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Accelerated Mobile Pages: What is AMP, and What Does It Mean for Your Mobile Business?

By June 28, 2018 No Comments

What is AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)?

If you’ve ever searched for content and interacted with the results on a mobile device, you’ve probably encountered AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages.

AMP is an open source framework developed by Google in collaboration with Twitter. Accelerated Mobile Pages create better, faster experiences on the mobile web. At its core, the framework allows you to build lightweight experiences for mobile by simplifying the HTML and following streamlined CSS rules.

AMP was originally considered to be developed in response to Facebook’s Instant Articles. However, over the years, it has become a powerful platform for delivering content directly from search results at almost lightening speed. Earlier this year, Google drew a line in the sand with the announcement that it will push for adding AMP technology framework to web standards.

What is AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)?

How does AMP work?

Under the hood, AMP framework has 3 main parts.

  • AMP HTML: Think of AMP HTML as a leaner version of regular HTML. The AMP framework has strict rules for the HTML tags you can use. To ensure fast page load, certain HTML elements like forms are not allowed on AMP. AMP framework also requires that you use a streamlined version of CSS. View the full list of required HTML tags for AMP framework. None of this should be new if you are used to building web content using modern HTML and CSS.
  • AMP JS: To ensure fast page load on mobile platforms, AMP restricts the use of any Javascript. The only exception is for AMP scripts, which are optimized with page load acceleration in mind. What AMP takes away with JS, it provides with a library of easy-to-implement components. You can create animations, load content dynamically, modify layout, and more using AMP’s vast component library. (And don’t worry, there’s an AMP component for GDPR compliance, too.)
  • AMP CDN : Commonly known as AMP Cache, a critical component of AMP platform is its proxy-based content delivery network (CDN). The CDN fetches AMP content and caches it for fast delivery. By default, the AMP CDN caches all valid AMP content and does not provide an option to opt out. However, you can continue leveraging your own CDN provider on top of AMP cache to customize your content delivery configurations.

So, should I use AMP for my website?

In the few years since AMP was launched, it is generally accepted that media sites do well on AMP. Since the majority of content on media sites is static, these websites have seen significant boosts in organic search traffic. In addition, Google has also made it simple for publishers to make their content stand out with Rich Cards. For eCommerce websites with content that is heavily dynamic and changing based on user selections (think filtering, sorting, adding to cart, and more dynamic user actions), the jury is out on the how much AMP can boost performance on mobile. All SEO and mobile performance enthusiasts seem to agree that a well-implemented AMP website will:

  • Significantly increase the volume of organic search traffic.
  • Increase engagement and conversions resulting from faster, better mobile experiences.
  • Reduce the load on your servers since AMP CDN caches and responds to most search results.
  • Provide an opportunity for your content to be featured prominently in AMP carousel on mobile search results.

But what are the drawbacks of AMP?

The most common reason some digital web brands have decided not to implement AMP is the level of effort needed to AMP-ify your web assets. It is undeniable that mobile presents an opportunity, but it also demands a significant and thoughtful approach. To leverage the benefits of an AMP experience, your development team will need to build and maintain separate assets for AMP.

Since AMP caches content without making a request to your servers each time, your analytics and measurement tools cannot rely 100% on server requests. You will need to implement special tracking parameters to accurately capture CTRs and engagement metrics from the AMP version of your website.

To put it simply, AMP is HTML on a diet—which means that you cannot deliver rich user experiences like moving maps, rotating images, and more on AMP. If portions of your website relies heavily of rich UX, you may wish to reconsider building AMP versions of those web sections.  

Lastly, AMP experiences are walled and restrictive by design. It’s hard for users to do anything from an AMP experience except go back to Google search results. This creates the risk of losing mobile user engagement, and a potential conversion for your brand.

Can I leverage web-to-app experiences on my AMP websites?

Yes! AMP provides a unique opportunity on mobile for organic traffic to search and discover content on your website. With Branch’s Journeys web-to-app smart banners, you can further the content discovery and bridge mobile web and app by building customized web-to-app experiences. Here are some specific experiences you can build with Branch on your AMP website.

  • With Branch’s AMP-compatible web-to-app Journeys, you can seamlessly route mobile users from AMP content directly into your app without risking the loss of their engagement. An additional benefit is that you will retain full analytics on your users’ behavior without having to incur the cost of retagging your website for AMP.
  • To get a full-funnel view of your users’ journeys from search results into app content, you can include Branch links behind Rich Cards. This will help you gain visibility into content that performs well with organic traffic while creating seamless experiences for you users.

To learn more about AMP and how Branch can help, request a demo with our partner growth team today!

Branch is a mobile linking platform providing unified mobile experiences and measurement for more than 30,000 mobile apps, including Airbnb, Slack, Reddit, Tinder and Amazon. Branch’s free linking platform can help you grow your mobile app through features like deep linking, sharing, referrals, mobile banners and interstitials, custom app onboarding, and unified attribution across platforms and channels. Learn more about Branch.
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