Ensure Ad Density is equal on AMP & non-AMP pages
Avoid common pitfalls to ensure total area of ads is the same
This is an easy optimization, but is important because it’s one of the most common mistakes and is easy to remedy.
A reasonable ad density strategy is to follow the guidance from the Coalition of Better Ads. It says that the total height of the ads on the page / total height of the content on the page should be < 30%. This is of course the worst case scenario and often publishers have percentages lower than this.
During my publisher interviews, three common misconceptions came up when inquiring why some didn’t have the same ad density on both AMP and non-AMP pages:
1. “I didn’t realize I needed to manage ad density”
When probing further, the AMP model was being confused with Facebook Instant Articles’ approach to ad density where there is an automated ad insertion offering. AMP doesn’t directly offer publishers a way to automatically manage ad density but it makes APIs available that allow auto-ad insertion to the 100+ ad networks natively integrated in AMP. Individual ad networks can choose to take advantage of those APIs, similar to howAdSense does. For most ad networks, including DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP), such auto placement is not available and publishers must manage ad density themselves.
2. “I thought there were restrictions on the number of ads I could place”
Turns out, they were mixing AMP up with FIA’s approach, where they have apolicy to replace manually placed ads if the ad density is greater than 20%. AMP has no such restrictions. AMP delegates the responsibility to the publisher and the individual ad network they choose in order to eliminate any AMP-specific idiosyncrasies related to ad density management.
3. “We didn’t optimize our AMP pages after the initial AMP launch 3 years ago”
A lot can change over 3 years and some publishers had undergone architectural changes but their engineering teams may have forgotten to include AMP pages in the re-architecture. It’s important to keep both sets of pages at parity not only to earn the same revenue from your AMP pages but also helps you understand how your AMP pages are performing.
A specific area to call out is to ensure parity on recirculation promotions that allow users to consume related content. Not having these on your AMP pages may have a negative impact on your bottom line because anecdotally these lead to 1.2 or 1.3 times session lengths. AMP supports various 3rd party recirculation providers too.
In summary, regardless of what strategy you use on your non-AMP pages, ensure you translate that strategy over to your AMP pages. There are no restrictions in AMP that would make a publisher have fewer ads on AMP pages than on non-AMP Pages.