You might already be familiar with Google AMP – stripped-down versions of existing web content, created to offer mobile users really fast, really pretty experiences. They’ve been popping up a lot lately, not without causing some controversies. In today’s post will take a look at the nitty-gritty: Google AMP Stories – are they friend or foe? And more importantly, should you give AMP Stories a go?
The volume of web traffic from mobile devices has exploded over the last decade. Every marketer knows that it can be tough to grab the users’ attention in such a highly competitive environment. Google’s response to this challenge: AMP Stories – Google’s take on visual stories. The initiative aims to create faster experiences for users on mobile devices.
What are AMP Stories?
|Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are mobile-optimised pages with lightning-fast loading speeds that prioritise the user experience above all else. AMP creation involves stripping down copies of existing HTML page content to make mobile content not only faster but easier to consume.|
AMPs are mainly shown in Google Search results. You can easily recognise AMPs by the little lightning-bolt logo and the Google URL you’re redirected to after clicking on an optimised article:
From a marketing perspective, AMP stories are a mobile-specific format that displays and delivers content in a tap-through, visually appealing way. Instead of the regular search engine results, users receive a swipeable ‘story’ that they can navigate by swiping left or right (… remind you of something?!). They’re made for easy to digest news, blogs, and other static content.
Why that’s interesting? Well, take a look at the following stats:
- In 2019, 55.2 per cent of web traffic worldwide came from mobile devices
- 53 per cent of visitors leave a page that doesn’t load within 3 seconds
- With AMP, the average load speed is now under 1 second
AMP stories appear to be a fantastic opportunity for brands to grab and hold their target audience’s attention. In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with marketing messages, a little nugget of visually rich content that loads at warp speed can go a long way.
The Story Behind It
Google first came up with the idea of ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’ in 2016, but until 2019 not very many businesses had been using them. Which was a pity, because those who embraced the technology with open arms were rewarded with up to 20 per cent increases in conversion rates, according to Google.
For Google, the main goal was to reduce the load time of mobile web pages by eliminating the irrelevant elements and improving the overall performance of pages. The world’s most-used search engine promotes AMPs as “mobile-focused format for delivering news and information as visually rich, tap-through stories” aimed at enhancing the consumption on mobile devices.
“AMP is an open-source standard that allows you to create web pages that load quickly on mobile browsers. To help provide a better mobile user experience, you can create AMP versions of your landing pages.” Google Support
What else is new? Click here to get the latest scoop on the Google Analytics 4 update!
How Do AMP Stories Work?
– Hosted on Google Servers
AMP Stories are Google’s push towards creating a rich mobile experience. To achieve the record-breaking load speeds, AMP content is hosted on Google’s own servers. What users see when they click on a story is a cached version of the web page at the URL ‘google.com/amp/webpage’.
– An Open Source Project
AMP Stories is based on an open-source HTML framework, meaning that, in theory, anyone can contribute to the standard. This allows for contributions from Google employees and non-Googlers, aimed at bringing a greater variety of voices into the project. WordPress, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Bing, among others, have been involved in its current iteration.
Still, many developers and media executives aren’t at all happy. For them, one problem remains: Google alone gets to decide which AMP version gets higher placements in Search results – possibly making any changes to the AMP standard null and void.
– Copies of Existing HTML Content
AMP Stories are usually copies of existing webpage content and written in the lighter form of popular coding languages to prioritise speed and readability over anything else. AMP content is delivered in addition to regular HTML. Google will prioritise linking to the signed AMP content for browsers that support it, which is currently only Chrome.
– Interface Design Restrictions
The AMP interface itself is based on pre-set templates to make the production of stories as easy as possible. This includes standardised UI controls, and components for adding follow-on content.
Click here for the developers guide on making Google AMP work!
AMP Stories – Why You Should Give it a Go
AMP pages are highly visible in Google Search results. They are not only favoured by Google’s algorithm but also prominently positioned. This makes them an extremely effective way to captivate your audience and can give you a competitive advantage. Not only that, AMP is now a requirement for inclusion in the coveted top stories carousel and driving of additional visibility.
AMPs decrease the load time of your landing pages and in doing so, increase your overall site quality score, witnessed by:
- Lower bounce rates
- Increased session times
- Increased conversion rates
Why does Google love AMPs so much? Well, we do acknowledge that they might be a little biased when it comes to their in-house creation. Google is, of course, giving preference to faster-loading pages, AMP pages ‘just so happened’ to be the fastest. But then, this shouldn’t surprise anyone – they’re hosted on Google’s own servers after all.
Should you AMP-lify your marketing strategy?
As the main contributor to the project, Google makes most, if not all of the rules. So if you decide to use AMP, you have to follow specific guidelines in regards to interface design and advertising.
It can be restrictive, but keep in mind that you’ll be rewarded with lightning-fast page loading speeds. If you want to keep pace in a highly competitive environment, using Google’s advancements in mobile page ranking is the most reliable method.
If you want to dip your toes into creating AMP Stories and are looking to make a big splash, get in touch with the content experts at Anchor Digital. We’d love to help you enhance your digital marketing strategy!