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We sat down with Jack Downey, our Director of Market Development here at Sovrn to talk with you guys about the Google Accelerated Mobile Pages project and how it could (and will) impact you. Here, Matt Wilson from our Publisher Advocate team boils down exactly what Google AMP is, and how it stacks up against competitor products Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News.

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With the recent shift to mobile, media consumption is changing. Users now consume content wherever they find it. Given how frustrating the mobile web can be, many content distribution platforms are seeking alternatives. In many cases, these alternatives tend to be platform specific, placing a burden on the publishers to support this fragmentation of formats and closing off the ecosystem.

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an initiative to improve the mobile web and enhance the distribution ecosystem.

The Accelerated Mobile Pages project is an open source initiative led by Google designed to make publisher content load fast on mobile devices.

Dozens of publishers, ad technology companies and some of the largest social networks such as such as twitter, linkedin and pinterest are all working together to make the mobile web faster.

We’ve been involved with project since last fall and are excited to be part of an effort designed to support independent publishers and the open web.

While Google AMP pages can technically be viewed on desktop browsers, most users will access them on their mobile devices from social platforms or Google’s Search results a sample of which is shown here.

The key feature of AMP HTML pages is that  optimized for load speed and reader experience more than anything else. As you can see here the page loaded almost instantly and ad image did not load until the user scrolled to it.

An AMP HTML is essentially the same as other HTML pages, but only specific functionality is allowed to ensure that the page loads quickly and smoothly.

It remains to be seen how much AMP will influence google’s mobile search results, but we suspect it will have a significant impact given how important load time is to SEO.

Taking the 30,000 foot view for a minute now let’s discuss why google is doing what they are doing and why publishers should be rooting for Google’s success. Ultimately it comes down to competition and choice.

Over the last few years, SEO dominance has waned as social has been an increasing source of traffic for publishers. As a result, publishers have been essentially ceding power to Facebook and away from Google and their own web pages. While Facebook’s goal is to improve user experience on mobile, the result is that publisher content is moved into a closed system where publishers have less power over their content and fewer monetization options.

While Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News are closed systems the Google AMP project is designed to keep the web open.

Many critics of Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple News are bullish on Google AMP because of the openness of the project and Google’s efforts to bolster their search business and strengthen the open web.

One way AMP is more open is that publishers will have their choice of ad providers and will not be locked into using Google products as in Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News.

With Accelerated Mobile Pages, Google is aiming to support a comprehensive range of ad formats, ad networks and technologies. Any sites using AMP HTML will retain their choice of ad networks, as well as any formats that don’t detract from the user experience. It’s also a core goal of the project to support subscriptions and paywalls.

Right now, it’s too early to tell how AMP will take hold in the publishing community, but it’s safe to say that it will make waves.

Publishers who do not adopt Google AMP HTML may be penalized in mobile search and lose traffic to readers who prefer the ease of the AMP experience.

Most content-rich publishers will be able to easily adopt AMP, but there will be some custom coding required. Coming soon, Sovrn will be releasing a suite of tools to help you implement Google AMP and other content distribution tools including Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News on your site. As a starter we recently published a WordPress plugin that helps content creators AMP-lify their content.

 

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