cent of advertisers are planning to use rich-media advertising this year, and predicts that by 2005 more than 30 per cent of online media spend will be dedicated to rich-media or streamed ads.
Adrian Baker, DoubleClick's new UK managing director, said: 'We have to push the potential of the creative. Part of the challenge of online advertising is that the technology works for ads.'