Are You Ready For AMP?

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

Take a look at your website performance and compare it to these statistics: 47% of consumers expect mobile websites to load in two seconds or less, and 40% abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. Is your mobile site loading in three seconds or less? Probably not, and you’re not alone. The Kissmetrics survey on load times found that 73% of users reported encountering a mobile site that was too slow to load.

Not only is your slow-loading website costing your site traffic, it also costs your conversions. An additional second delay can result in a 7% drop in conversions. After all, why would they stay on your website when they can visit your competitors — or Amazon — and buy from them instead?

In fact, Amazon reported that every 1/10th second in additional load time cost them 1% of sales. This sounds like a small figure until you look at their 2015 revenue and realize that 1% of sales is 1.07 BILLION dollars.

Google listened to Internet users and is challenging brands to offer the fastest experience possible. It’s in the search engine’s best interest to highlight websites that load in less than two seconds and create a quality mobile experience for the users. This is why rolled out rolled out its AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project back in February and has recruited more than 300 big name brands to start using it.

To compete in tomorrow’s market, it’s not enough to be mobile friendly. You need to make your website fast.

What is AMP and What Does it Mean for Brands?

AMP HTML is an open source framework where companies can create a simplified version of their website’s code and only load the necessary information. Google believes that websites with complex code, cumbersome images, and bulky Javascript are creating a poor mobile experience for customers with slow loading times. By switching to the AMP model, websites can load up to 85% faster, creating a near instant loading experience for the customer.

One of the initial companies to embrace AMP is the news site, The Guardian. In fact, the paper is currently testing another experimental feature of the platform, where they allow Google to cache a copy of their content, allowing for almost instant loading from search.

AMP does not replace a traditional mobile website. To qualify as mobile friendly you still need to provide an experience that works well on smartphones. Instead, AMP should be viewed as an additional way to reach mobile customers, instead of as the only solution. The platform places strict limits on the type of code that can exist on an AMP page, particularly JavaScript and other methods that web developers previously used to make their content interactive, or to allow for detailed user behavior tracking.

Google has stated that AMPs will not necessarily have a rankings boost over other mobile-friendly sites but is starting to place AMP icons in mobile SERPs to let alert customers to the option. This has led some bloggers to question the value of the AMP icon, especially not that the search engine removed their mobile-friendly icon from search. After all, most customers knew what mobile-friendly meant, but might not understand what AMP stands for.

Who Can Take Advantage of AMP?

If the goal of AMPs is to create a better mobile experience by eliminating unnecessary fluff, then what does this mean for blogs and publishers that rely on ad revenue? What does this mean for advertisers who expect their display ads to show across the Internet?

One of the biggest concerns with AMPs is ad presence. Google created AMP Ads that load as quickly as the rest of the website and are meant to be minimally invasive to the customers. It is also expanding the ad types that it’s compatible with and is working with publishers and advertising companies to find solutions. However, many publishers have expressed frustration that ads are slow to load or not showing up at all for AMPs.

What Does Google’s AMP Mean for eCommerce Sites?

While the publishing world is trying to figure out how they can make a living in the brave new world of AMPs, the

eCommerce world is preparing for the next mobile doomsday. AMP pages are just starting to reach the point where they’re robust enough for the requirements of digital storefronts.

Thanks to the input and development provided by the initial pilot brands, AMP eCommerce could soon become a reality. The AMP Team recently gave an update on their developments, showcasing how it is possible to replicate almost the entire customer journey.

However, the technology is still very new, and businesses might want to wait for researchers to work out any issues before they invest the resources or assume the risk that a new platform would entail. But forward-thinking eCommerce stores can test the capabilities of AMP without risking their product pages.

How Can eCommerce Sites Take Advantage of AMP?

Even in it’s earliest versions, AMP allowed for detailed analytics training. If your business uses Google Analytics to monitor site traffic, you can start experimenting with AMP pages without sacrificing valuable user data.

Adobe Omniture is currently partially compatible, and most other analytics organizations partnering with Google to create tracking code that’s compatible with the project’s strict guidelines. If the platform you use is currently incompatible with AMP, you may need to rely on Google Analytics until your tracking software of choice has time to adapt.

Start with any blog or news sites that your business might have might have. This can be media releases that feed into Google News or simple blog posts with how-to guides and whitepapers. Learn how your blog looks when it’s built with AMP code, especially on image and video heavy pages. In some cases, you may want an AMP and a non-AMP version of the site so Google can load the best possible page for your site visitors.

After your developers become familiar with the platform, you can start experimenting with how your category and product pages will look. Google created AMP to give customers a mobile experience where content loads instantly, without the heavy design elements that crept into our modern web design. While the project is still in its infancy, brands that start applying the principles to their websites early could use it as a competitive advantage against their peers.

To learn more about upgrading your site to AMP and our eCommerce consulting solutions, please contact us today for a confidential discovery review of your domain.

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