What Project AMP Means To Agencies And Brands
Without much fanfare, Google recently announced Project AMP, or the Accelerated Mobile Pages project. The release of AMP sends a strong signal to the world wide web: THE MOBILE WEB MATTERS. At first this may not be completely obvious as 9 out of 10 mobile interactions start with an app and not a browser, but greater than 60% of mobile web traffic is from in-app browsers. This means a considerable portion of mobile Internet traffic is specifically on the mobile web, which is why Google has stepped in with AMP to help streamline the user experience, amongst other goals.
For web designers and publishers, AMP has some big implications. AMP is an opt-in framework for building optimized mobile web pages, yet Google will prioritize AMP pages in search results, in addition to already rewarding quickly loading pages in its search algorithm. Effectively, this means speed up your mobile web page loads now or be penalized. For news websites, this may not be a big deal, but for advertisers and creative agencies who wish to deliver new and differentiated mobile designs, this means that two sites will need to be built: one AMP compliant (boring) and one standard HTML (cool).
Geez, tell us what you really think Coop. I think a better mobile web experience is long overdue. Like you I’m clicking on links in Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin and can see that most mobile web pages are poorly built and simply don’t utilize lazy-loading—loading content as the users scrolls instead of all upfront in one big download—or modern ad server functionality. Even as a rich media guy I agree that some of these ad experiences need to be rethought.
Not convinced yet? Have a look at the carousel feature. It’s a really cool way to browse new stories on a specific topic. It feels really app-like but the catch is to get in that carousel you once again need to be part of an elite group of pre-approved publishers. Oh, and that functionality only works on Google Chrome. Seriously. For some reason they couldn’t support the default browser for the iPhone. Really?!
Will AMP solve some of the problems of the mobile web? Sure, but it’s the nuclear option. Google has said it won’t give an advantage to sites that use AMP they do say that they give an advantage to sites that load fast. My suggestion would be for publishers to take this moment to reevaluate their mobile web experience and improve it using all the traditional best practices that are openly available.
Publishers may not have the ability to push back on Google, but advertisers have the money and a desire to present their brands in specific ways. If AMP flattens the earth too much from a creative standpoint, both for ad and site design, then advertisers will take their dollars elsewhere.