Importance: (For Site Owners / Design and CX professionals )
Update February 2016: Google has started rolling out Accelerated mobile pages to certain mobile search results. The changes have come a day earlier than expected, but are not yet fully rolled out. AMPs offer much faster mobile loading times and solve a key issue for mobile web users. Now they are live, implementing AMPs for your site just got more important than ever! Right now it they seem to just be appearing in news carousels for certain results, but expect to see them roll out over more searches over the coming days.
Update December 2015: Google has announced that it is see 16,000 new Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) every single day. This is an impressive rate of adoption and shows the extent to which webmasters want to attract audiences of mobile devices. Google has said that it will support AMPs within Google search next month (Jan 2016) and said it will begin sending traffic to the pages from organic search by February 2016.
Mobile page loading times are a perennial headache. It’s not that mobile devices aren’t up to displaying quality web pages - they can be. The problem is usually caused by long form content and in particular ads being extremely data hungry. The New York Times recently acknowledged in a strikingly honest article that it’s own home page loaded on iPhones twice as quickly if they had an ad blocker installed. Studies have also shown that some pages have over 3 times as much data in ad content as they do in actual useful content.
In an attempt to banish the scourge of slow load times on mobile, which really should be an anachronism in our 'mobile first' age, Google has announced the impending launch of ‘AMP’. This stands for ‘Accelerated mobile pages’.
The project has quickly gained traction with publishers, advertising networks and platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter - so if they take it seriously, then we should think about it too. AMPs will put a brake on how much data ads use to accelerate page loading times, but they will still have ads. In this way, they may help to reduce the growth of ad blockers, as people won’t feel the need to have ad blockers installed to stop them slowing down page load times and eating up their mobile data. Google has stated that the pages will still allow advertisers to collect traffic counts and other key ad data, which means AMPs won’t reduce advertisers analytics options.
Fast loading mobile pages aren’t just good for advertisers, they could be good for almost anyone’s site. After all, over half of internet traffic now comes from mobile, and making sure your page loads fast can reduce the bounce rate and thus attract more customers.
If you are considering AMP pages when they launch in early 2016, you’ll need to know how to go about setting them up for your site. Luckily this won’t be difficult. We asked our resident web designer Aaron to explain how to set up accelerated mobile pages for your own site.
'To make your existing web pages into "Accelerated Mobile Pages" doesn’t require too much work. You just need to include the required AMP script and convert some of your existing HTML markup in to AMP markup which is an extension of HTML and it works in all modern browsers
For example a standard HTML image tag might look like <img src=""> an AMP image tag looks like <amp-img src="”>
Consider using accelerated mobile pages in the new year as they could help give your mobile traffic a nice little boost, especially if long load times are currently putting potential readers off. Stay tuned to the Smart Insights blog next year for more updates on when they will be live.
By Robert Allen
I am the Editor of Smart Insights. I manage the Smart Insights blog and write on a range of subjects- Marketing Technology trends and latest tech developments are a regular focus, as well as exploring key marketing concepts. You can get in touch with me on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn.
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