AMP ads: The basics

Back in 2015, Google launched the open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project for a faster, open mobile web. In 2018 the project moved to an open governance model and then in 2019, it joined the OpenJS Foundation Incubation Program. Today you can use AMP to build a number of things, including websites, web stories, ads, and email. This article will focus on AMP ads – what they are, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as a few best practices if you decide to give AMP ads a shot. 

What are AMP ads?

AMPHTML ads, also known as AMP ads, combine the technology of the standard HTML ads with that of AMP. This results in very flexible, fast, light, and safe ads that can be delivered on both AMP and non-AMP pages. AMPHTML ads are created only with predefined HTML, CSS, and JavaScript libraries from the AMP Open Source Project, eliminating the possibility for running obscure JavaScript codes and improving security through auto-verification. Three of the more popular AMP ad formats are carousel (ad with more than one image in a carousel, auto-plays when in view), video parallax (a video displayed on top of a banner, the ad plays only on user click), and lightbox (ad expands only on click, uninterested users get more of the website content in view). Publishers interested in video advertising can serve both in-stream and out-stream video ads in AMP. 


AMP ads come with multiple advantages. Let’s see what they are, starting with the most obvious:

Speed:  AMP ads utilize a couple of technologies that help make their loading extremely fast: namely Fast Fetch and RTC (Real-Time Configuration). Fast Fetch enables ad requests to occur earlier in the page and only renders the ad when it is about to get viewed by the user. The RTC feature allows publishers to run focused auctions, targeting up to five demand partners. Alternatively, publishers can utilize Fast Fetch together with header bidding, to go around the 5 partners limitation of RTC. When served to an AMP page, AMPHTML ads are reported to load up to 6 times faster than regular ads, contributing to a great user experience and reducing page latency. Even AMP ads served on non-AMP pages perform better than traditional HTML ads, even though the disparity there isn’t as big.

Size: AMP ads are very lightweight, apparently about 3 times lighter than regular HTML ads. They have the ability to collect data for various trackers via a single request, which further increases efficiency. 

Security: AMP ads are safe from malware and ad fraud as they are all automatically verified before being displayed in the ad slot. 

Flexibility: AMP ads can be served on both AMP and non-AMP pages and perform great on all devices. 

Revenue: Due to the better user experience they deliver, AMP ads are known to have better viewability, higher click-through rates, and overall higher revenue than traditional HTML ads. 


Technical implementation: In order to get the advantages of AMP ads, they need to be developed and implemented on your pages. However, many publishers lack the required knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for this step and prefer to stick to the traditional HTML ads.

Ecosystem barriers: Google’s services fully support AMP, however, that’s not the case for all ad networks, which may create increased complexity for publishers. Furthermore, advertisers also need to decide to invest in such ad units for demand to be considerable.

Best practices

Use AMP both for your pages and for your ads: Even though AMP ads are flexible and can be used on AMP and non-AMP pages alike, results will be better if you enable AMP for your pages as well in order to increase overall page speed.

Keep testing: Optimize, optimize, optimize. You should keep testing your AMP (and non-AMP) placements to keep up with the dynamic environment and achieve the best results. Experiment with price floors – test hard, soft, and dynamic floors and try video ads. Utilize Google Ad Manager reports comparing the effectiveness of AMP and non-AMP pages.

Multiple ad sizes in one ad slot: Allowing AMP ad slots to display different ad sizes increases competition and can further boost your revenue.

Be picky about your demand partners: Choose ad networks that allow AMP ads and monitor the performance to adjust pricing when necessary. Make sure to utilize both direct and programmatic deals.

Wrap up

AMP ads are a great tool to provide a better user experience for your website visitors coupled with a boost in revenue. The project evolves over time and offers more and more opportunities for implementation. Publishers may want to experiment with various engaging ad formats, different placements, and direct and indirect deals. And if you need a hand with the technical implementation and further optimizations, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.