Google Is Adapting AMP To Deliver Faster Online Ads

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Google wants to stop the rise of ad blockers by offering industry-wide technology to make online ads safer, faster and less obstructive

Google is adapting its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology for online advertising networks so ads can be delivered to users safely while using less bandwidth and battery.

AMP is currently used to load content from publishers more quickly on mobile devices and AMP for ads (A4A) hopes to apply the same principles for ad creatives, discouraging the use of ad blockers on PC and smartphones.

“I learned a lot about internet advertising in the first months of working on AMP, and one of those things was that the web advertising industry doesn’t exactly change fast,” said Malte Ubl, tech lead for the AMP project. “In fact, looking at lots of ad related JavaScript on the web, one cannot avoid frequent 90s flashbacks.”

Faster adverts

Google AMP AdsA4A reduces bandwidth and system costs (CPU and RAM) by separating the ad request and ad rendering processes and requires creatives to adhere to certain rules so they can be loaded quickly. Many ads contain custom code to gather information, such as whether it has been viewed or not, whereas AMP does this itself – reducing ad size, loading time and battery use.

Furthermore, A4A only animates what is visible on the screen. Several browsers, including Google’s own Chrome, do this on the browser side, but AMP saus this does nothing to discourage bad ad practices.

“Contrast this with the status quo in ad tech: ad creatives typically have full control over the browser and they can dynamically load more code at runtime, so it is impossible to ever really know what they will do,” added Ubl. “AMP based creatives on the other hand will have well defined, statically analysable behaviour while still having access to the vast majority of web platform functionality.

Taking back control

“AMP will act as a supervisor for ads and ensure that they do not negatively impact primary content on a page. A4A based animations will be throttled to lower-but-uniform frame rates when AMP detects that 60 frames per second cannot be achieved on the current device.

“Similarly, if AMP is unable to stabilize the frame rate it will turn off animations. This ensures that every device gets the best experience it can deliver and makes sure that ads cannot have a negative impact on important aspects of the user experience such as scrolling.”

The end product is far from finished, the developers say, but it is hoped a live experiment will be conducted soon. The project is open source, and Google is inviting developers to participate on GitHub, and will be vendor neutral so all ad networks can use it.

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Not a selfless act

Google DuoThe rationale is simple. Google’s business model is still heavily reliant on online ads, so the popularity of ad blockers damages its income.

Ad blockers are popular for performance, data consumption and security reasons, with ad networks infiltrated by cybercriminals to install malware on vulnerable systems in an attack known as malvertising.

By encouraging the entire ad industry to adopt its technology and deliver faster, safer, less obtrusive adverts, people will be less encouraged to block ads.

“We believe A4A is a big step forward for user experience and would love to see wide adoption across the internet advertising industry,” said Ubl.

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