How to keep track of AdSense performance and earnings from AMP pages
March 10, 2017 - Tech
When you’ve actually figured out how to add Adsense ads retroactively to your Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), the next question is how will you keep track of AdSense ad revenue and performance from these mobile pages?
With AMP, Your Ads Will Disappear
The AMP problems start when you first optimize your site for mobile accelerated pages. You’ll find that the URL of the new Accelerated Mobile Pages are no longer on your domain, instead any AMP page be on a CDN (Content Delivery Network) on a URL that is provided and hosted by Google’s AMP Project.
For example, if your website was MyFavoriteLamp52.net, your AMP page URLs would look like this:
or more generally:
So because you chose to AMP your pages, Google now takes your pages and “optimizes” them for speed and user experience. Thus, those mobile banners and AdSense ads you took forever to customize (along with widgets, instagram feed, and side navigation) have been removed on all AMP versions. Leaving just the necessities the user came for; which means copy and images.
A little more context from Malte Ubl, the Tech Lead for Google’s AMP Project:
We recommend to really optimize AMP pages and fine tune them to your needs. AMP is not a templated format for that reason. While neither the AMP project, nor Google are directly responsible for the WordPress plugin, the AMP open source project working closely with the authors of the plugin(s) to improve the quality and scope. AMP is very flexible and should be capable of providing most features of a typical WordPress site, but this flexibility also requires respective work to make custom plugins and development show up in the AMP version.
Translation: We’re making your webpage really basic, so if you want to spice it back up with skinny jeans, tattoos and jewelry, you’ll have to put the work in to “fine tune them to your needs”. In many cases, that fine-tuning includes adding ads back onto the page.
Since you don’t have “control” of the AMP version of your pages, that means there’s some work to do. My site that went AMP had this exact issue. The pages were rendering on mobile, but they were missing the ads. I spent a few days figuring out how to inject my AdSense ads onto my ampproject.org pages. After some trial and error and the help of a WordPress plugin, I got my ads back on after three days or so.
You Have Amp Ads, But How to Track and Report?
Now that we have added ads to our AMP pages, you haven’t completely solved for it entirely. The problem now was how does one track the performance of these AMP pages? Previously, to see how certain pages were performing, I added the individual URLs to “URL channels” in the Google AdSense platform. Once added, I was able to pull information on each of those pages total earnings, impressions, clicks and RPM.
I thought I could just add the TLD (Top Level Domain) to URL Channels and it would track all it earned via AMP pages. Yes, this way I wouldn’t get exact earnings unless I added every URL channel (which I wasn’t going to do).
It turned out it didn’t matter. When I went into the AdSense dashboard to add https://www-[website-name].cdn.ampproject.org/ as a URL channel I got this error message:
“URL cannot contain google host”
In researching how to accurately track and report on AMP page revenues, I couldn’t find much on the topic, so I contacted Google:
My question is how do I track individual URL earnings under AMP urls? e.g. https://www-[my-website].cdn.ampproject.org/ when I try to add these to the URL tracking in Adsense reporting, it tells me I cannot add a google domain
I got the following response from the AdSense Support Team in less than a couple hours:
Happy to help. It seems like you are getting an error as the URL will give a 404 error on desktop. To track performance of AMP pages you can track performance by Ad Unit channels. You need to have different and specific ad units for your AMP page. Currently, the team is still working on integrating reporting for AMP units, and this is one workaround you can use. You can also use Analytics for tracking performance and maybe the best way forward. Thanks for your question and we appreciate you using AMP. Have a great week.
In this “Custom Channel” solution, you can’t track by individual URLs as I would like, but can only track by specific ad units. It’s nice to see the performance of AMP ad units as a whole, but I like to see how specific content performs, so this answer isn’t 100% good for me.
In their reply, they do say that AMP integration is currently being worked on. You would think that anything touching revenue for advertising (still Google’s biggest revenue driver), they would have got in front of this knowing that the product is used by millions and AMP being pushed hard by the company.
This looks to be the best option of tracking and measuring your AMP ad performance via the AdSense platform at this point. Hopefully Big G will update this so we can cut deeper into how and why AMP ads are performing higher/lower.
Update: Another message from Google Support on March 13, 2017:
it seems that for now it seems that the best way for a pub to track AMP ads on sites is to track by ad unit. You can create a specific channel to track the ad unit performance. Please note, the functionality of tracking by URL is not currently available.
Stay tuned. I’ll update this post when I have more info.
Sample AMP page with URL and image ad from Adsense: