News publishers are going all-in on Google’s answer to Instant Articles
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages is set to launch Wednesday, and while some publishers took a cautious approach to Facebook’s Instant Articles, they’re going all in with Google’s fast-loading article initiative.
AMP is Google’s open-source code to speed up the mobile Web pages and is seen as its answer to the walled garden of Facebook’s Instant Articles, which launched last spring. The search giant said that in tests, AMP pages loaded 85 percent faster than regular Web pages.
Several big news publishers are part of the launch, including The Washington Post, Daily Mail, The Wall Street Journal and Mic. Part of the willingness to play ball could be that publishers are getting used to big platforms (Facebook, Apple News) edging into their content distribution. But the massive role Google search still plays in driving traffic to publisher sites also makes it hard to ignore. Some participants in the rollout said they’re AMP-coding all their articles because they see Google AMP as replacing their existing traffic, rather than cannibalizing it.
“We’re going to put everything fully there,” said Kim Lau, vp and digital general manager of The Atlantic, where mobile search accounts for about 10 percent of total page views and growing. “If you don’t participate, are you putting some of that audience at risk? We know faster pages are going to do better in mobile search; why would we not do everything we can do make it faster?”
While few publishers will openly speak ill of their platform partners, with all the traffic-driving power they wield, the implication in their comments that Google is easier to work with than Facebook and Apple News. Privately, publishers have complained that the latter two been challenging to work with on measurement, design and monetization issues.
“If there’s one partner to get in bed with, it’s Google, because they’re always on the up-and-up,” said Noah Szubski, chief product officer at the Daily Mail. “It’s been this collaborative approach. They respond to emails within five minutes. I have access to everyone, whether it’s leadership or engineers. You get all the tracking, you get the ability to monetize, your AMP pages look the way you want them to look.”
Asked specifically about Facebook and Apple, he said only, “We love all our partners.”
In the five months since Google announced AMP, publishers have been working to ensure their own content would be AMP-compliant and making sure they could implement the third-party ad and measurement companies they work with. Paywalled publishers had to work with Google to make sure their paywalls would be seamlessly integrated into AMP pages.
Initially, there were concerns that in paring down Web pages to make them load faster, AMP would strip mobile Web publishers of the design elements that keep their brands distinctive. On the other hand, as an open-source code, AMP can be used by publishers to adapt elements they want for their AMP pages. So The Atlantic recreated its “most popular” list, which is an important traffic driver. Daily Mail recreated a photo gallery so it could keep publishing the photo-heavy stories that it’s known for.
Of course, the downside is, such work is resource-intensive, and it will take time before publishers see if the faster load times pay off in greater readership and associated ad revenue.
‘Football has lost its soul’: How Copa90 is repositioning itself around the creator economy
Copa90’s overseers believe there’s another shift happening in tandem with the corporatization of the sport that has the potential to be just as transformative
Why The New York Times’ Wirecutter is ramping up focus on style
In early 2021, Wirecutter soft-launched a new dedicated style section and is is currently hiring for style-dedicated roles.
Maven rebrands to The Arena Group and reorganizes around sports and finance
The Arena Group owns and hosts the domains of over 200 sites and generated $143 million in revenue for the year ending June 30, 2021.
SponsoredHow retailers can be ready for holiday shoppers this year
Suchi Sastri, managing director and partner, Boston Consulting Group As the holiday season approaches and the pandemic continues to evolve, retailers want to know what to expect. Will e-commerce continue to grow at the rate it did last year? How big of a role will in-store shopping play in holiday shopping? While it’s still early, […]
‘Culture change takes years’: Facing ongoing calls for DE&I gains, publishers set new standards for hiring practices
The media industry is trying to solve a long-standing challenge: it is mostly white and male. Here's how some publishers are doing it.
Meet the ‘absolutist’ with the Section 230 tattoo on Google’s new misinformation policy team
Part of a nascent government affairs and public policy team at Google, Jess Miers is a die-hard fan of the 26-word law that gives legal cover to big tech platforms.