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Cloudflare’s Firebolt is first to bring AMP for Ads to non-Google ad networks
The new service aims to bring speed and security to ad networks beyond DoubleClick.
Last summer, Google announced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) — the open-standard initiative aimed at speeding up the mobile web — would be extending to ads via DoubleClick. Now, non-Google ad networks can also tap into AMP for Ads (A4A) with Cloudflare’s Firebolt.
The web security and performance firm announced the launch of Firebolt at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in Hollywood, Florida, on Monday. Matthew Prince, co-founder and CEO of Cloudflare, said in a statement:
“Slow, malware-ridden ads drive end users to install ad blockers, and unfortunately, that means publishers lose the ability to make money off broadly accessible content. … Cloudflare’s Firebolt addresses the end user concerns of slow, unsafe online advertising, helping ensure that publishers can get paid for their content while still making it available to the broad Internet.”
Ad networks using Cloudflare content delivery network (CDN) services can enable Firebolt to start delivering AMP-enabled ads that are cryptographically signed and sent through encrypted pipes. This means publishers that have transitioned to HTTPs can be assured their readers won’t see those scary warnings that trigger when ads are delivered via an unsecure connection. It also enables Firebolt to enable security measures across networks.
“We think internet security is core to what we’re doing and we wanted to address that. When malware is detected the signature can be revoked and the malware is rendered moot,” said Prince in a phone interview on Monday. Prince compared it to how Apple is able to act quickly when malware is detected in App Store apps that have already been downloaded onto users’ phones. Apple can revoke the app key across its network to keep users from being able to launch infected apps. Similarly, once malware is detected in an ad, Firebolt instantly revokes the signature to keep browsers from loading the ads.
And that brings up another key aspect of Firebolt. It can optimize ad content on desktop as well as mobile to bring security and speed to ad delivery. “The focus of AMP has always been on mobile, but this is applying AMP to desktop as well for the first time,” said Prince.
Prince says the company has been coordinating with Google for the past year to create Firebolt and has been testing it with a number of ad network partners. Tests with native ad network TripleLift showed viewability rates increased, ad size could be reduced to one-fifth of the original, delivery speed increased from 2.5 seconds to 700–800 milliseconds, and revenue increased 13 percent, on average. Cloudflare says through the scale of its network of over six million customers, it sees over 10 percent of all internet traffic requests.
Cloudflare charges ad networks for Firebolt on a CPM basis, rather than the more typical bandwidth basis pricing. Prince says the early tests have clearly shown the higher ROI justifies the CPM fees.