Better user experience and browsing speeds have always been at the forefront of discussions involving better digital service delivery. The internet has come a long way since the 20th century, and with the constant demand for a better browsing experience, Google launched the AMP(Accelerated Mobile Pages) Open Source Project in 2015 with an aim to build a mobile-first digital content ecosystem.
This project proved to be a success as it was effective in reducing the content load time on AMP pages. However, since this model was initially based on maximizing user experience, HTML(Hypertext Markup Language) ads didn’t perform well on these pages. Therefore, AMP had to start supporting advertising for gradual and widespread adoption by publishers. This is where AMPHTML ads come in.
With AMPHTML ads, publishers can have the best of both worlds — the power of AMP technology to quickly serve high-quality ads and the customizability of HTML to create beautiful advertisements. AMPHTML ads can be served directly in your AMP documents, which makes the ad experience much faster than if it had to travel out to an external domain before being displayed.
To learn more about how to use AMPHTML ads, follow along below as we dive into what they are and how you can get started using them on your website today.
What Are AMPHTML Ads?
With AMP, webpages are built in a way that allows them to load content fast on all devices. Therefore, integrating AMPHTML ads into your AMP pages presents a lot of potential improvements and benefits. The good thing about AMPHTML ads is that they are only delivered after validation and can work effectively on both AMP and non-AMP web pages. What’s more, AMPHTML ads come with various goodies, such as ad UI components, analytics measurement, spam detection systems, and viewability measurement, among other necessary tools.
Since AMPHTML ads are flexible and can be used in any ad format, including banners, pre-roll video ads, pop-ups, or native units like in-feed ads, you do not need to change anything about your current advertising strategy if you decide to adopt this new technology.
Below are some of the common AMPHTML ad formats:
- Flying Carpet – The Flying Carpet ad unit essentially creates a unique, full-screen scrolling container that allows for the display of a full-screen ad without taking up the entire viewable area. The ad content is placed inside a container with a fixed height, as the user scrolls the page, the Flying Carpet ad unit reveals more of its content, sliding across the ad elements as if it were a window within the page.
- Standard Ad Unit – Ads using AMP-HTML load quicker. They are created using AMP-HTML and incorporate many of the clever elements that speed up AMP pages.
- Sticky Footer – The sticky footer adds an advertisement to the bottom of the user’s browser and maintains it there constantly while they navigate the page. This ad unit is intended to assist publishers in improving their audience’s ad experiences while raising viewability and CPMs.
AMPHTML Ads vs. HTML5
AMPHTML ads are much easier and faster on the web browser since they are designed specifically to work with the mobile web. What sets them even further apart from traditional HTML ads is their validation process which brings safety into the picture. The AMPHTML ad verification process ensures that no malicious code integrates with your banner files, which effectively dispels ad fraud.
If AMPHTML Ads Are Faster and Safer, Why Is the Adoption Rate Low?
AMP for ads is a vendor-neutral initiative, supporting legacy web advertising in a way that mitigates the ads’ impact on the pages they’re embedded into. It does this by ensuring that web content loads first. This design feature, together with AMP’s aggressive optimization for speedy web content, significantly increases page and ad load times while reducing the effect that traditional ads would have on user experience.
By 2019, Google had recorded an 11x year-on-year increase in serving of AMPHTML ads, with AMPHTML ads contributing to about 12% of ads served by Google in the same year. In another study, news publisher, EL PAIS, partnered with their advertisers, Volkswagen, in an end-to-end AMP campaign which resulted in a 76% increase in conversions with AMPHTML ads embedded on AMP pages having better CTR numbers(48% increase).
Despite all these attractive features and figures, the low adoption rate of AMPHTML ads shows that HTML5 ads are still preferred, and it’s for the following reasons:
1. Lack of Technical Expertise
2. Most Ad Creatives Are in HTML5
HTML5 ads have been in existence longer than AMPHTML ads which may account for why they’re more popular with advertisers. A drastic change to the latter is a huge challenge for all parties involved since it would need heavy investment in time, money, and technical expertise.
