What agencies want from Google’s bid to speed up mobile ads

So far, Google’s ongoing project to speed up the web with its Accelerated Mobile Pages has focused on how it can speed up page loads for publishers. Now, it wants marketers on board, and this week, it unveiled two new tools to encourage marketers to create lighter ads that can load faster.

The Catch-22 with digital ads is that as they’ve become richer over the years, they’ve also got heavier and, therefore, slowed page loads — a factor that’s had a fundamental role in the rise of ad blocking. Google sites research showing the average mobile site takes 19 seconds to load.

Both media and creative agencies have welcomed the news as a “step forward” in mobile ad creativity, albeit dependent on certain conditions. Here are three areas agencies want Google AMP for ads to address.

Fixing mobile ad speed has hurdles
It’s one thing launching something, but another to scale it, even if you’re Google. The majority of premium publishers have AMP-coded all their pages, though some move faster than others, and there are still those that haven’t yet.

“We need to be sure that if we do start delivering AMP-enabled ad experiences, which will involve creating new assets and asking our creative teams for AMP pages, there’s no point unless the necessary scale is there,” said Essence senior planning and mobile director Liam Pook. “As publisher adoption increases, media agencies will take note and encourage creative teams to deliver ad creative that has the ability to deliver against their reach or performance targets, while still communicating core campaign messaging.”

Fast ads can still be intrusive
Data-hogging ads are often pegged as a reason for the adoption of mobile ad blockers in many markets. Enders Analysis found ads on news sites swallow up to 79 percent of people’s mobile data. “People do not want to be using up their mobile data downloading ad content. So reduction in file sizes should ultimately help slow the rate of ad blocking,” said Stefan Bardega, chief digital officer at Zenith Optimedia.

Lighter, faster ads are part of the battle to make ads more palatable to consumers, but only part, warned AKQA executive creative director Wayne Deakin.

“Let’s face it, the rise of ad blockers has only confirmed that our audience isn’t interested in ads, so if you want to get their attention with ads, you need to do it fast or forget about it,” said  “If ads interrupt at speed but are still just rubbish ads, then what’s the point?”

Video remains a challenge
Video is where advertiser investment is increasingly heading, and Google hasn’t yet got a video version for AMP ads. Initially, agencies may be restricted to using it for banners ads, which would feel a bit like “going back to square one,” said Pook. The focus on faster ads will need to incorporate video to truly take off on the advertiser side.

“Agencies are trying to get to the point where we can deliver rich experiences like video that can be delivered fast and don’t slow page loads,” he said. “The next wave will be delivering video in low file sizes. That’s the dream.”

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