AMP Conf 2019. April 17/18. Tokyo.
AMP

Using AMP to make display ads safer, faster and better for users

Ads

Editor’s note: The following post was originally published on the Google Ads Blog by Vamsee Jasti, AMP Product Manager at Google.

The performance benefits and security guarantees offered by AMPHTML ads, which are display ads created using the AMP framework, translate to better advertiser ROI, publisher revenue and overall better user experience. Because of this, Google has expanded serving AMPHTML ads not only to AMP pages, but also to regular web pages. As of January this year, 12% of all display ads served by Google are now AMPHTML ads.

All of the code in the AMP repository is open source which is carefully reviewed by the project maintainers before being merged. As a result, ads written in AMP start performant and stay performant. Such a process also drastically reduces the likelihood of AMPHTML ads having code that takes advantage of chipset level vulnerabilities or drain CPU by crypto-mining from users’ devices. 

Since AMPHTML ads can be trusted, they can be rendered into a more performant same-origin iframe. This performance boost results in the ad rendering faster on page which translates to higher publisher revenue and better advertiser ROI.

Experiment results from GPT.js rendering AMPHTML ads in a same-origin vs cross-origin iframe

AMPHTML ads on AMP pages deliver even better ROI

An AMPHTML ad delivered to an AMP page has better performance compared to the same ad running on a regular web page. This is due to the inherent design of AMPHTML ads outlined here, giving advertisers better click through rates and viewability.

AMP pages have seen steady growth over the past few years and advertisers now have access to well over 1 billion impressions/day worth of premium (from a user experience & ad experience standpoint) inventory. In addition, more than 35 percent of ads served to AMP pages are already AMPHTML ads.

Publishers and Advertisers seeing success with AMP pages and AMPHTML ads

The news publisher EL PAIS partnered with Volkswagen, one of their advertisers, to run a multivariate A/B test measuring how Volkswagen’s display ads created in AMPHTML vs HTML5 would perform on AMP vs regular pages.

Simply moving from a standard HTML page to an AMP page (with the same HTML5 ad) resulted in a 26 percent CTR increase. Moving further to an AMP page with AMPHTML ads resulted in an additional 48 percent CTR increase.

Increase in performance metrics when combining AMP pages with AMPHTML ads

You can read the full case study here.

Getting started with AMPHTML ads for advertisers

AMPHTML ads are a subset of the AMP spec and ships with many good-by-default ads UI components, an analytics measurement framework, a spam detection system, viewability measurement and other building blocks to create a good and measurable ad.

We encourage you to read more about the benefits of using AMPHTML ads, but if you want to jump ahead to start creating them, this is a good place to begin.

Once you have created the ad, you can choose one of the following options to serve AMPHTML ads: 

  1. Work with an Authorized Buyer that allows to target just AMP or regular inventory 
  2. Use Google Ads to target inventory in the Google Display Network
  3. Direct buy with publishers using Google Ad Manager
  4. [Coming Soon] Display & Video 360 support to deliver AMPHTML ads to AMP pages

Google continues to invest in delivering better user ad experiences by increasing the share of AMPHTML ads vs regular ads. Once mobile app support launches in Q2, 2019, advertisers can fully transition to creating a single AMPHTML ad and have it render across all environments and devices.

We hope you’ll take full advantage of the performance, security benefits and the increased ROI by choosing to build & serve AMPHTML ads in your next campaign.

Posted by Vamsee Jasti, AMP Product Manager at Google

Volkswagen and EL PAÍS increase conversions by 76% with the first end-to-end AMP campaign

Ads

Volkswagen, one of the world’s largest automotive companies, sought to improve the user experience of potential customers for their 2019 Tiguan TDI 150 R Line. Given their business goals and desire to test the state-of-the-art in speed and performance, they decided to test AMP technology for both their landing page, and the ad  creatives that would drive users there. 

EL PAÍS, a company within the Prisa Group, is the world’s leading Spanish-language news medium, in its digital format. It has 64.7 million unique users per month worldwide. Digital transformation is key to Prisa’s business, and they maintain a position at the forefront of digital innovation.

EL PAÍS was an early adopter of AMP technology, launching their first AMP version of EL PAÍS in 2015. They have been using this technology since then, to serve fast high-quality content to their large audience on mobile. Similarly, EL PAÍS was one of the first adopters globally of AMPHTML ads (ad creatives built with AMP).

Objective

Many news and entertainment publishers already use AMP to deliver beautiful, fast pages to end users across devices. However, the creatives that serve to these pages are typically built with standard HTML, which tend to result in degraded performance and therefore lower ROI for advertisers.

Volkswagen and EL PAÍS, together with the creative agency DDB, media agency PHD, and with the support of Google, have conducted a test to evaluate the benefits of AMPHTML ads.

