The benefits of implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are clear - faster load times on mobile, increased user engagement, and higher conversions. And yet, many company's still seem reluctant to implement the new format. To help you determine whether AMPs are for you, we decided to share insights about them directly from Google itself.

In September 2016, we invited Maile Ohye, former Google Developer Programs Tech Lead, to our Clarity 16 user conference to talk about their plans for mobile and search. 

And surely enough, Maile spoke at length about AMPs too. Here’s what she told us.

Consuming Content on Mobile is Frustrating (But It’s Not Always the Website’s Fault)

We tend to put a lot of blame for poor mobile user experience on seemingly slow sites.

Take a look at these stats:

mobile sites stats

(image source)

But as Maile pointed out, there’s another aspect of the problem we rarely consider - the mobile technology. As users, we strive for speed. We want to access the information, be it an article, a product page, or a video as quickly as possible. But mobile devices aren’t always capable of delivering to our expectations. It’s often down to the limitations of the mobile technology.

Take desktop, for example. Computers give us so much more control over the content. For one, we can use the mouse to click precisely where we want, and the whole operation takes no time whatsoever. Now consider taking similar actions on a mobile. Registering a tap takes 300 milliseconds. And often, given the small screen real estate, we need to repeat the action a couple of times, before we hit the right spot.

Once we’ve clicked, though, retrieving the signal takes another one hundred milliseconds or so. Then there’s the whole aspect of accessing the page’s content - from connectivity issues, hardware problems, challenges with querying the server, etc.

In other words, the mobile technology is affecting the speed at which we can access content on smartphones. That’s the primary reason behind the development of the Accelerated Mobile Pages - to overcome the limitations on the mobile and deliver the best mobile experience to users.

Why Should You Use AMPs?

I guess saying “because they work” would be insufficient.

So consider some interesting stats on the implementation of AMPs we heard from Maile:

  • At the time of her talk, Google already held 150M AMP pages in their index. And I’m sure that number has gone up exponentially.
  • All of those pages load considerably faster on a smartphone. In fact, as Maile pointed, most AMP pages take less than a second to load because when retrieving them, Google uses a cached version.

But is the speed really that important? Oh absolutely! For one, consider the below research findings into the correlation between page load time and conversions:

Unsurprisingly, the faster your page loads, the greater the chance for conversion:

SOASTA stats

(slide from Maile’s presentation, data by Soasta)

But, there’s more. According to Soasta, if your page loads only a second faster than your competitors, your chances for conversion go up by a staggering 27%!

mobile case study conversions

(image source)

And the conversion rate shrinks by 50% if a page load time increases from 1 to 6 seconds.

fast enough browse

(image source)

Page load time affects user engagement too. The situation isn’t any different with visitor engagement. As Soasta discovered, pages that are only a second slower, experience a 56% higher bounce rate.

mobile case study bounce NEW

(image source)

And many brands have already seen interesting results after implementing AMPs.

For example:

  • The number of impressions per page view on Gizmodo’s AMP pages is 50 percent higher than on a non-AMP page. (source)
  • People spend 10% more time on Miami Herald’s AMP pages, compared to their non-AMP mobile pages. (source)
  • And Slate has seen a 44 percent jump in monthly unique visitors from Google searches, and visits per monthly unique user are up 73 percent. (source)

During her talk, Maile shared a Washington Post AMP case study. As she reports, after implementing AMPs, the publisher saw:

  • 88% in improvement in load time vs. their traditional website which resulted in
  • 23% increase in mobile search users who return within 7 days.

What Can You Do With AMP Pages?

Initially, the AMP Project aimed to help publishers only. News publications, blogs, and any other site that publishes a lot of content could use the format to provide a faster user experience to their readers. But since Google started incorporating AMPs in the main search results, it became obvious that anybody could implement AMPs and avail of the benefits the new format offers.

To help you understand the rankings of your AMPs, seoClarity can help you identify keywords that trigger AMP pages in search results.

What can you do with AMP pages:

  • Create lightning-fast versions of your content to display on mobile. Depending on your content management system platform, you could use various plugins to quickly create AMP versions of your blog posts (I mention some of them in my previous article on AMPs).
  • Create individual AMP pages that do not have corresponding desktop counterparts.
  • Display visuals, lead forms, and multimedia to improve user engagement (however, it’s worth to note that there are some limitations you’ll have to work by)

This last point is particularly important because, as Google’s John Mueller pointed out in a recent Google Hangout - your AMP page shouldn’t be low quality, stripped down version of the main page. Instead, it should deliver the same value (including the multimedia) but much faster due to the AMP HTML format.

Here’s the excerpt from the hangout (the emphasis in bold is mine):

“One thing I also ask here is if you're using AMP as a separate page for your site and then I try to make sure that as much as possible that the AMP version is actually equivalent to your main version. So avoid the situation where the AMP is kind of a trim down version of your page that doesn't have videos, it doesn't have the full content, because that's a terrible user experience. And I know the AMP team really doesn't like it when people serve low quality AMP instead of normal pages. So if you have that content then make that content shine on a AMP page.

What About AMP for Ecommerce?

Ever since eBay converted their browse pages to AMP, many Ecommerce owners began to wonder whether they should use AMPs in their stores. And according to Maile, the answer is no. As she pointed, launching AMPs for Ecommerce isn’t on the Google’s roadmap yet. Having said that, this doesn't mean that you couldn’t prepare for when Google comes up with the idea of using AMPs in online retail.

You could, for example, begin by converting your blog to AMP, to provide a faster mobile experience to potential users reaching your articles and guides. And then, when or if Google finally releases guidelines for commercial pages, convert the rest of the site into AMP.

In conclusion, Accelerate Mobile Pages offer you a chance to finally overcome some of the most nagging challenges with mobile experience - slow load time, and a poor user engagement.

And hopefully, the insight from Maile has helped you decide whether implementing AMP pages on your site should be your top priority.