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Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Project shows strong results for publishers

Google AMP 2 ()

Google recently celebrated the first anniversary of its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project with some strong results for publishers. The Washington Post increased returning users by 23 per cent, Wired increased click-through rates from search results by 25 per cent, and Gizmodo gained a 50 per cent increase in impressions per pageview. During this time, the project has seen more than 700,000 websites together create 600m+ ‘AMP’d’ pages.

We first caught up with Google on the progress of the AMP Project at the Digital Innovators Summit (DIS) in Berlin in March 2016. There, Nick Harthan, part of the Global Products Team for Google, introduced us to the concept and explained how this was part of a wider initiative to produce greater Google-Publisher collaboration. Essentially, accelerated mobile pages offer a cleaner, faster and more user-friendly experience of the mobile web, and the opensource nature of the project allows for collaboration across premium content environments without the need for standardised templates. 

Impressive results

A year in and publishers are benefitting from the implementation of AMP, and we have summarised some of the most impressive results here: 

Washington Post: Through the use of AMP, The Washington Post has achieved a 23 per cent increase in the number of mobile search users who return within 7 days. There has been an 88 per cent improvement in load time for AMP content versus the traditional mobile web, and the outlet now publishes 1,000+ articles in AMP HTML daily. With nearly 55 per cent of their overall traffic coming from mobile devices, a fast and friendly mobile experience is critical. 

Washington Post AMP Stats ()

“We are committed to improving speed across the board,” said David Merrell, Senior Product Manager at The Washington Post. “If our site takes a long time to load, it doesn’t matter how great our journalism is, some people will leave the page before they see what’s there. Getting started with AMP was easy because it is built on existing web technologies. And since AMP is not a template based system, we were able to host our content, style it as we see fit, and easily integrate our existing advertising, analytics and other business tools.”

Wired: The company has seen a 25 per cent increase in click-through rates (CTRs) from search results, AMP’d over 100,000 stories from the publication's 20 year archive, and perhaps most impressively of all achieved a 63 per cent increase in click-through rates on ads in AMP stories. In addition to speeding up articles, Wired is now included within the AMP-powered Google Search Top Stories carousel, which is an enviable shop window produced from search results. 

Gizmodo: The science and technology site now receives 100,000 AMP visits daily. Page loading times are three times quicker since switching to AMP, with a 50 per cent increase in page impressions. The company is now publishing AMP pages for 100 per cent of their posts, and has seen a 50 per cent increase in impressions per pageview on AMP.

Additional benefits

Beyond these metrics a number of additional benefits have been recorded. Current affairs magazine, Slate, has experienced a 44 per cent increase in monthly unique visitors and a 73 per cent increase in visits per visitor since starting the project. Additionally, the company’s Senior Product Manager, Chris Schieffer, draws attention to the wider successes that can be achieved by using AMP:

“It was encouraging that Google was collaborating with multiple publishers to build AMP – that signalled an investment by the publishing community to ensure the success of the format. AMP provided us with a way to rebuild our Android app without contracting work. Not only is it fast but it provides solid monetisation opportunities.” 

Google AMP Slate ()

Slate estimates that they have saved approximately $85,000 in a year’s worth of development resources by reusing AMP docs for the Android app. “As a relatively small team, we have to be smart about where we invest technically, and we knew that we could get good value and efficiency by reusing our AMP work by further integrating it into our products,” says Schieffer.  

Technology platforms too have begun to see positive results from the project. German-based native advertising platform, plista, works with premium publishers like n-tv.de, faz.net, abendzeitung.de, and golem.de. Following the implementation of AMP, plista, witnessed an average growth of 133 per cent in CPMs across its publisher base, with an average 220 per cent growth in CTRs. One publisher’s click-through rates increased 600 per cent after the implementation of the project.

“The results of the tests were impressive”, says Torben Brodt, Director Data Engineering at plista. “It took us just a few days to implement AMP and get our first publisher up and running on it. AMP is an amazingly fast, easy and effective way to help our publishers significantly increase their bottom lines by speeding up mobile web app widget load times, which also boosts user engagement and exposure for advertisers”. 

In a world dominated by nearly seven billion small screens, all of this makes for positive reading for a global publishing industry now heavily invested in the mobile space. A DoubleClick study produced 6 months into the project last year showed 80 per cent plus of the publishers analysed realised higher viewability rates due to AMP, while 90 per cent plus of the publishers drove greater engagement with higher CTRs. Now, with a dedicated AMP Roadmap in place to preach the transparent approach to industry-wide collaboration that the opensource agenda is already practicing, the Project seeks to further build on this progress in the months ahead:

“This open source initiative is thriving because there is a strong community behind it getting involved in everything from working groups to contributing to the Github page with suggestions, feedback and code spec," David Besbris, VP Google Search, AMP Project Lead at Google said in a recent blog post. "While the first year of the AMP Project has gotten off to a good start, there still remains a lot of work ahead. We look forward to returning in a year’s time with even more awesome progress as we work together to make the mobile web great for everyone.” 

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