July 27, 2016
Google To Rollout Improved Advertisement Rendering System

As Google continually looks for ways to reduce the appeal of ad-blocking software, their new advertising system shows promise. They claim they are now testing a new system that will make advertisements load in a third of the time, reducing battery drain and increasing the number of ads viewed.

Their new system, dubbed A4A or Amp for Ads, is able to load a page in 50 seconds that would have taken over three minutes under their current system. Amp for Ads applies to all banners and animations displayed through the Google Display Network. At this time, there is no system in place to improve the load times of pre-roll YouTube clips or search result links.

Advertising Week
Paul Muret, VP of Analytics at Google and Neil Perkins, Founder at Only Dead Fish attend Organising the World's Marketing Information, by the Guru of Google Analytics during Advertising Week Europe 2016. [Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Advertising Week Europe]Amp for Ads is part of Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages program. Through collaboration with SOASTA research, they have integrated a machine learning algorithm that is designed to prioritize data transmissions in order to display the most relevant content first. Initial research has shown that complex pages taking over 6.9 seconds to load significantly increase the bounce rate, negatively impacting conversions.

AMP improves the user experience by implementing four simple principles:

  1. Content First - AMP loads the ads only after the essential content. This way, contextual ads will not be shown until the user is already engaged with the website.
  2. Containment - AMP manages page layout, ensuring that advertising space is defined early on in the loading process. This prevents the page from jumping around as ads begin to load.
  3. Mitigation - Restricts the use of poorly optimized javascript practices from inhibiting quick load times for the rest of the content
  4. Intervention - AMP delays advertisement timers used for video and animation until the ad is in the user's view. This prevents ads that are not yet visible from slowing down the rest of the page. Additionally, this means that videos will not begin to play until the user can see them, giving the advertiser a better chance of appealing to the viewer.
AMP for Ads integrates all of these principles with a few tweaks. When an ad is requested, the auctioning system to determine which ad is displayed can take quite some time to complete. With AMP, ad requests are sent early on in the loading process. By the time the website content is displayed and the mobile device requests the ad, Google has already selected the data and compressed it for transfer.

Another issue Google is attempting to address with AMP for Ads are the inefficiencies of javascript. Most ads are designed without factoring in CPU time taken up by other advertisements. For example, a page displaying a YouTube video may place two additional advertisements on either side of the video. While each of these ads may be designed to only utilize 8ms of CPU time per frame, when all three are displayed at the same time the combined CPU load prevents the content from streaming smoothly. 60FPS video requires CPU time be restricted to less than 15ms per frame. Websites that heavily use aggregated content can put immense strain on a mobile CPU. With AMP, the browser is able to accurately determine the most relevant content and focus on optimizing the ad that the user is currently viewing.

Google Search Ads
Google search in 2006. [Photo Illustration by Scott Barbour/Getty Images]Google has been generating over $12 billion in mobile advertising revenue per year. As the mobile marketplace continues to aggressively grow, improving the user experience is essential to preventing market cannibalization via ad-blocking software or adoption of competing advertising platforms.

For advertisers, this move is essential to maximize revenue per view. Under the current system, even animations or videos that are poorly displayed count toward your CPM. By optimizing the way that pages are displayed, advertisers can increase their CTR by ensuring that their offers are displayed in the manner they had intended.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]