What is an HTML5 video?

By reading this blog you will find out what HTML5 is, what’s new compared to HTML and 9 different benefits.

What is an HTML5 video?
Marketing Team
Video Marketing What is an HTML5 video?

On this blog, we often focus on the increasingly widespread and accelerated spread of video on the web. And, consequently, we often focus on how important it is to create and implement a communication strategy that is based on this medium, which is undoubtedly the highest-performing in terms of effectiveness, comprehensibility, and memorability. But also the one that is most capable of triggering audience interactions and engagement.

In this article we remain within this groove, but focusing our attention on a very specific topic that is more topical than ever: we refer to the field of HTML5 video.

The topic has a whole series of fundamental technical implications. We’ll try not to go into too much detail, aiming for a sort of “behind-the-scenes” look into a topic that is having (and will increasingly have) decisive repercussions on the way companies and creators can design, publish, and distribute their videos on websites and on any kind of platform.

So, let’s start with the basics and understand the differences between HTML and HTML5.

The differences between HTML and HTML5: a matter of updates

HTML is an acronym that we are all familiar with. It stands for “HyperText Markup Language” and, quite simply, it’s the standard language used for creating sites on the world wide web since its inception. 

HTML5 is the latest version of the HTML language, a version released in what we might call the now “distant” 2014.  

(The last update of its predecessor, HTML4, was as far back as December 1999.)

Beware, though: HTML5 is a version that continuously updates one of its strengths (and we will come back to this later when we focus on the main benefits of moving to this new standard). 

In particular, the recent updates on the video handling and interactivity front are very important and interesting.

HTML5 video has the stated purpose of opening up new standards for video playback without the use of additional plug-ins and proprietary players, such as, to take a well-known example, Adobe Flash Player. In short, developers can embed video directly into the code of a page via the <video> tag, and as a result, can create even interactive multimedia experiences directly in the browser.

This is a really central point. But it’s not the only one. 

Here, we will quickly look at other elements that differentiate HTML5 from the previous version:

Canvas element: HTML5 introduced the <canvas> element, which allows dynamic, scriptable rendering of graphics, animations, and interactive displays directly in the browser, without the need for external plugins.

Improve forms: several new input types have been introduced for forms, such as date, email, URL, and number, which simplify the creation and validation of user input. In addition, there are new form elements such as <datalist> to provide autocomplete suggestions and <progress> to display the progress of a task.

Improve semantics: Without getting too technical, these are elements that make it easier for search engines to understand the content. All of this translates into a very impactful improvement on everything to do with ranking and SEO strategies (we will come back to this point, which is decisive when we talk about HTML5 video)

Offline support and storage: technologies such as Application Cache and Web Storage (localStorage and sessionStorage) are implemented, allowing web applications to run offline and store data locally on the user’s device.  

Geolocation: HTML5 provides a geolocation API that allows web sites to access information about the user’s location (with the user’s permission, of course), enabling location-based functionality in web applications.

Integration with CSS3: CSS3 is the most up-to-date version of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets version 3), a web programming language that is used to describe the appearance and formatting of a website to the client-side browser. CSS3 introduced many new styling capabilities and effects for web page design and layout.

These were some of the most important verses that differentiate HTML5 update from previous versions. 

Now, let’s look at the main benefits of implementing this new standard.

The main benefits of HTML5 video

Aas anticipated, and beyond the more technical differences, let’s look at the most concrete and operational HTML5-related benefits. 

We have summarized them around 9 themes:

1) Greater simplicity

This is a central point that we have already touched on. Previous versions of HTML enabled mainly static sites that needed several integrations to perform at their best. HTML5, on the other hand, natively supports video and audio and thus makes use of older tools such as JavaScript, Flash, or Silverlight unnecessary (or at least optional).

2) Increased security

This is related to the previous point. Having a more simplified, unified, and native management makes the website less exposed to malicious attack attempts. 

This is fundamental.

3) Continuous updating

HTML5 is not just the successor to HTML4. In fact, it’s a standard that is continuously updated based on changes in the web ecosystem, virtually in real time.

4) Speed and responsiveness, especially on mobile

As HTML has been updated, better standards have been implemented to keep websites running more smoothly even on smaller, less powerful devices. 

As we said above: the last HTML4 updates were in 1999: so we’re talking about an era before smartphones became widely used.

Around the world, more than 6.8 billion smartphones are used today (key4biz.com). 

Users who connect to the internet via smartphones are 92.3% of the total (explodingtopics.com).

5) Compatibility issues

Initially, compatibility was precisely the main obstacle to the massive adoption of the new HTML5 standard. 

If the browser did not know how to parse an HTML5 video tag, for example, various errors and unreachable pages could be generated.

Now, however, the dynamic has begun to reverse: as browsers are upgraded, the main compatibility risks will increasingly be borne by sites that are written according to the old HTML4 standards. 

This will only grow as time passes.

6) Elasticity in error handling

HTML up to HTML4 was based on the SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) standard, which is now quite outdated for today’s web applications. 

HTML5 goes decisively beyond this standard.

This fact has a whole range of important technical consequences in terms of performance and reliability.  

In addition, there are fundamental consequences in terms of elasticity, especially in the handling of code compilation errors. 

In fact, a small error will no longer result in a very intrusive problem for those viewing the page or, even, pages that are unreachable.

7) Web storage capacity

Pay attention to this point, which is really crucial because it has to do with the real engine of the digital revolution: data and user information.

Earlier versions of HTML4 essentially support 4 kilobyte cookies. 

With HTML5 web storage, the data storage space increases to 5-10 megabytes, depending on the browser.  

This all translates into the ability to save and store an extremely large amount of browsing data. As a result, this provides a much more realistic and deeper snapshot of how users interface with your site. 

And from this high-resolution snapshot, it’s possible to implement personalization operations that are increasingly fundamental (and essential) for any online experience and for everything related to digital marketing.

8) Improving SEO

HTML5 is designed to improve everything related to SEO and the ranking of your pages on search engines. 

In terms of the importance of SEO, it is always good to keep this data in mind:

– 93% of online browsing experiences start through search engines (techjury.net). 

– The top five organic results on the first page of Google collect 67.60% of all clicks (martech.org).

– In contrast, only 0.78% of Google users click on results that appear on the second page (backlincko.com).

In addition, embedding videos within your web pages in an optimized manner (as happens with HTML5) improves your ranking in an important way.

For more information on video and SEO strategies, see this post.

9) The boost of interactivity

We will close with an aspect that relates directly to the specific domain of HTML5 video.

We’re referring to the ability to easily and natively incorporate elements of interactivity within a video uploaded to a website.

Why is this point so important, especially when it comes to video marketing? 

For a very simple reason: because it disrupts the traditional paradigm of one-way communication, from the creator to the recipient.

With interactivity, the monologue is transformed into a real dialogue; and storytelling is influenced by the choices of the individual viewer.

Learn more about the potential of Video Interaction in Babelee‘s Video Platform here.

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