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With mobile news consumption now far outpacing traditional desktop traffic, mobile represents a $50 billion—or perhaps even larger—opportunity for publishers, Google’s managing director of global partnerships for news and publishing, Laurent Cordier, told NAA mediaXchange 2016 attendees.
“We are all moving towards mobile,” Cordier said. However, mobile’s fragmented distribution models pose challenges for publishers seeking to maintain direct relationships with users, foster brand loyalty and monetize content, at a time when mobile advertising revenue is projected to double desktop revenue by 2017.
“We think we are at a tipping point where it is urgent to change the user experience,” Cordier said.
While mobile users check their phones every 10 to 15 minutes, racking up more than three hours of daily usage on average, slow load times and latency are threats to publishers’ business models. More than half of users will leave a website if it takes more than 10 seconds to load, and there’s “a good chance they won’t come back,” he said, adding that ad-blocking software has grown in popularity in part because of latency issues.
While publishers feel urgency to “monetize every impression,” Cordier cautioned that slow load times carry “huge opportunity costs, much bigger in many cases than the incremental CPMs from ad impressions.
Google has worked with publishers and other technology companies to develop what it calls the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) standard, an open-source technical framework that creates lightweight pages that load instantaneously. While AMP adoption is in the early stages, early results suggest that click-throughs have increased by 150 percent and viewability rates have increased by 50 percent. As an early partner, The Washington Post has seen an 80 percent increase in page load speed and roughly a 50 percent increase in click-through rates, said Jeff Burkett, the Post’s senior director of product strategy and operations, who sat down with Cordier during the session.
Along with its role in AMP, Google is working to help publishers monetize mobile in other ways, Cordier said. Google’s DoubleClick is working with publishers to develop native mobile advertising to better help publishers sell “reach with intent,” which he described as when people use their phones to “discover, learn and buy.” eBay has seen a threefold increase in ad engagement since switching to native ads, Cordier said.
The New York Times also partnered with Google to distribute 1 million units of its Cardboard virtual reality tool, which allows users to insert their smartphone into a cardboard viewing box to create an immersive visual experience. The NYT VR app has been downloaded 500,000 times and delivered 1.5 million video streams, while providing higher advertising engagement levels than the paper’s other branded content campaigns, according to Cordier.
“We think mobile is going to change how consumers are consuming content, how advertisers are promoting their products, and how publishers are going to make money,” he said. “We’re very excited to partner with you in this new area.”