What are amp ads

What Are AMP Ads? The Ultimate Guide For Publishers 2022

AMP ads, which are otherwise known as AMPHTML ads, are specialized mobile-optimized ads that fuse Accelerated Mobile Pages with HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) to dynamically deliver ad creatives that are lighter, faster, and more secure.

You can trace their roots to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, which rolled out in 2015 to give mobile users a better and more seamless web experience.

Now, to put it into perspective, we’re talking about those fast-loading web page versions that you get to open directly from some of the links on mobile search.

So monumental was their post-launch growth that by the time mobile was surpassing the 50% share of the global website traffic in 2018, more than 31 million domains had already adopted AMP technology. And, in terms of page coverage, it turns out that in just one year, over 2 billion of them were already rendering in AMP.

In contrast, however, it just so happens that AMP ads haven’t seen as much success as their AMP page counterparts. While Google itself admits to recording an annual uptick of as much as 1100%, AMP ads are still lagging behind HTML5-based ads in terms of usage - despite all the obvious benefits they reportedly offer.

Curious why that is so? Could AMP ads possibly be all hype with no performance? Let’s find out…

What Are Google AMP Ads?

As we’ve established already, Google AMP Ads refers to a version of display ads that utilize Accelerated Mobile Page structures and HTML - all in a bid to speed up the delivery of ad creatives, as well as minimize the overall resource load.

While the regular Google ads are built on HTML 5, Google AMP ads are written using AMP-HTML that is based on a set of predefined ad specs provided by Google.

These specs come in the form of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript libraries, all of which you should find in the AMP Open Source Project libraries.

Now, the good thing about this framework is, it eliminates the ad performance issues that are typically triggered by arbitrary JavaScript.

Whereas the delivery of standard display ads is substantially slowed down by different forms of arbitrary JavaScript code, AMP ads are restricted to the JavaScript structures that are integrated right into the AMP Open Source project.

This system of streamlining JavaScript ultimately leads to much smoother and lighter ad delivery. And in terms of figures, AMP ads are reported to be up to three times lighter than their regular HTML5-based counterparts.

But, that’s not all. Google supplements that by pulling and rendering the lightweight ads way before users begin interacting with the ad. And as a result, the delivery is almost instantaneous when they are finally displayed to the users.

It’s worth noting, however, that the final delivery speed depends on the types of pages on which you choose to publish the AMP ads.

You see, the thing with Google AMP ads is, they’re versatile enough to be published on AMP and non-AMP pages. That’s one of the similarities you’ll find between AMPHTML ads and their traditional HTML5 counterparts.

Interestingly, though, the performance of AMP ads is not uniform across the board. While they consistently outperform HTML5-based ads on both AMP and non-AMP pages, it’s the former category of pages that facilitate the fastest Google AMP ad speeds.

Overall, you can expect that on AMP pages, AMPHTML ads will run about 6 times faster than regular ads.

How Do AMP Ads Work?

Although the process of building AMP ads on an AMP page might seem relatively simple on paper, the practical bit can be pretty confusing to beginners.

You’ll notice, for instance, that Google has a predefined set of ad specs that must be followed to the letter.

The AMP ad code that you place on the page should be structured according to the provided HTML, CSS, and JavaScript libraries. What’s more, you’ll be required to specify the type, layout, width, and height of your AMP ad displays.

Keep in mind, though, that Google AMPHTML ads do not run with just any ad provider. The current system only supports about 100 different ad networks, through which you can serve your AMP ads.

Once you manage to confirm that your preferred ad network is compatible, you can go ahead and set the appropriate data attributes.

In the end, you should be able to systematically deliver the AMP ads as follows:

  • The process begins when a mobile user gains access to your webpage on an amp-ad tag. This tag will automatically generate and relay an ad request to the AMP ad server.
  • Once the AMP ad server receives the request, it will channel it directly to the relevant demand partners and ad networks that support AMPHTML ads.
  • The system subsequently retrieves ad creatives, which are then reviewed by the AMP Validator.
  • In the end, the most suitable ad creative is chosen based on your preset qualification criteria. This is what is finally displayed to the web user.

So, in a way, you could say that AMP ads tend to be much more technical than AMP pages.

This is turning out to be a huge problem because, although publishers are increasingly excited about the prospects of AMP ads, a majority of them lack the deep technical knowledge required here.

And if you ask the ones who’ve managed to take the plunge, quite a number of AMP ad publishers admit to struggling with the whole process of monetizing their AMP pages and ads.

This explains why the adoption of AMP ads has been slow through the years. And to put it into perspective, they only make up about 12% of the display ads on Google, whereas the regular HTML5-based assets account for 88%.

Snigel is an official AMP-supported vendor. If you are interested in running AMP ads on your website, make sure to get in touch with our ad ops experts.

Why Use AMP Ads?

While AMP ads have their fair share of technical challenges, at least they are guaranteed to benefit both publishers and audiences in a myriad of ways.

In particular, they have proven to be much more superior to regular ads when it comes to:

  1. Speeding up ad delivery.
  2. Enhancing user experience.
  3. Safeguarding ads against malware.
  4. Making ads leaner and much lighter.
  5. Adapting to different conditions and environments.
  6. Streamlining the collection of ad performance insights.

These are the fundamental reasons why you should seriously consider joining the league of AMP ad publishers.

And to give you a better idea of what you should expect here's a more in-depth review of the key highlights:

#1 Speeds Up Your Ad Delivery

Thanks to its intelligent design and pre-loading capabilities, AMP is exceedingly changing how ads are developed, processed, and relayed.
Mobile users are no longer being thrown off by the blank HTML5 page sections that take ages to load their arbitrary JavaScript. By preloading lightweight resources that are built on predefined open-source libraries, AMP ads have reduced the wait time to almost zero. Google now hits them with the relevant targetted ads as they scroll.

