History is a great teacher. And it has shown time and again that meeting genuine needs of customers is really the way to succeed. Not knowing what your customers really want could send catastrophic results your way. Even if you are Google.
The tech giant experimented with the number of results users see on Google search. When web users said they would rather see 30 results than the usual 10, Google implemented it. Without warning, the traffic to the new pages dropped by a stunning 20%.
What went wrong?
Google discovered that their experiment had increased the page loading time by 0.5 seconds. This was enough to send a chunk of their traffic, packing. Google had just received from its users, the impact of longer page loading time!
It is no secret that the two things that really matter to customers online are – answers to their needs, and quick answers. Few things should direct your business more than user experience. Digital marketers find themselves at a decisive turn in the history of marketing with the advent of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
AMP is Speed
Research shows that 40% of visitors leave a webpage if the page takes anything more than 3 seconds to load. We know Google and Twitter’s AMP project is here to give more power to webpages. But what is AMP exactly?
AMP webpages are, simply put, HTML pages that are designed to be very lightweight. They reduce page loading time by nearly 4 times. Not just this, this project is Open Source, accessible for developers and it has already garnered many positive reviews. But there has been a fair amount of confusion as to how AMP stands off against Responsive Web Design.
AMP is not a replacement for Responsive Web Design. They are related but different concepts; and you will probably need both to streamline your website user experience.
Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a technology that allows your website to work on any device, right from desktops to smartphones. Responsive web design is almost vital in an increasingly mobile-first world. It ensures your website has a user-friendly interface no matter what device users access it on.
Now it’s clear this is a different deal than the speed benefit AMP delivers. If you have been around websites with responsive web design, you will know it hampers user experience quite a bit because of slow speed. Therefore, it makes sense to have important pages powered by AMP on a responsive website. You then have the best of both worlds – it looks like it’s going to be AMP plus RWD up ahead.
AMP and Google Ranking
The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project also hold promise for website rankings on Google search. Google has unified user satisfaction considerations and page load speed into its algorithm.
The reduced load time will cut down the rate at which visitors bounce away in frustration due to slow loading. That in turn is bound to impact Google’s ranking of your website.
Who will benefit from AMP in 2017?
A Google News article has already confirmed that any website can use AMP. Here are some fields that have a lot of potential to draw traffic – and save money.
⦁ News and Media – The AMP Project was initially geared for news and media publishers. The Washington Post used AMP to make their mobile content load faster. Their implementation saw among other results, a 23% rise in mobile users who returned within 7 days. Current affairs magazines like Slate have tried AMP and have reported a 44% increase in unique monthly visitors and about $85,000 savings in development resources having reused AMP documents.
⦁ eCommerce – The fact that eCommerce biggies have already been invited to use it and that AMP allows organized data for blog posts, are positive indicators that Accelerated Mobile Pages are only spreading wings in global mobile web design. Google has already said that “AMP is a natural fit for eCommerce because AMP makes webpages fast, and fast pages help with purchase conversions”. This is no surprise because:
⦁ As users realize AMP’s lightning bolt tag on result pages symbolizes faster loading speeds, click-through rates could get better
⦁ Faster loading time along with the fact that Google’s algorithm already favors such pages, can improve ecommerce website rankings
eBay has already implemented AMP with the aim to attract more users by providing a fast browsing experience and to hit higher revenues over time. So, if you are an online retailer, you need to be up to speed on anything AMP.
⦁ Content Publishers – Content publishing websites that choose to use the AMP framework get improved speeds that can lead to a 15-85% better performance. Location based news search also receives a shot in its arm – Google is frequently using the AMP Carousel to display query results, which delivers improved visibility for AMP-enabled publishers.
Many other online services and businesses stand to reap the benefits of fast-loading webpages. AMP can be enabled on most CMS. The availability of this super-quick AMP plugin for WordPress means 1 in 4 websites worldwide can now try Accelerated Mobile Pages for themselves.
What does the future hold for AMP?
With all the buzz around this project, can we really say AMP is the future of the mobile web?
Once again, history can give us much perspective. Initiatives from Google like the Authorship markup that they promoted years ago never really became popular with publishers. AMP has garnered sizeable influence over the mobile web, but its real reach will be seen only when it finally becomes a widely accepted standard by both developers and publishers. Along with Responsive Web Design, there is every chance that day may not be far away.