Macromedia Launches Flash Advertising Alliance

Macromedia, the San Francisco-based rich-media and Web site technology firm best known for its Flash and other vector graphic tools, last week announced the launch of a new industry group, the Macromedia Flash Advertising Alliance. The Macromedia-sponsored consortium, whose members include America Online, Bluestreak, CNET, DoubleClick, Engage, Excite@Home, Microsoft Network, 24/7 Media and Unicast, will focus on how online marketers might standardize execution and measurement of traffic to Flash advertisements and promotions.

“According to Jupiter [Media Metrix, N.Y.-based consultancy], 54 percent of all Internet ads are created in Flash, and about 96.4 percent of Internet users can view flash content,” said Meredith Searcy, director of product marketing for Macromedia’s Flash division. “But many Flash builders and ad servers apply different standards for measurement of traffic through Flash ads.”

The Alliance, which currently has 45 members and is scheduled to meet quarterly, will work to develop “a standardized path for rich-media advertising to be authored, delivered and tracked effectively.” As such, explained Searcy, the first item on the Alliance’s agenda will be ways to “evangelize” the Flash Tracking Kit, a software package for measuring traffic through Flash-based ads, developed last year and tested by MFAA members such as DoubleClick. “The attack for the first meeting [scheduled for Jan. 17] will be the tracking kit and ways to measure return on investment for Flash media.” She added that the second meeting will cover the relative efficacy of various Flash presentation formats. “In other words, does size matter?” said Searcy.

Judging by what Macromedia reps say was a swift response on Friday to the company’s announcement of the alliance, made on Thursday, the need to define standards for Flash measurement is strong. By Friday afternoon, according to a company rep, nearly100 companies had contacted the company.