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Time to AMPify your web presence?

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The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) is an open-source initiative to improve the performance of web content and advertisements through a publishing technology known as AMP. Typically AMP has been very popular with websites publishing news and offering recipe content, but its influence and popularity is beginning to expand into other industry sectors.

So what’s new with the AMP?

In the last two years AMP has massively increased its capabilities.  Back in November 2015 there were only 13 components available to build AMP pages, but the latest release (November 2017) now offers over 70 components*. 

 

AMP now provides developers with a toolkit to build full-featured, fast, responsive websites that put the user first. But where it was primarily used for mobile experiences, now there is absolutely no reason why it can’t be used for all devices, and there’s even enough functionality for developers to build a whole site just using AMP!! 

 

One of the most advanced capabilities that has been added is data binding, which allows developers to manage the state of the page and update elements based on an event of their choice.  If you were building a non-AMP website you would use JavaScript to achieve this; but AMP provides a lightweight, efficient alternative.

 

What’s the opportunity?

Without doubt AMP has gained a lot of traction in the two years since its release.  There are over 4 billion AMP pages published and over 25 million domains creating AMP pages*. Because AMP focuses on putting the user first, this guarantees a great user experience as the emphasis is on enforcing consistency and best practice across all pages.

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Why use AMP pages?

The biggest and most obvious benefit of AMP is speed.  Pages load fast - for example pages served from Google search results have a median load time of 0.5 seconds*.

 

Load time has a big impact on the likelihood of a user continuing to use the site – indeed there is a strong relationship between load time and bounce rates.

 

Improved performance inevitably translates to increased engagement and conversion, with sites using AMP having seen the amount of time users spend on a page double and a 20% uplift in sales conversions*.

 

Another benefit of using AMP is a resultant improvement in page ranking because although AMP itself is not a factor in page ranking, page speed most certainly is. We’ve seen AMP pages secure more real-estate in Google search results pages.  So, when publishing news for example, the page will appear in a carousel on the Google search results page, with the item featuring a logo, image and title.

 

 AMP blog2

 

Finally another big benefit is the improved user experience; because AMP components work in the same way for all websites, users quickly become familiar with how to interact with common components. This is especially beneficial for if you’ve got a relatively static site as the new AMP components can effectively make for a more dynamic experience.  

 

So although AMP is not suitable for every type of website, if you’re a publisher of any kind, AMP is a must.  The internet moves so fast these days, so AMP is perfect for delivering content to users incredibly quickly. 

 

AMP is not for everyone but limitations are gradually being removed…

 

AMP does have its limitations.  One being is that you can’t have more than 50KB of CSS on a page.  As most websites will contain more than 50KB of CSS this limitation requires designers and developers to design and build components efficiently. This can also be helped by using light weight grid frameworks instead of heavier ones such as Bootstrap.

 

Another perceived drawback is that JavaScript is not allowed. But what was a significant stumbling block, has been somewhat lessened with the introduction of the new AMP state and AMP bind components which now allow for more interactivity on a AMP website.

 

It can also be difficult to use AMPs standard set of components on websites that have a lot of non-standard or customised functionality. But don’t be discouraged as even where your website contains a lot of advanced functionality AMP can still be used to improve the user experience – through the use of landing pages. 

 

AMPify your customer journey

 

Using AMP for the initial steps of any online customer journey is incredibly beneficial. The first page on the journey will load very quickly and as normally a landing page will have one or two primary calls to action, knowing that most users are going to navigate to one of these pages enables the AMP site to start preloading assets for the next step of the user journey. This is actually done using a service worker, which is a separate technology to AMP, but in combination works very well.

 

We’ve already worked with Google to implement AMP pages with the Google search results carousel functionality to improve visibility of pages. We implemented AMP pages for Gordon Ramsay Restaurants – the first restaurant group to use them in the UK – which delivered an almost immediate 12% increase in organic traffic. For our European Lamb promotional campaign we deployed AMP across key recipe pages which helped to serve up a 7% decrease in website bounce rate. 

 

To sum up our thinking on AMP, what we’re certainly not advocating is that you use it  to replace your website in its entirety. Instead, given any website worth its salt should employ a landing page strategy of some description for visitors - by definition all web sites owners should consider using AMP for their landing pages. We’re doing it for our cleints and they’ve seeing the benefits. So why not AMPify for yourself?

 

References:

* https://www.ampproject.org/latest/blog/amp-two-years-of-user-first-webpages/