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Publishers are struggling with AMP page monetization

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Googles Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative has gained significant traction in the past 12 months, and high-profile publishers such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Hearst are among the many companies that have adopted AMP.

According to aDoubleClick studyconducted earlier this year that looked at various performance metrics of AMP pages across 150 publisher sites, the majority of publishers using AMP saw increased eCPMs.

But now, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that many publishers using AMP are seeing their AMP pages generate substantially less revenue than their non-AMP mobile pages. According to the Journal, Multiple publishers said an AMP pageview currently generates around half as much revenue as a pageview on their full mobile websites.

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One of the reasons for the lower revenue is likely that while AMP supportsaround 75 different ad providers, includingmany of the largest, there are fewer types of ad units available.

AMP pages rely heavily on standardized banner ad units, and dont allow publishers to sell highly-customized ad units, sponsorships or pop-up ads as they might on their own properties, The Wall Street Journals Jack Marshall explained.

Those ad units thatAMP doesnt support might make it easier for publishers to maximize their revenue, but some of them, particularly pop-ups, are the very ad units that degrade user experience.

For now, Google is satisfied with AMPs ad capabilities andRichard Gingras,GooglesVP of news, suggests that some publishers are seeing lower ad revenue on their AMP pages because theyre not taking full advantage of AMPs ad capabilities. That said, he acknowledged that AMP is in its early stages.

We want to drive the ecosystem forward, but obviously these things dont happen overnight, Gringas stated. The objective of AMP is to have it drive more revenue for publishers than non-AMP pages. Were not there yet.

AMP is probably the future, regardless of revenue considerations

Despite the fact that Google is aware that some publishers adopting AMP are generating less revenue as a result, it will likely have time to improve AMPs capabilities. Thats because publishers by and large seem prepared to stick by AMP, even if its costing them money in the short term.

One reason for this is that AMP traffic is growing.According to CNN chief product officer Alex Wellen, 20% of CNNs search traffic now goes to the news outlets AMP pages, and AMP traffic has increased by 80% in the past two months.

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The other reason publishers are giving AMP the benefit of the doubt is that they strongly suspect Google will favor AMP pages in a big way going forward.As one publisher put it, Publishers who are not using AMP will probably be penalized.

Even if that doesnt come to pass, the expectation that Google will increasingly favor AMP pages over non-AMP pageswill probably remain a powerful motivator for publishers to adopt it regardless of revenue considerations.

Al Roberts is a staff writer for ClickZ and SEW

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