Google has made it clear that mobile is a priority to rank in search. But what does amp mean for your business? Let's take a look.
As the old adage goes, "time is money." Our fast-paced society demands the fast delivery of everything. Cheeseburgers, dry cleaning, the Internet - the list goes on.
Many consumers order these things from their personal devices; primarily cell phones and tablets. The use of mobile devices continues to increase exponentially, and it's crucial that businesses and websites adapt to smartphone web page specifications.
But even the fastest Internet speeds are useless if a web page, blog, or advertisement is bogged down with animations and rich content. These types of pages can still take seconds to load. And in this day and age, every second counts. Users will close the page or go to a competitor's site if they have to wait.
To address the issue of slow-loading web pages and advertisements, Google developed something known as AMP. Yes, it's probably a play on words (as in, "amp up".)
What does AMP mean?
We'll get into that below. But chances are, it matters to you and your business. Read on to learn how AMP can benefit your marketing strategy.
First Things First: What does AMP Mean?
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. And, just like it sounds, this means your web page, blog, or ad will load quickly on smartphones and tablets. And by quickly, we mean almost instantly. In short, "what does AMP mean?" can be answered with one word.
AMP is particularly aimed at rich content sites. Rich content includes things like video, animations, graphics, and smart ads. These are the things that can slow down an average site. AMP is meant to make these sites and ads as seamless as sites containing only the most basic content.
Just over a year ago, Google spearheaded the AMP project after collaborating with thousands of developers, site publishers, and other techies. It's one of many recent Google tools tailored to mobile users. And with more than 1.5 billion AMP pages published to date, it's clear that AMP made a lot of ground in a short span of time.
AMP is open-sourced, meaning it's available to anyone - any site publisher or developer, any business or agency. That means everything from a massive retailer and e-commerce sites, to global news agencies, to the smallest travel blogs maintained by individuals. So no matter who on your marketing team is asking you, "what does AMP mean?" or "why does it matter?" you can assure them that it's relevant and crucial for online marketing.
Okay, Got It! Why is AMP Important?
We've answered the question, "what does AMP mean?" Now it's time to tell you why this feature is so crucial to an effective marketing strategy.
First of all, consumers demand speed. Google understands our society digests information at speeds like never before. In fact, studies show that nearly half of web page visitors expect a site to load within 2 seconds. You can blink twice in a tenth of this time. Go on, try it, we'll wait.
AMP pages load four times faster than non-AMP web pages, and yet these sites use ten times less bandwidth. The average site load time for AMP-coded web pages is 0.7 seconds. This is faster than non-AMP mobile sites - but it's also drastically faster than desktop-designed webpages.
Quick-loading web pages mean happy customers and better conversion rates. And that's your end goal, after all: conversions. Whether this means purchasing a product, engaging in email or chat, or navigating the site, your customers are more likely to stay on a web page that responds before they can even set down their coffee.
Visitors will also be more likely to access your site regularly, share your page on social media, and navigate to less popular subpages on your website. If anything, this tells us that the question of "why" is even more important that "what".
Speed is everything.
But Speed Isn't the Only Benefit
What does AMP mean in addition to speed?
AMP-enabled sites receive a prime spot in the world of search engines. This means that your site or ad appears higher and more central on a mobile search engine landing screen.
The search results also have a special icon next to it (a circle with a lightning bolt through it) and it says "AMP" next to the icon. But if a user is accessing your AMP site from a non-Google site, they won't see these visual cues.
Keep in mind that AMP isn't tied directly to your search engine optimization. This means having an AMP-enabled site won't directly impact the ranking of your site in search engine algorithms. However, in the past, Google promised site producers that, all other factors equal, a faster site will rank higher than a slower site. We'll hold 'em to it.
Is AMP Really A Big Deal?
Short answer? Yes. AMP-enabled sites represent seven percent of traffic for top US web page publishers. Smartphone usage is increasing all over the globe, so web pages need to load instantly. And though AMP was cutting-edge when Google developed it, it's pretty much mainstream at this point for marketing managers, site publishers, and so on.
And by "mainstream," we mean it's a must-have. Like Biology 101 in medical school or chocolate chips in a cookie.
Wordpress and Reddit both have millions of pages available in AMP. Bing and Ebay are on board, too. Even Pinterest. The point is, AMP is a big deal to huge enterprises across the globe. So when the mom of the house is pinning dream bathroom and kitchen ideas, those pins are AMP-enabled.
Sounds Like Another Tech Craze To Me...
Could be, but many experts think otherwise.
Think about your own internet usage habits while you're on your mobile phone. When you land on a page of search engine results, you're most likely to click on the results top-and-centre, right? Try it out now: Google something like, "Trudeau" or "fast cars" or "BC fires." You should see that many top hits have the lightning bolt icon (not to mention, they are central on the screen.)
But let's say you didn't click on one those lightning bolt ads. Instead, you went to page four of the search engine results and clicked on a random site. Chances are the page will load relatively slowly. Cue the Jeopardy theme song. Now go back to one of the AMP-enabled sites on page one of the search results, and check out the difference.
It's not rocket science, and Google is way ahead of competitor offerings from Facebook and Apple that have developed similar tools. So while it's fair to ask whether Google's specific AMP feature is viable in the long term, the reality is, accelerated web pages will be around for the long haul.
Yeah, But I Want to See Numbers...
Fair enough. What does AMP mean to the average math guy? Strong stats, that's what.
After AMP had been in place for a year, Google ran a few studies. From an ad performance perspective, results showed that more than 80% of site publishers had higher rates of ad viewability. More viewers mean more clicks and more conversions.
The Washington Post, as one example, has seen more than a 20% increase in mobile site users who return within 7 days.
Slate has seen an almost 75% jump in visits per monthly unique visitor.
And if you're still wary about why speed matters, think on this. Studies show that half of consumers check out products and services on their smartphones, yet a 100-millisecond delay in website load time can reduce conversion rates by seven percent. Yikes.
I'm Officially In. How do I Implement AMP?
Marketing strategies include content creation and strategy planning. For many businesses, this is the "easiest" part.
But for the implementation of AMP-enabled sites, a little more technical knowledge is usually required. Of course, some sites like Wordpress offer build-it-yourself web pages that are already AMP-enabled.
Next time you're on the LRT or at a family party, take a look around: how many people (elderly and millennial alike!) are on their smartphones?
We're addicted, and that's no joke. Roughly half of your dinner party friends are on social media, and the others are checking email or surfing the web. But the reason people opt to use their phones in social settings is because they know they can access information quickly.
The reality is that page viewers only want the quickest access to information - so whether you're promoting new cars or casserole recipes, your viewers will ditch the site if it doesn't load ASAP.
Hopefully, we've answered the question, "what does AMP mean?" as well as many other questions you may have about the capability. It's an important feature for big and small advertisers alike, but it's also worth having for those who maintain personal blogs or websites.
Consider whether AMP may be a useful feature in your own website management. Chances are, the answer is yes.