#2 Enhances User Experience

AMP ads are not just about boosting loading speeds. That’s only one of the factors that they count on to streamline the delivery of native ads through programmatic advertising.

Just like AMP-enabled pages, the ultimate goal behind AMPHTML ads is to provide mobile users with the best possible user experience. They are built to not only load instantaneously but also engage viewers in a manner that is smooth and non-intrusive.

You’ll notice, for instance, that AMP ads manage to maintain increased performance without overloading your mobile phone’s limited resources. This is courtesy of the AMP runtime, which intelligently coordinates and prioritizes resources while implementing custom elements.

If your site is showing animated AMP ads, for example, they’ll only run when users get to their individual viewports. Then as users subsequently begin to scroll to other sections of the page, they’ll pause and cease playing.

Another thing you’ll like about AMP ads is their immaculate integration with web pages.

While traditional HTML5-based ads tend to appear as disjoined overlays, AMP ads transform their ad assets to complement the look and feel of your site. This gives viewers an uncluttered layout to work with.

#3 Offers Protection From Malware And Bugs

As we’ve mentioned already, the AMP framework comes with a robust validation system that checks and tests all forms of AMPHTML ads beforehand. This should help you flag up any inconsistencies and bugs that may otherwise compromise the efficacy of your AMP ads.

You can, for instance, rely on it to keep your audience safe from all the common types of adware and potentially harmful third-party software. AMP ads are only delivered after they’ve been thoroughly checked and confirmed to be free of malware.

The long-term benefit of all that is, you get to consistently maintain a clean record with your audience - which over time, builds trust in not only your site, but also the brands featured in your ads.

#4 Eliminates Complexities During Implementation

While the process of encoding AMP ads might seem technically complicated, at least they make up for that by streamlining everything during implementation.

All the elements are methodically compressed to display the right ads to the right audiences at the right time - while using up the least amount of system resources.

This is essentially how you’ll even be able to minimize the ad file sizes.

You see, AMPHTML ads follow a structure that consolidates multiple ad functionalities into a single unified undertaking.

When it comes to data monitoring, for instance, AMP ads have found a reliable way to eliminate the numerous trackers that typically accompany standard ads. Instead of working with multiple independent trackers, AMPHTML ads use a centralized system to collectively gather all the relevant data, before eventually distributing it separately to all the interested trackers.

Such are the lean approaches that supplement AMP lazy-loading techniques to achieve instant ad delivery while, at the same time, minimizing the corresponding resource demands.

#5 Flexible And Dynamic

Don’t be misled by the seemingly static layout that you’ve probably have seen on AMP pages and ads. Although they might appear bland and overly minimalistic from time to time, AMP ads can be very flexible and dynamic if you get to learn the ropes.

When it comes to building ads, for instance, the AMP framework doesn’t restrict you to display ad formats. It happens to support even different forms of native and video ads, as well as creative media compositions like carousels, lightboxes, and parallax.

Another interesting thing about AMP ads is, you really don’t have to set up AMP pages to run the ads. It turns out that AMP ads are fully capable of thriving even on non-AMP web pages.

What’s more, they are compatible with all the major CMS platforms - WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix, Joomla, Drupal, Wix, you name it.

A word of caution, though. While pairing AMP ads with non-AMP pages generates decent results, the best performance comes from AMP ads that are built on AMP pages. So, you might want to maintain both forms of AMP across all your ad pages.

#6 Streamlines Collection Of Ad Performance Insights

In addition to improving delivery speeds and user experience, AMP ads are specially engineered to help you with the tracking, measurement, and analysis of your campaign performance.

By default, the amp-analytics component should be able to track and generate insights across key performance indicators such as ad viewability, ad clicks, completion rates, and ad conversions.

Otherwise, feel free to configure the same component to measure your preferred ad and page parameters.

But, that’s not all. It’s also possible to work with third-party analytics vendors, as Google’s AMP framework happens to support the likes of Captain Metrics, Google Analytics, Nielsen Marketing Cloud, Clicky Web Analytics, etc

And while you’re at it, the system further allows you to work with multiple vendors at once. They won’t be adding their own trackers, though - rather, the AMPHTML ads will do all the digging for them, and then distribute the resultant data to the respective vendors.

That’s a thoughtful way of facilitating multiple analytics vendors without overloading the system with third-party trackers.

Over To You

And there you have it.

All the basics of AMP ads, their benefits, plus what you should expect in the long run.

Now, with all that considered, we can conclusively say that AMP ads are worth trying out if you’re looking to improve your ad delivery speeds, user experience, and engagement rates.

This, in the long run, could potentially lead to increased ad revenue and profitability.

Then get this - what makes AMP ads even more pertinent is the recent allegations that Google itself could be throttling the loading speeds of non-AMP ads.

While the company continues to deny it and publishers proceed to protest in disapproval, you might want to play it safe by taking Google’s preferred approach.

Besides, you already have Snigel’s specialized experts and tools at your disposal to assist with all the technicalities.

You can go ahead and confirm it all from the success stories that we’ve had with different publishers. You too have the opportunity to take advantage of the same ad optimizations as you embark on your AMP ads journey.

This is the type of stuff that’ll progressively help you to maximize ad revenue over the long haul.

Just get in touch with us today and we’ll set it all up for you.


About the Author

Ira is Snigel's Head Of Marketing. She supports our team and publishers by creating awesome guides on the latest adtech trends. Ira's background is in software development, communications, and media.


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