The Future of Google AMP: Taboola and Outbrain Killer?

With Google expanding their AMP project to sites outside of news and initial test sectors, released AMP for Ads (A4A), AMP Ad Landing Pages, and is rumored to be placing  articles from AMP into native apps, curious marketers surely have the following question…. Are they going to monetize these content placements, similar to their other products?  It is no secret that Google wants to speed up the web experience, from content consumption, to advertising, speed is paramount. Now that Google has brought AMP to one of their other profitable properties (Search), it shouldn’t come as a major surprise that other properties could be on the horizon. There is one in particular that could bring the much-maligned Google Display Network back to the forefront as marketing cache.

Why couldn’t Google use AMP to build a better content recommendation engine? A better Taboola? A better Outbrain? Let me explain.

I thought Display Network didn’t work? 

Every digital marketing pro knows Google display network is one the most overused, misused, and misunderstood medium digital marketers have at their disposal. Brands and clients request awareness and what says awareness more than slapping banners on a few hundred thousand websites, accounting for millions and millions of impressions, even if they are wasted impressions with terrible targeting (That’s a discussion for another day). Blame it on TV and the way that TV was bought historically, I guess? 

But the best part about GDN is the ability to rent attention earned by the website owner using Adsense and put your brand in front of their consumer. You get your brand in front of their consumer, they make some money, and everyone is happy. This transaction means Google already has all of these websites in their inventory, an understanding of the user base, the content they consume, and ultimately, what value that website would have for content that matches the consumer’s interest, if the advertiser is using Google Analytics.

Content has a Supply and Demand Problem

According to Nielsen, in Q1 2016 U.S. Adults spend more than 10 hours a day consuming content, up over an hour from Q1 2015. It isn’t television driving that growth either, as online content makes up for over 3.5 hours of content consumption everyday, up almost an hour from the prior year and driving the year over year growth.

Couple that with the fact that marketers produce at least one piece of content EVERY DAY. According to Content Marketing Institute, 76% of B2B marketers said they plan to produce MORE content in 2016. This combination proves that we have an ever-increasing gap in supply then we do demand, even with consumers foaming at the mouth for more content and consuming it at a higher rate each year.

If we have learned anything from Social Media and Search, it is that producing MORE content isn’t necessarily the driver of growth. Producing GREAT content, even if less frequent, is how you allow your content to be consumed. And let’s face it, most of the content that is produced everyday goes unnoticed by consumers.

According to a CMI study, 66% of marketers promote their content with Search Marketing, and if you are able to give them yet another promoted outlet to share their content, of course they would sign up and join the auction.

But why Content Discovery Engines

Outside of click-bait images featuring persons in varying stages of dress and what feels like completely completely irrelevant articles, Content Discovery Engines (or whatever you want to call them)  do what their name suggests and do have the potential to provide significant consumer value. Consumers have an unquenchable need for content and are apt to look for additional content when they conclude consumption of that particular article. If served with relevant information, additional consumption would be in order.

Content Discovery Engines also allow you to place your content on high-trafficked, authoritative sites, without requiring substantial budgets for native ad buys. This makes them almost a text based, article sharing, Content Network….. almost like GDN, but for text/content.

The case for AMP as the Next and KILLER Content Recommendation Engine

Let me make the case for why AMP would be a great Content Recommendation Engine for Google and a potential growth platform for them.

  1. Ad Blockers: Let’s face it; one of the primary reasons that Ad Blockers came into existence is partly due to the speed delays caused by ads on publisher websites. Users block ads, they speed up their experience. While many claim that ads are the problem, the latency might be the more important issue, of which Google is working to remedy with AMP. If an advertiser uses an AMP Landing Page from the AMP Content Discovery Ad, the experience is still promising for the consumer, without the negative connotation of the traditional banner ad. A business could easily drop a form on this AMP page for conversion, and everyone wins. This could negate the primary uses of an Ad Blocker.
  2. Personalization: One of the things Google could provide over the likes of Taboola and Outbrain is years worth of searches and personalized results. Google knows the content you like and they could use that data to recommend content you are interested in, and one they can charge a higher CPC/CPM for. By deploying AMP cards at the bottom of articles, pointing to personalized content relevant to the target audience, you have a positive, content first experience, which Google can sell that inventory to advertisers.
  3. Inventory Available: Additionally, the SERP change (elimination of right rail ads) in February put a higher relevance on the top 4 ad positions and expansion of the Shopping ads (PLAs) from 8 to upwards of 16, allows Google the opportunity to recommend 4, 8, or 16 positions for promoted AMP content, with an auction for each.
  4. Reward those already Advertising on Google Platforms: By taking one of the mediums garnering an increasing share of budgets, Google is able to bring yet another piece of the marketing budget onto one of their platforms. Couple that with rewarding advertisers who are already active on their owner properties, such as Adwords, YouTube, DoubleClick, etc.and you have that one platform home that all marketers request.
  5. Helps Google stay in front of Facebook: Quality score could follow a similar model to what it does today, with a higher preference towards Landing Page experience, allowing advertisers yet another medium to promote multi-touch marketing strategies, and staying in front of Facebook.

Google expanding AMP further into their advertising properties, but focusing on content as the product, provides them another product they could sell advertisers, allows advertisers a way to promote their content, provide users with a positive experience, and allow website owners (publishers) another revenue source from Adsense, while keeping money away from Taboola and Outbrain.

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