AMP 101: What Digital Marketers Need to Know

By Melissa Duko, September 12, 2017

In 2015, Google recognized our need for speed and gifted us accelerated mobile pages (AMP). Or perhaps they were just looking to give Facebook’s Instant Articles some competition. Either way, publishers and advertisers are benefitting.

Faster loading mobile pages provide a better user experience. And happy users equal happy publishers and advertisers. Using AMP is a no brainer, and big names are amping it up.

Notable AMP users include Ebay, Redditt, and Washington Post. Even Pinterest uses AMP for their pins. If you haven’t jumped on the AMP bandwagon, here’s what you need to know (and why you should).

What Is AMP

AMP is an online publishing format that optimizes mobile web browsing. It’s a stripped-down form of HTML, or as Moz calls it “diet HTML,” which removes JavaScript from the page.

This streamlined version of CSS enables mobile content to load almost instantaneously. In fact, the median load time for AMP-coded content is 0.7 seconds compared to 22 seconds for non-AMP pages.

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And it isn’t just content that loads faster. AMP ads have a median load time of 1.6 seconds faster than a regular ad. The lightning fast ads are made possible by Google’s AMP for Ads program, which allows marketers to create optimized ads to run alongside AMP articles.

Amp-for-ads-WP.gif Source: Venture Beat

How It Works

AMP achieves its speed by changing how the web works. It requires developers to use a narrow set of technology to create the pages (e.g. diet HTML). Then it serves the pages from its own services (e.g. you visit an AMP page via a Google search).

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By using an AMP format, content producers make their content (in AMP files), accessible to be crawled, display, and cached by third parties.

It’s important to note, while JavaScript is banned on AMP sites, there are some loopholes that allow publishers to include analytics, ads, and other pieces of JavaScript.

What Are the Benefits (and Drawbacks)

Still on the fence about AMP? There are additional benefits besides faster loading content. AMP also reduces your bounce rate. The faster the speed, the more views and less chances of losing the user.

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AMP pages also offer better visibility and higher rank for organic search. Here, you can see AMP articles rank above the fold. Not surprisingly, a DoubleClick study found that 80% of publishers who used AMP saw higher viewability rates.

AMP-1.jpg Source: Convince and Convert

While AMP has plenty of benefits, there are couple minor drawbacks to keep in mind. For instance, how you code your pages is restricted. So, if you want to feature videos, you must use AMP-approved extensions. Also when a reader shares a link to AMP content, the link points to Google.com URLs, instead of let’s say New York Times. Not exactly ideal.

What’s Next for AMP

Twitter recently announced they’re going to start linking to accelerated mobile pages. And Google Analytics is planning to make it easier to see users across AMP and non-AMP pages, by unifying user IDs when someone visits a domain via AMP or non-AMP pages.

Looks like AMP isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

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Melissa Duko

Melissa Duko

Melissa Duko is the Senior Editor and Digital Specialist for eZanga. She brings to her role 11 years of journalism experience and a love of all things pop culture. A graduate of the University of Delaware, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, concentration business and technical writing, minor Art History. She also has a Master of Science in professional writing for the public and private sector from Towson University. She isn’t afraid to admit that her love for Starbucks is at gold member status. (Since 2011!) And her penchant for retaining pop culture trivia means she knows what "rickrolling" is and isn’t afraid to use it. More Articles by Melissa Duko