Google Shares AMP Ad Performance, Roadmap

With last week’s publication of the official AMP roadmap and this week’s first broad look at advertising performance on AMP pages, we took two big steps toward flipping the script on ads and AMP. Instead of a reason for hesitation, advertising performance should be a driving force for AMP adoption.

First, a look at the KPIs. In a comparison of AMP and non-AMP mobile pages across 150 publishers using Google’s programmatic ad platforms, Google reported that:

  • 80%+ of publishers are seeing improved viewability rates.
  • 90%+ are seeing higher click-through rates.
  • Most are seeing higher eCPMs.

Anecdotally, one publisher in Google’s study reported a 32% increase in eCPM and a 65% increase in ad engagement.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. This is exactly what we should have expected. Ads perform better on fast, clean pages because users actually stick around to view them. (And over time, may be less likely to block them.)

As for the worry that AMP will limit premium formats and creativity, AMP’s ad roadmap is a clear and encouraging counterpoint. AMP ad efforts are proceeding in three ways:

  1. Supporting familiar formats. In addition to standard banners and video pre-roll, key mobile web formats are being adapted for AMP. For example, the “sticky” or “adhesion” unit is in development on the Q2 roadmap. The current spec calls for certain rules to protect user experience: The unit will appear after the user has scrolled past one screen of content and can be no taller than 1/6th of the screen or 100 pixels. It’s a slightly more polite version of an old standby.
  2. Creating new formats that are both eye-catching and respectful. Check out this “flying carpet” format, also on deck for Q2. Resetting the rules and expectations for ad creative can inspire a new phase of invention.
  3. [caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”202"]
Flying Carpet Ad Concept
  1. Flying Carpet Concept[/caption]
  2. Making ads as fast as content — or close. One of the odd consequences of instantly-loading AMP content is that ad latency — which is a big issue on the standard mobile web — is even more noticeable. Soon AMP will support ad creative in AMP format (“A4A” or “AMP for Ads”) which means that ads can be rendered as smoothly and quickly as content. This could provide a huge lift in viewability, as mobile users often scroll past ad holes before the ads have a chance to load.

Not every obtrusive, heavy, resource-gobbling ad format on today’s mobile web will work on AMP; that’s the point. AMP isn’t hostile to ads, it’s only hostile to bad experiences.

Fixing today’s mobile web is a business mandate. Enough stakeholders have recognized this reality — including ad tech companies, agencies and publishers — that support for AMP development and innovation is growing every day. This includes thought leadership and robust experimentation around the next generation of ad products.

If you’re a publisher who’s ready to participate in AMP, or a like-minded company looking to collaborate, please contact us by emailing info@relaymedia.com!