Part of a Series Featuring the 2017 Accelerator Pitch Program Winners
A little over a year ago, the industry average mobile web page load time was 22 seconds.
And what did people do while waiting?
They moved on.
AMP started as a collaborative effort between Google and a number of major publishers. The focus is on improving the mobile web by making it faster. Much faster— with AMP, webpages went from loading in 22 seconds to 700 milliseconds.
“AMP is making the user experience much better with a faster loading web page and a cleaner more responsive environment for advertisers,” David Gehring, CEO of Relay Media explained.
Gehring is an AMP expert and has been involved in the project since inception. He has worked at Google and at The Guardian, on a team where they asked for a solution to a poor, slow mobile web. Now he is the CEO of Relay Media. What Relay does is provide publishers with a platform where the conversion is done automatically, making the AMP pages look exactly like the old website.
AMP is in part a response to ad blocking.
He says the industry evolved in a way that enabled more and more annoying ad formats for obvious economic reasons.
AMP has a much better ad experience; the ads are not as overpowering in an AMP environment. They also load faster, ensuring actual views. When a view is 1.5 viewports away, the ads begin to auto load, decreasing the burden on page load.
“It increases viewability, which advertisers dig, because they want to buy inventory that humans actually see,” Gehring says.
Since Relay Media started, they’ve on-boarded 60 publishers since April, and so far have had zero churn. AMP pages through Relay Media average 20 million monthly page views, and he says that number is growing.
“AMP is not hard to do,” he says. “You’re building a new website. It’s pretty easy. The hard part is when trying to convert an existing web page into an AMP web page.”
For publishers to go live with Relay, all they have to do is copy and paste a logo and header to the CMS page.
“It takes them about a minute,” Gehring said. “If they’re using Relay, everything new automatically becomes a web page, and if they update an old webpage, then when we update, we convert it.”
Right now, most of the publishers say the AMP views are between five and 10 percent of mobile views. But AMP is just about a year old, and it’s ramping up. It accounts for 10 to 15 percent of web mobile traffic globally.
During breaking news, this number spikes dramatically.
During Hurricane Matthew, AMP views at Relay’s Florida publications accounted for 80 to 90 percent of mobile views. This is because when you have a breaking news event, people are searching for information. Those searches will return Google’s AMP carousel, which only renders AMP.
This is just the start of it for Relay.
“AMP converting was just an opportunity for us to get started as a way to establish our expertise in the AMP project and community,” Gehring says. “In a year we’ve got much a broader plan on how to use AMP to drive monetization and engagement. It’s really a building block towards providing the publishers a much more scalable open web economic opportunity.”
Kirsten is the Social Media and Blog Editor at the News Media Alliance.