As it is already known content is served not only on PC and laptops but especially on mobile devices. What this leads us to is to create websites as optimized as possible for every mobile device. We use responsive design, we leverage page load and we even serve light-weight versions of our website. Since consumers are found on tablets and mobiles pages need to load as fast as possible or else you will lose them. Along with users you will also lose advertising revenue. So, it is obvious that you need to make your pages super-fast.
Fortunately technology is on our side. Google has introduced an open source initiative called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) “which aims to drastically improve the performance of the mobile web”. Basically, AMP is a “stripped-down form of HTML”, designed to be lightweight and load fast. Google AMP pages are accessible through Google Search, marked with a little thunder icon and are considered a response to Facebook’s Instant Articles.
In this war Facebook Instant Articles seem to be quite ahead. From the moment they were launched, visitor’s traffic has been reported to increase without affecting user experience. On the other hand AMP seems to be lagging in certain countries. On a global level quite a few significant publishers have adopted the AMP technology (Wired, Slate, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, to name a few) but reviews are mixed. For example, Slate and The Atlantic claim that AMP pages account only for small percentage of their site visits. On the flipside The Washington Post has seen a 23% increase in mobile search users who return within 7 days which is a significant improvement.
A possible explanation for the above mixed reviews could be that Google is gradually rolling out Accelerated Mobile Pages. It was first introduced to its search results, then to Google News and it’s still been applied to new content categories.
The same goes for countries. AMP is featured to more content categories in some countries while in others it’s barely on search results. Take Greece for example.There are publishers that invested time and money to be the first to adopt the AMP initiative because they believe in it but until now they do not see any results. In addition, this delay stripped them off their competitive advantage which means that more players will catch up.
Nevertheless the safest thing to do before we form an accurate view is to wait and experience the full potential of Google AMP pages deployed on the majority of content categories. Moreover, we shouldn’t forget that user experience is not only about content but inevitably about ads as well. The AMP Project has also announced the AMP for Ads initiative to address this issue and “ensure users have great experiences on the web with both content and ads. The initiative’s goal is to fix the foundation of digital advertising on the web, applying the principles of AMP to advertising and making ads faster, more beautiful and secure” (Richard Gingras, VP – News, Google).
Finally, despite the mixed reviews we should acknowledge the fact that Google AMP Project is something new and the journey is going to be long. The road will have bumps we will need to adapt. But since AMP is an open project my best advice is to get involved. Explore and improve and make it work for your own needs. Contribute and be creative in order to make mobile browsing better and faster.