Google AMP

How AMP Ads are Boosting Ad Revenue for Publishers

Back in 2016 when Google launched the AMP project, it had one goal – better mobile web experience for users. While it was fairly successful, it came with a few challenges related to monetization.

“AMP improves click-through rates by up to 50 percent, but there is the issue of slow ads. Ads aren’t as fast as content right now, but it’s something we’re working on.” — Jarrod Dicker, head of ad products and technology, The Washington Post

Another problem – it didn’t support header bidding, which is an important way for publishers to increase the yield they get from programmatic advertising.

Looking at these issues, Google worked on improving AMP. And this is how AMP has impacted publishers so far:

  • Complex Networks drives a 3x revenue increase with AMP
  • Times of India reports 1.5X more revenue yields, 3.6X faster load time with AMP
  • Triplelift and Cloudflare boost Time Inc.’s revenue with AMP Ads

There are over 100 ad networks that provide demand for AMP ads today. Additionally, AMP ads now pack the following features that make the whole project worth a look:

Also read: The Right Way to Monetize AMP Inventory

1. AMPHTML Ads For All Pages

AMPHTML ads are faster, lighter and more secure than standard ads. They are built using AMP-HTML and use many of the smart components that make AMP pages fast.

AMP ad load time example

Some benefits:

  1. Faster: Up to 6x faster load time than standard ads. This is because the ads are requested earlier in the page rendering process and displayed just before the user is about to view the ad.
  2. Lighter: AMPHTML ads bundle commonly used ad functionality to reduce the ad’s file size. Once on the page, AMPHTML ads consume fewer resources too. For example, instead of 10 separate trackers requesting their own information in regular ads, AMPHTML ads collect all the data once and distribute it to any number of interested trackers.
  3. Safe from Malware: The ads are verified before being served. Because of this, publishers can ensure a safe user experience and positive brand perception.

AMPHTML ads are designed to work on both AMP and non-AMP web pages, across any device, in a variety of standard and creative formats (like carousel, parallax, lightbox).

Faster ads mean better viewability, which translates to increased revenue. Over 100 vendors already support the project, so there’s no lack of demand either. Learn more about AMP ads from experts.

2. Fast Fetch and Real-time Config

Announced in 2017, Fast Fetch is the mechanism that allows ads on AMP pages to load, on an average, 2.7 seconds faster than legacy ads. How? By letting the page make ad requests early and retrieving the ads, but only rendering them when the ad slot is in users’ view.

AMPHTML ad flow fast fetch
Source: AMP.dev

Fast Fetch rendering reduces latency, increases viewability, and improves the end user experience of your ads. All DoubleClick tags on AMP pages support Fast Fetch. With Fast Fetch, ads on AMP pages are fetched asynchronously, and only render when they are likely to be viewed by users.

Google

AMP also announced a feature called Real-Time Config (RTC) which allows publishers to run targeted auctions by calling out upto 5 demand sources (server) .

RTC allows up to 5 callouts to targeting servers for each individual ad slot, the results of which are appended to the ad request. To use RTC on your ads, the ad network you use must support RTC and Fast Fetch.

Source

As an added bonus, RTC is integrated with Prebid Server (Prebid.org’s server-to-server header bidding offering) for ads on AMP pages. This allows publishers to access header bidding demand through AMP’s Fast Fetch capability

As Adam Leslie, Head of Commercial Operations, Metro.co.uk reported that the publisher saw a 6X increase in AMP revenue on their site after adding Prebid Server to their AMP monetization mix.

3. S2S Header Bidding with AMP

The next option, for publishers wanting to try header bidding on their AMP pages, is enabling server-to-server wrapper.

Basically, you can use a wrapper to connect to multiple demand partners via a wrapper interface and dashboards. Moreover, it can also help you overcome limitations of RTC.

With wrapper-based integration, you can call out to as many demand partners for auction as you want. This is how it works:

  • As your AMP page loads on a user’s browser, the defined AMP ad element sends a single call to the wrapper’s server (such as prebid server).
  • The server then conducts a server-to-server auction calling out to demand partners who are looking for AMP inventory.
  • Just like header bidding, the auction is concluded when timeout is reached and the winner gets to display the ad.

The best part is that publishers can even add Google’s Open Bidding (formerly Exchange Bidding) to bid for the AMP inventory.

Once wrapper-based S2S header bidding is set, publishers don’t need to to deal with any of the development and implementation related work – which was already taken care of by your in-house team.

However, if you work with a managed header bidding partner (like AdPushup), they can take care of the development and implementation part for you.

4. Built-in Consent Element

In April and early May 2018, AMP Project released two updates that let publishers build user controls and manage the choices via a new AMP component called <amp-consent>.

This allows publishers to:

  • Determine if the user should be asked to interact with the control: By specifying a remote URL or another amp component to determine if the user will be prompted to make a choice.
  • Capture the user’s consent decision: The user choices can be “accept” or “reject”; if the user doesn’t make any choices, then “unknown”. The publisher can also implement a “dismiss” action (like a “close” button), which will result in neither state being set and the user control remaining unresolved.
  • Makes the user’s setting available to elements on the AMP page to modify the page’s behavior: By adding an HTML attribute, publishers can configure AMP elements to be blocked from loading if the user setting is undetermined or is in a negative state (that is, the user rejected).

This makes it possible to only load ads and/or analytics when user consent is given. Additionally, elements can be further customised by vendors to have more sophisticated behaviors that depend on the user’s setting. Here is the official documentation for implementation.

DFP/AdX and AdSense support <amp-consent> publishers may choose to serve non-personalized ads to users, or they may choose to serve ads selectively based on consent. See the DFP help page for more info.

5. Video Ads on AMP Pages

Facts: AMP is designed to load fast pages and video makes web pages load slow. However, with the rise of video advertising, AMP came out with the solution to run video ads on AMP pages.

AMP allows both in-stream and outstream video ads. In-stream video ads can be rendered using <amp-ima-video> extension. It has all the basic features including auto-play, docking on scroll, and analytics.

video ads using amp
Source: AMP.dev

And for outstream video ads, the basic <amp-ad> extension should work. However, you would still need advertisers looking for AMP inventory to show video ads.

In Closing

As per our in-house data, we have observed a 25% increase in ad revenue for publishers using S2S header bidding on their AMP pages.

Likewise, if you are new to AMP monetization, we would recommend you to go for wrapper based header bidding rather than RTC method. Unless you have an in-house tech team to take care of implementation, the best alternative is to partner with a platform that specializes in AMP monetization (like AdPushup).