Digital Publishers Prepare to Ditch Google’s AMP Service

Image Credit: iStock Images, dusanpetkovic

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Not everyone wants to turn this AMP up to 11.

Several major digital media publications are taking steps to disentangle their online search presence from Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) framework, which was designed to optimize content for mobile reading and reduce load times, claiming it generates less ad revenue than a regular web page. Presumably, they’re also Googling “how to take content off of AMP” in the process.

No Need For Speed

For digital publishers, Google is a double-edged sword. Internet searches are a crucial driver of traffic to websites, but Google’s overall dominance in the digital advertisement space has softened the value of publication’s ad real estate. When Google launched AMP in 2015, it promised to both boost traffic and cut load times for participating publications– in part by hosting the content on its own servers and, crucially, using its own ad exchange for most of the auctions used to fill a page’s ad space.

The Washington Post already ditched AMP last year. Now, sites owned by companies like Vox, Buzzfeed, Complex, and BDG say they are considering leaving the service themselves:

  • Media executives say they can drop AMP support without affecting loading speeds, and gain more control over page design in the process; subscription-based publications, meanwhile, say AMP limits their ability to enforce a paywall.
  • More importantly, according to a Wall Street Journal report, media executives and consultants say non-AMP pages would allow for access to a greater number of ad marketplaces, in turn boosting competition and prices for ad space; in total, they said they expect advertising revenues to be roughly 20% higher on non-AMP pages.

Trouble With The Law: Digital media’s AMP hesitance comes amid a larger push to examine Google’s possibly anticompetitive behavior in the digital ad space. Last month, unredacted documents from a 2020 lawsuit filed by over a dozen state attorney general’s alleged AMP pages punished sites for using ad exchanges other than Google’s, including a forced one-second loading delay for ads that didn’t use AMP. Google has said the claims are false.