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Why AMP Pages Are Essential to a Mobile-First Strategy

It’s no secret that Google has been serious about mobile-first for quite some time. Mobile searches surpassed desktop searches for the first time in 2015, and the gap has continued to grow ever since.

This massive shift in consumer behavior comes with challenges, as mobile browsing is limited by slower connections, smaller screens, and limited processing power. This is a far cry from desktop web design trends, which favor immersive design experiences, sprawling images, and interactive elements.

Google’s solution to this problem was to create an alternative web browsing experience for mobile devices, dubbed Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) pages. With AMP, Google can deliver mobile pages that meet customer expectations, which puts more emphasis on content and creating a consistent experience.

So what are AMP pages and how can you use them in your digital arsenal?

Accelerated Mobile Pages Explained

In a nutshell, AMP pages are mobile-friendly versions of your web pages that are completely optimized for mobile browsing. AMP strips away extraneous code, leaving you with simple pages that load quickly, are easy to read, and limit distractions.

AMP pages are loaded directly from Google’s servers, meaning they’re able to render in a fraction of a second, compared to most web hosts. Because of their standardized layout, users can expect a familiar experience when clicking on an AMP page, noted by a lightning bolt icon on mobile search results.

google amp pages

In many cases, AMP pages maintain most of the design of your existing branded pages, with a few exceptions. Take the example below from Wired. The general presentation remains consistent, but the AMP page reduces certain design elements, replaces a video ad with a static ad, and prioritizes above the fold content. These updates, coupled with many behind-the-scenes updates, results in a page that loads up to four times faster on mobile devices.

amp pages vs mobile pages

Why AMP Matters Today (And Even More Tomorrow)

Google AMP pages are based on the AMP Project, an open source page format that enables pages with multimedia content to load instantaneously for proper viewing on mobile devices. The project has seen widespread adoption online, with over 600 million AMP pages live since 2016. Add into the mix that Facebook has now integrated with AMP pages, and you can see why folks are getting behind this movement.

The main features of AMP include:

  • Blazing Speed. Undoubtedly, the most distinctive feature of AMP pages is speed. Pages load faster and more fluid, eliminating wait times that typically drive customers offsite.
  • HTML & JavaScript Optimization. AMP has special restrictions regarding markup and features, ensuring that pages meet specific speed and resource restrictions.
  • Open Source and Free for All. The ability to be open to all creators of content on the Internet who wish to join it. In this, it differs clearly from, for example, the platform Facebook Instant Articles, which is limited to a reduced number of partners.
  • Backed By Google. As the world’s largest and most used search engine, Google brings nearly instant legitimacy to the AMP Project. Throw in the recent Facebook integration, and you can see why this format is quickly running away with the market.

As AMP continues to gain mainstream adoption, it’s becoming more crucial for e-commerce vendors to integrate the technology with their sites. Here’s why:

1. Page Speed is REALLY Important

Anyone familiar with Google knows how much emphasis they place on customer experience. And can you guess what the number one customer complaint about mobile is? Load time! In fact, studies have shown that a one second delay in mobile page load time can decrease conversions up to 20%. For most e-commerce brands, that can be the difference between thriving and barely surviving in a cutthroat digital environment.

amp pages speed

2. AMP is Coming to AdWords

At the 2017 Marketing Next Conference, Google announced the introduction of AMP for ads and landing pages. These announcements further cemented AMP pages as Google’s premier mobile solution and should be a sign to advertisers that the technology isn’t going away.

The effect on consumer behavior can’t be understated either. AMP ads typically load up to five seconds faster than their non-AMP equivalents, preventing bad UX experiences that occur when ads load after your content.

google amp landing pages

3. Consumer Preference Will Dictate Adoption

As users become more and more acquainted with the AMP lightning symbol, it will begin to develop a sense of trust. Clicking an AMP ready page guarantees fast speed and a predictable experience, two features that dominate mobile best practices. Brands can latch onto that trust while its still early, and take advantage of the technology while its still in earlier phases.

Getting Started with AMP

Getting started with AMP isn’t particularly difficult, but you will need help from your development team or agency to get started. WordPress users can take advantage of the AMP plugin to get started, but more advanced brands will likely rely on a custom solution to closely match their branded mobile pages with their AMP pages.

NetElixir offers AMP implementation services for many of the larger e-commerce platforms, while also helping you get ready for AMP landing pages and ads. Contact us today to see how we can help you AMP up your mobile efforts!