3. The Lack of Support From Ad Networks and Advertisers
Google sets a good example by supporting AMPHTML ads on Google Ad Manager and AdSense; however, not many ad networks follow suit, leading to low adoption. Additionally, since most publishers work with multiple ad networks, they risk losing some monetization opportunities if they solely focus on AMP ads.
4. Myths on AMP
Most people don’t understand how AMP works, leading to the misconception that AMPHTML ads can only serve one type of ad per page. Also, there’s the myth that AMP is owned by Google, which is utterly incorrect since it’s an open-source community project. The misconception that revenues are lower on AMP compared to mobile web is also false since numerous studies indicate an increase in user rates and revenue on previously slow mobile pages once AMP is integrated.
It’s clear that AMPHTML is the best for publishers to optimize their content for better user experience, higher CTRs, and in turn, handsome revenues, but to ensure we’re all on the same page, how exactly do AMPHTML ads work?
How Do AMPHTML Ads Work?
AMP ads use a special type of HTML that is different from regular HTML5 but shares a similar process. When someone visits your site, the amp-ad tag sends a request to the AMP ad server to fetch an ad. The server then passes this request to the necessary ad networks and advertisers who serve AMPHTML ads.
What follows is that the ad creatives are collected and validated through AMP’s Fast Fetch Network Implementation to ensure the ad is using accurate syntax. Once an eligible ad wins, the ad creative is selected and displayed on the user’s mobile page.
This process is similar for both AMP and non-AMP mobile web pages.
Benefits of AMP ads
From faster page load times to a safer browsing experience, the benefits of using AMP are clear. Below are some of the benefits of integrating AMP ads;
1. Fast Ad Rendering
AMPHTML ads are requested earlier in the page rendering process and are promptly displayed just before the user comes to the ad’s viewpoint. This, combined with the lightweight nature of AMPHTML ads, results in a better and fast browsing experience.
2. Better User Experience
The AMP runtime coordinates the user behavior and the mobile phone’s resources for a seamless user experience. For example, AMPHTML video ads are paused whenever they are no longer in the user’s viewpoint. This and more coordinative characteristics lead to better overall engagement in terms of viewability stats, CTRs, and other aspects of ad performance.
3. Better Use of Resources
AMPHTML ads are made lightweight. They have features that greatly reduce the ad file size, which in turn dispels the need to use a lot of resources in an ad creative. For example, by taking advantage of historical requests, they avoid the need to use multiple trackers.
AMPHTML ads are flexible and accommodating, meaning they work on both AMP and non-AMP mobile web pages.
5. Security From Ad Fraud
By taking advantage of AMP’s system of ad verification, it is possible to detect ad fraud attempts early and often. This ensures a safe user experience and helps advertisers protect their brand image.
How Can Publishers Get Started With AMPHTML Ads?
In the case of direct deals, publishers have the option to optimize or try hand-coding the creatives and use servers that support AMPHTML ad serving, such as Google’s Ad Manager and AdSense, to deliver creatives.
For publishers with programmatic deals, they can simply partner with an ad management solution that offers AMPHTML Ads. As long as your website meets the requirements, then you will be able to add AMPHTML Ad units onto your site.
Partner With Freestar
AMPHTML ads promise a potential high performance of ad creatives, better user experience, higher profits for publishers, and overall better return on investment(ROI) for advertisers. In a digital world where the best always outlives the inferior, taking the step to start your journey with AMPHTML ads, like many publishers and advertisers have, is one you will never regret. You can begin the change to a better performance with AMP today by partnering with Freestar.
Freestar is a robust, automated platform that offers cutting-edge AMP technology for better monetization of publisher websites. Having acquired Triple13, a force to reckon with in the AMP monetization space, our team has some of the most talented industry experts, allowing us to offer the best of tailored services.
For a seamless implementation of your new AMP ad stack, reach out to Freestar for a partnership.