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The What, Why and Where of Google’s Faster-Loading Ads

The What, Why and Where of Google’s Faster-Loading Ads

Google claims to be developing a system to make its mobile ads run faster and sap less power from the devices on which they are viewed.

Numerous tech outlets have pounced on what is seen to be highly positive news for the ad economy, released via the company’s dedicated blog for AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages).

For those clocking in this morning (July 21) wondering what exactly is on offer, here is the story so far.

What? 

AMP in itself is Google’s current, and recently launched product, for helping mobile web pages load at a faster rate. However, as demonstrated at the DoubleClick Leadership Summit earlier this week, this does not carry across to the ads that help monetise these sites.

AMP for Ads - or ‘A4A’ as Google calls it - has been launched to solve the “co-ordination problem” that causes ads to load after some of the content it accompanies.

At first, it was simply a matter of priority. Google has been open in saying that content would always load first as a result of the request from AMP to do so; a move touted by the company as an “OK compromise”, although “far from the best possible strategy”. 

The technology also mitigates against “worst practices” in JavaScript and has a way of focusing any negative impact on the ad, rather than the page.

The “co-ordination solution” has been to have A4A take advantage of AMP’s features for loading content quickly, whilst the latter acts as a supervisor to the former by slowing down ad frame rates and even switching some animations off to preserve power. 

Why? 

Every move towards faster-loading ads points to convenience for users. Google claims A4A is one of many steps that can be made towards what it considers a “user-experience-first ecosystem” for advertising, where the person behind the device is not penalised for something they didn’t necessarily request.

The two main benefits of A4A are fast load times and this having less of an impact on battery power - a supply that device manufacturers like Apple have failed to increase by any considerable margin, despite the release of several new handsets.

What’s interesting to see from some of the early reports on A4A is its ties to ad blocking, which remains a serious issue for display advertisers and publishers around the world.

BBC believes Google can reduce the appeal of software that eradicates certain types of inventory from the web experience by producing something that makes ads feel more part of the environment on which they’re positioned. 

Adblock Plus, one of Europe’s most popular ad blockers, has been keen to highlight that its tools can save the battery life of users that are forced into loading ads. If this is no longer an issue, at least one of its qualities is taken away.

Not only this, logic would dictate that more ads will be in view of the user if the whole page - banners and all - can load quicker. Such a benefit cannot be understated in a period where users flit from page to page in search of an answer to a query. 

Where?

A4A only applies to smartphones and tablets, whereas desktop is next in line for a rollout of AMP in general. 

Groups including the Media Rating Council have already picked up on the fact desktop ads load faster than their mobile counterparts. Thus, it may be that Google sees mobile as a key area to address considering the rising influence of smartphone and tablet users on its own properties, added to them having to contend with battery power with some of the more cumbersome ads. 

As for a launch date, it’s “early days” at the minute, but the exploration phase is well underway.

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Got a question or comment – tweet Richard @RichToweyPI or comment on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIN.

Richard Towey

Richard Towey

Richard serves as head of content at PerformanceIN. After many years spent covering developments from the automotive, sports, travel and finance sectors, he eventually turned his full attention to reporting on stories from the fast-evolving world of digital marketing. Richard now heads up the editorial team at PerformanceIN: the performance marketing industry's leading publication.  

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