Flash — It’s Gone: In 2020, Google Search Will Ignore Adobe Flash

When it first launched, Flash was the answer to a static Web, providing rich animation and action. Flash was eagerly welcomed and embraced by Web developers and users. It grew so popular that the Adobe Flash Player runtime, which lets users play Flash content, was installed 500 million times in the second half of 2013.

When it first launched, Flash was the answer to a static Web, providing rich animation and action. Flash was eagerly welcomed and embraced by Web developers and users. It grew so popular that the Adobe Flash Player runtime, which lets users play Flash content, was installed 500 million times in the second half of 2013, with 300 million installations on Android and iOS alone.

Even with this huge popularity, Flash is going to be gone by the end of 2020, replaced by new, faster, more efficient, and secure open standards development technologies, such as HTML5. These newer technologies are more search-friendly than Flash, which required significant efforts to ensure successful indexing.

The lifespan of webpages in search does not neatly coincide with corporate end-of-life announcements for support of specific technologies; therefore, Google’s Oct. 28, 2019, announcement is noteworthy. It says that later this year, Google Search will stop supporting Flash content, will begin ignoring it for search, and will stop indexing standalone SWF files.

Flash Has Burned Out Slowly

In July 2017, Adobe announced that it would no longer be updating and distributing the Flash Player at the end of 2020, and has been actively encouraging content creators to migrate their existing Flash content to the new open formats.

Browser developers have been sunsetting their support for Flash content, forcing users into elaborate workarounds to view Flash content. For example, Microsoft Edge, FireFox 69, and Chrome Version 76 launched in July 2019, and have — by default — disabled Flash.

However, a large volume of Flash content remains on the Web.

In the search-related announcement, Google blithely noted that “Most users and websites won’t see any impact from this change.” I would like to suggest that, as they say in the auto industry, mileage may vary.

How to Check for Search Impact?

Many large sites have thousands of pages, a volume containing valueless antiques. They are in the company’s digital attic. These treasure troves of forgotten content are often the product of unredirected orphaned initiatives.

Did your site once have a little Flash game or a Flash-powered carousel?

These once loved, but now forgotten, pages may still be in the Google index. To ensure that you indeed see no impact from the end of Flash, run a quick check for Flash files on your site. If you have converted all of your content to new technologies, you can still not rest. Just run a check for Flash files from your site that may be in Google. If you do not find any, then enjoy the ride.

If you still have Flash content, you need to convert it to a newer technology. Don’t just use an online converter. These are not necessarily secure. If the file is worthy, redevelop it or make sure that it is properly redirected.

Flash (Sale) AAAHHH!!

Part of me feels like, since I revealed my obsession with song lyrics in my first entry, I can’t keep using it anymore—like that old magician’s rule. But oh well, I found myself way too amusing when I came up with this title so I’m going to get past that.

Part of me feels like, since I revealed my obsession with song lyrics in my first entry, I can’t keep using it anymore—like that old magician’s rule. But oh well, I found myself way too amused when I came up with this title so I’m going to get past that.

Today I’ve got just a quick A/B test result from a (wait for it … you’ll be shocked …) flash sale (gasp!) I did this past summer for our Direct Marketing IQ Bookstore.

We wanted to offer a 24-hour flash sale on some of our popular titles, but the question was how to get the most out of the offer. Would we get a better response by offering a discount on specific titles, or would it work better to simply toss out the discount code and give recipients free reign on what to use it for?

When in doubt, hit the split. We created two very similar HTML promotions, both promoting the flash sale for the same 24-hour period. We gave both the same subject line: “24-HOUR FLASH SALE—The countdown is on!” And of course, each version was deployed at the same time.

Email A offered the discount for three specific titles belonging to the same Boosting Direct Mail Response series. Email B gave a code which could be used on any title in the store produced by Direct Marketing IQ. The coupon codes themselves were slightly different for easy tracking of which email had prompted the purchase.

Any guesses as to which would be the bigger hit?

Get your guesses in now …

Drumroll, please …

  • Email A’s click rate was 1.2 percent; Email B’s was 0.7 percent.
  • Email A earned more than double the number of items sold than Email B.
  • Those sales amounted to Email A bringing in a grand total of $380.77 more than Email B over the 24 hour period.

So, there you have it. Based on these results, folks are much more likely to act immediately on a sale if the options are narrowed down and laid out for them plainly. It’s a test I’d like to try a few more times, but the difference in numbers was pretty significant this time around.

Look for future posts talking wedding emails, memes in email marketing, more fun with subject lines, or whatever else happens to poke me in the side along the way.