The Test

EL PAÍS conducted the experiment by configuring four different line items in their ad server, featuring a 2×2 combination of environment (AMP vs. non-AMP) and creative type (AMPHTML vs. HTML). This allowed them to compare the performance characteristics of the AMPHTML creative and its original HTML equivalent, both in an AMP environment and within traditional mobile Web. Additionally, they tested two flavors of landing pages (HTML and AMP), allowing for a full comparison of results throughout the conversion funnel.

Results

After collecting data from more than 2M impressions on mobile devices, AMP technology has shown strong performance increases relative to standard HTML:

  • AMP pages and ads versus standard HTML pages and ads
    • +87% CTR
    • +36% viewability rate
    • +81% visits to landing page
  • AMP Landing Page relative to standard HTML Landing Page
    • +76% conversion rate
    • -43% cost per acquisition

Simply moving from a standard HTML page to an AMP page (with the same standard HTML ad) resulted in a 26% CTR increase. Moving further to an AMP page with an AMPHTML ad resulted in an additional 48% CTR increase.

The AMP page also add an extra +76% Cvr versus the standard HTML page.

Conclusions

Prisa’s test demonstrated that AMP’s superior performance characteristics can deliver meaningful ROI benefits to advertisers. Improved viewability and conversion rates result in lower user acquisition costs, and the benefit is multiplied when AMP pages and AMPHTML ads are deployed together. And not only does AMP provide positive ROI for publishers and advertisers, it does it while improving the end user experience, yielding a more sustainable web for everyone. 

Posted by Pilar Sanchez, Mobile Specialist, Google

Ads on AMP pages became safer and more user-friendly in 2018

Ads

In the past year, the AMP team took advantage of the latest browser features to keep users safe & deliver a jank-free browsing experience. Because AMP powers billions of ads and pages on the web, these updates required no work from content creators or ad networks, making all AMP pages safer and faster for all users. Additionally we directly funded the implementation of the underlying security primitives in WebKit, so we’re happy to be able to extend the same security level to users of Apple’s Safari browser.

Iframe Sandboxing FTW

Iframe sandboxing allows web developers to set restrictions on iframe capabilities (e.g. the rendering of display ads). AMP now uses this feature to sandbox all ads, eliminating attacks such as auto-redirecting which could previously be performed by ads.

 An illustration of auto-redirect ads

A combination of ‘allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation‘ and ‘allow-popups-to-escape-sandbox‘ attributes on the iframe gives web developers a practical way forward. It protect users on the primary site, while allowing the landing page to be functional.

Sandbox FeatureDescription
allow-top-navigation-by-user-activationEnsures navigation from within an ad only happens on user action.
allow-popups-to-escape-sandboxRemoves any sandbox restrictions on the landing page of the ad.

Initially users were only protected on Chrome. So we funded Igalia to add these features (link, link) and many others to WebKit, Safari’s open source browser engine. All users on Safari, Chrome and other browsers that support the underlying sandbox primitives (about 75% of mobile web usage) are protected from auto-redirects.

Aggressively Deprecating Synchronous Requests

Synchronous requests are bad for user experience because they can completely block all user interaction with a page until the network request succeeds or fails.

     An illustration of a ‘sync-xhr’ side effect

Since display ads don’t pay for the externality (e.g. web page jank) they create, they have no incentive to write the most efficient code. Not only does this result in a bad page experience, this opens up a bad vulnerability that could help the ad creator. The most obvious way to drive up viewability of an ad is to fire off some heavy synchronous requests as soon as the ad gets into the viewport. This results in the ad creator earning better viewability while the page experience suffers dearly.

Thankfully, Chrome now allows a feature policy called ‘control Synchronous XMLHttpRequest’ that allows deprecating sync XHRs on iframes.

AMP launched this feature policy for all ads served to AMP pages. We are also experimenting with implementing this for all iframes on AMP pages.

Scaling Impact with AMP

Millions of content creators have published AMP pages so far and 100+ ad networks have integrated with AMP. We’ve been able to roll out these changes to hundreds of millions of users without any new work from the content creator or the ad network. All it took was a few lines of code submitted to AMP’s open source repo.

One of the less obvious advantages of AMP is its ability to keep up with the latest browser features and automagically bring the entire ecosystem running on the safest & most user-friendly slice of the web. For a website owner, a one time investment in AMP provides ongoing dividends.  

It’s a humbling opportunity to advance the web at this scale, make it safe and deliver an excellent user experience for everyone. What are some other features that we can ship to a large part of the internet in 2019? Let us know.

Posted by Vamsee Jasti, Product Manager at Google, AMP Project