AMP Ads For Faster And Better Advertising

If you build websites or manage accounts for Google Ads, I’m sure you’ve heard of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). AMP pages are designed to create faster, smoother experiences for mobile users. Originally created for news websites and blogs, your design and tracking options are limited, and this has lead to mixed reviews amongst the developer community. We are all well aware of the relationship between page load time and user experience, but have you thought about the impact your ads load time could have on your consumer interactions?

The developers at Google and AMP Project did, and what they discovered could be a hidden goldmine for advertisers.

What Is AMPHTML?

In a nutshell, AMPHTML ads are a safer, faster and lighter way to advertise on the web. AMP ads written in AMP HTML ad spec and are unable to run unnecessary javascript – they have a dramatically lower number of bytes which allows them to perform better.

The performance benefits of serving AMP ads has lead to a substantial enough increase in user experience for Google to start serving AMP ads not only to AMP pages but to regular pages too, in fact, as of January 2019, 12% of all ads served by Google are AMPHTML. The future looks bright for AMP ads, and there’s a good reason for that.

Here is an example of an AMPHTML ad (right) vs an HTML5 ad

 

How do AMP HTML Ads work?

AMP ads are rendered immediately, thanks to Fast Fetch Rendering.

Basically, AMP ads and AMP pages ads are fetched asynchronously and are only rendered when a user is about to see them. With normal ads, the publisher’s page takes first priority and the ads are loaded after the page has loaded, this means that some users might view an ad before it’s had the chance to load fully, resulting in a poor ad experience and possibly less trust in the brand serving the ad. This won’t happen with AMP ads though, as a marketer you know that every impression was a true impression, and your ad was served correctly.

Benefits of AMP Ads

My Immediate assumption when learning about AMP-HTML was that, like AMP pages, these ads will load faster but be substantially limited in animation features. I took a dive into the world of AMP advertising and was genuinely impressed when compared to HTML5 ads, AMP ads really held their own, not only by offering a sobering decrease in load time, but they hold beautiful, rich animation and design features.

AMP ads load faster

AMP ads are requested earlier in the page rendering process, so they are displayed just before the user see’s them.

Because the code isn’t as bulky, they’re lighter and consume fewer resources, impacting not just the ad load time but the publisher’s page load time too, they also work off the same code, so are likely to already be stored in a users cache.

Here is an example of the difference in load times between basic AMP banner ad vs a standard banner ad

They’re flexible and versatile

AMP ads work across devices, and on any HTML and have various interactivity features, from static banner ads to interactive video ads, AMPHTML has you covered. At the moment these options are limited but sufficient, with a few still in beta phase.

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An example of AMP HTML from AMP Project

They’re safe from malware

AMP ads are verified before being served, so it is impossible to spread malware, users can rest assured that the ads they are being served are safe.

AMP ad Formats

I told you earlier how impressed I was about the interactivity of AMP ad formats, I’ve just outlined them briefly, but you can explore them in more depth with AMP by example.

  1. Basic banner ads
  2. Carousel ads – These ads feature multiple products/ images with scrollable interactivity, here’s an example of an AMP carousel ad.
  3. Scroll-bound animation ads – These ads feature rich imagery with a scroll down animation, see an example off an AMP scroll-bound animation ad here
  4. Scroll-bound video ads – These ads feature video and scroll-down interactivity, here’s an example
  5. Slide ads – Slide ads are similar to carousel ads, they feature multiple images in the form of an interactive slideshow.
  6. AMP video ads – Because of the AMP projects focus on user experience, AMP video ads don’t autoplay.
  7. Lightbox ads (beta) – Visual interactive ads that expand to an AMP page with more information, here’s an example.
  8. Stack with bind ads (beta) – Stack with bind ads offer multiple slides displayed with very interactive scroll animation. Here’s an example.

Create Your Own AMP ads

You might have looked through the examples, delved into some of the AMP project resources, saw a bunch of code around ad creation and thought “nope, forget AMP, I’ll stick to Adobe for my designs”.

AMP Project is open source and a lot of their resources are too, you can easily create beautiful, interactive AMP ads at any price point.

Here are some AMPHTML ad creation tools

  1. Google Web DesignerGoogle Web Designer is an excellent open source tool for creating interactive HTML5 ads, they’ve recently expanded to offering AMPHTML ads too, just pick a layout from one of their templates and customise to your heart’s content.
    The interface is pretty easy to understand once you get the hang of it, but if you find yourself struggling, check out Google Web Designer’s Youtube Page for tutorial videos.
  2. BannersnackBannersnack is like the Canva of display ad design, there are loads of templates to choose from and customise, you also have access to their free stock photo library. You can create static and interactive ads for most networks, and they’ve recently added AMPHTML ads to their offerings.
  3. Celtra’s Ad Creator – I’m personally not familiar with Celtra’s ad creator, but I pretty much trust anything they do, they are at the forefront of AMP ads and have offered AMPHTML functionality in their AdCreator.
  4. Adobe Animate (coming soon)

Let’s not overlook what this means for online advertising in South Africa – With high data costs, most of our populations access to the internet is limited, on top of that users often experience slow connections and poorly thought out user experiences.

Offering our consumers faster, lighter, responsive ads will greatly contribute to a users experience, and will likely lead to an increase in clicks and brand loyalty.

Have you worked with AMP ads yet? I would love to know what the effects were on your ad campaigns. Drop me a line at [email protected]