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AMP Implications for Content Development and Ad Serving

With the success of Google’s AMP on web page speed and data requirements, Facebook is taking the lead in pre-fetching for ad content. This initiative may dramatically cut down on load time, but it comes with a few qualifiers for optimal performance and delivery. Understand how AMP is changing the way content and ads are being offered up and what steps to take to get the performance promised through the AMP push.

How AMP Impacts Content Development

Google has been doing its research and has found that AMP web pages use 10 times less data and load four times faster when compared with non-AMP pages. A number of well-recognized companies are publishing content in accordance with AMP specifications. Publications include:

  • The New York Times
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • Time Inc.
  • BBC
  • Vox Media
  • ABC News
  • Buzzfeed
  • Gannett
  • The Financial Times

AMP is a golden opportunity for major publishers. Colby Smith, vice president of digital at ABC News said:

“We’ve been working with Google for a number of months. We want to be an early adopter, and we recognize AMP as an opportunity to get stories into the hands of our users faster.”

WordPress is also supporting AMP for content development, considering the addition of an AMP version of content to websites supported by WordPress software. Paul Maiorana, vice president of platform services at WordPress.com parent company Automatic said:

“We want to make it really easy for publishers of all shapes and sizes to publish AMP-formatted pages, from the New York Post all the way down to people running their own personal blogs.”

How Ad Serving May Change with the AMP Initiative

According to a recent Facebook blog post, a process called “pre-fetching” is being launched for ad content. They have shared:

“Today, we’re introducing prefetching – pre-loading mobile content in the Facebook in-app browser before a link is tapped. This can shorten mobile site load time by 29 per cent or 8.5 seconds, improving the experience and decreasing the risk of site abandonment.”

Load time was a major pain point that is being address with this option. However, their additional qualifier may impact the delivery experience. The landing page speed of a website will become part of the equation when it comes to selecting which ads are served to users. Pages that are not mobile optimized may have a significant burden when it comes to ad serving. According to Facebook:

“Over the coming months, we’re working to improve advert experiences for people by considering website performance and a person’s network connection in our advert auction and delivery system. In this way, we can better match adverts to the moments when people can best engage with content.”

Facebook has a number of recommendations to improve mobile performance, such as compressing files, utilizing multi-region hosting and removing any render-blocking JavaScript. In addition to this update, publishers should be aware of how the pre-fetching system may affect stats. The new pre-fetching system can make it appear as that there is an increase in traffic for the publisher that is related to the setting up of third-party click tags.

Understand the Next Steps in Tackling AMP

From what is currently underway, website developers, publishers and marketers will have plenty to do as they play catch up and incorporate AMP specifications to content development and ad serving. Follow us at Digital Turbine for the latest changes as AMP challenges publishers of content and ads.

By Mimi Torrington

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