Google Launches Accelerated Mobile Pages

Mobile search experience often isn’t great. Google launching Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) means rich content now loads instantly across multiple devices.

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Thanks to smartphones, more people than ever are using their mobiles to search on the go but, frustratingly, the experience can often be pretty rubbish. The main culprit is slow loading pages. Users typically won’t wait more than three seconds for a page to load on their mobile – any longer and the page will probably be abandoned before giving it a chance to show any content.

This is bad news for content publishers such as news sites, who rely on advertising and brand messages as a revenue stream and a means to grow their audience.

Therefore, back in October 2015 Google announced a new open source initiative called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which ‘aimed to dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web’ by enabling pages with rich content (videos, animations and graphics) to load instantly across multiple platforms and devices.

After less than six months of working with a variety of publishers and technology companies to develop AMP HTML code that would work no matter what type of phone or tablet you’re using, Google has this week launched AMPs in SERPs.

Now, any website owner can head on over to the AMP Project site and build their own accelerated mobile pages (although they are particularly geared towards news and content publishing sites). Basically, AMPs use the newly developed HTML code, creating a stripped down version of a normal mobile page (i.e. no JavaScript or third-party scripts), enabling it to load significantly faster than the non-AMP version of that page. Instant content.

What do AMPs look like in SERPs?

Appearing high up in SERPs, AMPs have their own little icon – a little bolt of lightning within a circle – and are presented in a carousel meaning you can swipe through a selection so you can choose which one you like the look of  most:

Screenshot to illustrate AMPs - Google Launches Accelerated Mobile Pages - Browser Media

What do AMPs mean for marketers?

Whilst instant content is great news for publishers and users alike, by stripping out various scripts, the AMP version of pages lacks the infrastructure that many advertisers and marketers use to deliver messages to readers. Whilst this means brands may need to rethink how they advertise on mobile, AMP can have a positive impact in other ways;

  1. Mobilegeddon – since mobile-friendliness was confirmed as a factor in search rankings by Google, using AMP to create pages specifically designed for mobile can’t be a bad move.
  2. Page views (and therefore ad views) – if a page is slow to load on mobile, then chances are users’ll bounce off it and look for an alternative. Quicker loading pages reduces the likelihood of this, meaning more pageviews, and subsequently  more chances for users to view adverts or branding messages.
  3. Ad control – confusingly, although AMP HTML strips out platforms which support advertising used by many companies online, it doesn’t mean that mobile advertising will die. Apparently, AMP will only work if publishers also continue to grow their businesses, meaning, ads must work.

Google promised that with the launch of AMP, there will be basic advert control functionality:

‘…the ability to traffic ads with ad servers of your choice, support for multiple demand sources and formats (including native ads), full control over ads placements, and viewability measurement.’

However, they also admit that there is a way to go before the advert experience on the mobile web is transformed. However, it’s worth hanging in there; according to Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google’s SVP of Ads & Commerce,

‘…improving the mobile user experience is THE key to unlocking the industry’s next $50 billion.’

There’s shockingly little information on the AMP Project site about advertising, and what there is is pretty vague, but apparently choice in ad networks will be supported, along with different ad formats – as long as they don’t detract from the user experience.

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