(Bloomberg)—Two years ago, Google began lobbying publishers to build websites using its super-speedy design. Now it’s making the same pitch for ads.
On Thursday at its I/O developer conference, the Alphabet Inc. company introduced several features enabling advertising on Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP—the format that hosts web content directly inside search results. One new tool lets publishers using AMP run video ads, a booming source of digital-ad revenue, with Google’s dominant ad server DoubleClick.
The AMP initiative is part of Google’s effort to rejuvenate the web, where it makes the bulk of sales, as consumers spend more time inside mobile apps. By stripping out software code, Google said it significantly accelerated loading times on websites for AMP. In addition to news publishers, Google has convinced e-commerce companies, such as eBay Inc., to build websites tailored for AMP.
“We’d like to get to a world where the ads load as fast as content,” said Vamsee Jasti, a Google product manager.
In the past, Google has faced criticism for dictating rules for web search and ads. Most recently, it faced push-back on a reported attempt to disable certain ad types in its popular Chrome browser. Yet Google said the speed and new formats under AMP will improve ad rates for the struggling publishing industry.
Google has allowed limited ads inside of AMP pages so far. The new features widen the scope, a move to dent the massive share of mobile advertising that Facebook Inc. has claimed. The social-media giant is expected to generate $16.3 billion in U.S. display advertising this year, more than a third of the market, according to researcher EMarketer. Google’s share is set to fall to 12.5%.
Facebook first built its own fast-loading mobile formats, something called Instant Articles. Yet the social network, a massive source of web traffic, has had an uneasy relationship with publishers. Last month, The Guardian newspaper pulled out of using Instant Articles. The publication continues to use Google AMP, according to a Google spokeswoman.
Google’s new video offering is designed to convince more publishers to optimize for its search program. Until now, publishers using AMP, including the New York Times, would need to integrate with third-party companies to run ads on videos that appear on their website. Now, publishers can simply plug video ads through Google, Jasti said. The feature threatens revenue from web-video hosting companies such as Brightcove Inc.