AMP – How are we to benefit from it?

Tomer Leicht

The AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages project, is a website publishing technology led by Google for the purpose of improving the performance and user experience for mobile web content. In other words, it promises to ultimately speed up the internet for the benefit of the end user.

Starting from the end

A site that is AMP optimized will incorporate only the basic minimum elements necessary to maintain the site’s essence and content. One of the forbidden technologies for AMP optimized sites, among others, is Javascript, used as the foundation for many ad-serving technologies in today’s programmatic advertising landscape.

How does it work?

Publishers looking to create an AMP optimized site will in fact create a “duplicate” version of their site that will be aligned with the AMP specifications. The result of this is that publishers will have two versions to their site: the regular site that is located under their URL www.company.com, and a secondary AMP optimized site that is located as sub-pages to the primary site: www.company.com/page/amp. There is also the option to replace your site altogether with an AMP optimized site, built to AMP’s specifications. This might leave you with a fairly stripped down site.

How does AMP affect digital advertising?

Since Javascript is forbidden, then programmatic advertising operations running on publisher sites will be significantly affected, harming publishers’ monetization.

So what’s the catch?  

For monetization efforts to remain unharmed, publishers are able to incorporate multiple pre-screened servers via a single javascript tag, somewhat like the single tag header bidding model. This will automatically speed up the loading of pages that use several servers. The tag is then loaded to Google’s server. By including the critical screening stage in the qualification process, problematic ad servers are easily screened out to create a more contained and cleaner programmatic ecosystem.

What happens if your ad-server is not AMP approved?

For publishers looking to continue working with non-AMP-approved servers or players, there is yet another loophole. They can display their ads through an external AMP iframe tag that will allow them to add JavaScript code hosted on their own websites. The downside is that having the code pass through iframe, means that publishers will not have access to the full scope of data as with code inserted directly on their site. In order to keep the iframe addition from slowing down the site’s loading time, AMP will first load the page’s core content and thereafter, load the amp-iframe.

While this methodology enables publishers to continue business as usual, the downside is that they may still be exposed to serving invasive scripts to their users. The recommended path for publishers is to check your ad server’s AMP certification status and partner with pre-approved ad servers for a more efficient monetization process.