What is an AMP page
An AMP is a simplified webpage for mobile use. It is already cached on servers making it easier and faster to retrieve. It’s purpose is to give users a faster web experience on mobile. Research by Google reveals that 40% of users bounce from web pages that take longer than three seconds to load. AMP pages seek to remedy that.
AMP was created by Google in 2015. As of 2016 It is open source and no longer exclusively run by Google.
Up until recently Google prioritized AMP pages in mobile search. When Google introduced Core Web Vitals in June of 2020 they shifted their ranking priorities.
AMP pages are still likely to rank high because by their nature and purpose they rank well under Core Web Vitals, but it’s the page’s result, not the AMP designation that causes the ranking.
It’s important to know the difference. AMP is a product, Core Web Vitals is a benchmark.
Why was AMP created
Accelerated Mobile Pages – AMP was introduced to remedy the poor mobile browsing experience many users have. 46.54 percent of internet browsing is on mobile these days, yet many websites are designed with desktop in mind, and mobile an afterthought.
AMP pages are exclusive to mobile browsing and the UX of mobile users.
How does it work
Google caches your site pages on their server , when someone visits an AMP everything is all ready to go. Because there is little to no loading, no need to call multiple servers and run many third party scripts, the page loads significantly faster giving the user a better experience.
It does this by combining a few different approaches.
- Asynchronous loading. It does not wait for the largest scripts on the page to load.
- Static Resources – images, ads and iframes are preset, so the browser know exactly how much space and what the page will look like before it loads
- Limited third party scripts – few are allowed on the page. This limits functionality, but increases predictability and speed
- Loads the first items viewable first. Above the fold content loads before anything else so the user has content immediately after clicking
- Preloaded/cached content. It doesn’t have to be retrieved and appears seemingly immediately.
The benefits are straightforward and feed into each other.
AMP provided a faster experience. Therefore readers will have a better experience and not bounce from the site. Because they don’t bounce, publishers have the opportunity to serve more content and more ads which brings in more revenue for them.
In other words, a win win
Obviously nothing is a perfect solution and AMP has some drawbacks that may have publishers hesitating to implement it.
Because the site is stripped down and cached, it is limited in its performance. It may not be able to include all the videos and images a publisher would like to include to supplement the text.
Publishers are limited in the amount of third party scripts they can run which reduce the functionality of their page. It also significantly limits the ads publishers can run on those pages.
Regarding ads, limited partners can be called, which reduces the competition and lowers CPMs.
AMP pages do not allow movement above the fold which limits ads insertion and size. Ad sizes need to be decided before, flexible sizing (which provides more opportunity for publishers) is not available.
AMP also does not allow cookie sync, and it also exclusively server side which means less targeting information is available. Less targeting means less accuracy and therefore lower CPMs as advertisers won’t want to bid high because they don’t know exactly what they’re getting.
Another concern is that because the pages are cached on Google’s servers, the URL is lost, and if people want to share it, they’ll be sharing the AMP version which won’t count toward the publisher’s page views. The publisher will be missing out on attribution and important first party data s/he would otherwise have on a regular mobile page.
AMP recognizes these issues and tries to solve them in two ways.
- They will sync the cache to your analytics so you get all the information, who came to your site, location, when, for how long, what they did next etc.
- More of a patch, but they suggest including a share button on the page, so if someone wants to forward the page to a friend, instead of copy and pasting the AMP URL, the share button will include the original URL.
How to decide
Publishers need to ask themselves a few questions before they implement AMP.
Because it’s no longer prioritized by Google, doing it just to appear higher in SERP or in the AMP carousel is no longer a consideration.
If a publisher’s mobile experience is slow and they are struggling to meet Google’s Core Web Vitals, AMP may be a solution.
Publishers meeting Core Web Vital standards that are located in countries with fast network speeds are unlikely to benefit from AMP. However publishers in regions with slower network speeds who have not achieved Core Web Vitals benchmarks may see a bump when implementing AMP.
Publishers seeking to decrease latency should consider utilizing and CDN – Content Delivery Network..
A CDN is a network of servers and data centers spread out over different regions. They all contain the same information and the goal is to serve the users closest to them. The closer the data, the faster it renders, so having your information on CDN can decrease latency to users in proximity to the CDN.
Next Millennium Approach
Because there are clear pros and cons to AMP pages that are publisher dependent, we evaluate each publisher on a case by case basis to determine if AMP is the right solution for them.
It’s important to note that concerning the limited ad calls AMP allows, including Next Millennium as one of the calls gives a publisher access to many other ad networks and private campaigns. So including Next Millennium greatly increases the competition and revenue potential for a publisher using AMP.
AMP is a mobile solution for publishers looking to decrease latency. Originally introduced and prioritized by Google, it has since been deprioritized in SERP ranking after Google introduced Core Web Vitals.
While it can help publishers achieve Core Web Vitals standards, the use of it itself will not increase Google rankings.
Publishers need to take everything into consideration to decide if AMP is a solution for them. Next Millennium supports and guides publishers to make decisions that will benefit the publisher most.