Google wants to help publishers improve ad viewability with its Accelerated Mobile Pages


Gingras: “AMP has a strong opportunity to affect a site’s average viewability metrics”

Google says it wants to help publishers tackle ad viewability, claiming its new mobile offering will improve a website’s viewability metrics.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which was first announced last October, will allow local publishers, including Ninemsn and Fairfax Media, to cache content on Google’s servers, which means users around the world should see pages upload to their devices almost instantly.

Speaking with Mumbrella, Google head of news, Richard Gingras, said: “The primary objective is how do we make sure the internet evolves and that it continues to be as compelling and as relevant as we’d all like it to be, particularly in an environment where proprietary platforms, social networking platforms and messaging platforms are obviously taking some degree of mindshare from users.”

Gingras says this is the “strategic construct” behind the AMP project which saw publishers collaborate with the search engine giant to improve the overall mobile web experience.

“AMP has a strong opportunity to affect a site’s average viewability metrics,” said Gingras.

“One of the problems in today’s ecosystem since things aren’t necessarily smartly-loaded – the ads are being loaded onto pages, including at the bottom – is that the user may never get to see them.

“Let’s be realistic, we know that if ten people come and visit an article page not everyone is going to get to the bottom.

“If, when they came and read the first two paragraphs and all the ads were loaded in, none of them were seen, the viewability metric goes down.

“We can be a lot smarter on how we manage the ad experience to the benefit of the user and the publisher and advertiser.”

It’s a problem Gingras claims AMP can solve, as webpages optimised by AMP load content first and ads second, and only loading content the user is looking at.

“AMP loads the content first and the ads second – it’s the content the users came for. We want the ad to be there as soon as the user is ready to see it,” he said.

“When a user comes to the page what should be presented to the user should be the part that they see, let’s worry about the component at the lower end of the page when they start to scroll.

“These are surprisingly valuable efficiencies that have now shown, in our analysis, the average AMP page is 10 times smaller than a non-AMP page, and five times faster; and, in fact, it allows the pages to be instantaneous if you do all of those things properly.”

The rise of adblockers Gingras says is a “symptom of an ecosystem that has gone awry”.

“If one simply thinks ‘how can we block the ad blockers’, we’re not going to win. It’s about how we can take and evolve ad behaviours so they are effective and acceptable to consumers,” he said.

“The world has been seeing advertising for a long time and for the most part consumers recognise ads as having value.”

It is these issues that the AMP project looks to solve; however, Gingras rejects the idea that the search engine giant partners with publishers.

“In a sense there’s no partnership required, this is an open source project. AMP HTML is as open and available to anyone who wants to use it as HTML is,” he said.

“We think the technology is powerful and valuable enough that I expect we’ll see publishers, authors and companies of all kinds of websites using AMP because it is efficient.

“It’s not simply about news publishers or media publishers, it could as well be an e-commerce site.”

Miranda Ward


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