Making the mobile web faster using AMP
In October 2015, Google developed Accelerated Mobile Pages - AMP Website to make the mobile web faster for users. On February 2016 AMP pages started highlighting the search result pages. They recently announced that there are nearly 1.7 billion AMP pages from 860,000 domains, with 35 million new pages that have been added every week.
If you read news stories on your mobile device from Google Search results, you've likely encountered AMP pages. They are marked as lightning bolt icon and they load really faster. AMP always states that "The first listing usually loads in less than a second".
AMP is an open-sourced standard (www.ampproject.org), so it can be used for free by anyone who wants to make their mobile pages faster. Its goal is to help developers create mobile web landing pages that load much faster than the average HTML pages usually do.
There are two important components that let AMP achieve greater speed and a better user experience:
From its beginning, Google has painstakingly labored to make search results pages load much faster so that users would get their expected answer before their minds could start to migrate and think about something else. According to KissMetrics, Google had once run an experiment to show 30 search results instead of 10. The extra 500 milliseconds that took to load the page led to 20 percent drop in usage.
Google is very serious about speed that there have been cases where they show no ads on the SERPs because the ad auction took too long. Despite delaying the page from loading, they simply supplied with no ads. They knew that the short-term revenue loss of a few clicks would be more than made up in the long run when happy users came back to do many more searches.
But as hard as Google works on making their own site really fast, they lose a lot of control as soon as the user clicks on a result and leaves Google. Despite efforts like preloading pages with the Google toolbar (which no longer exists), building a faster browser in Google Chrome and incentivizing fast load times by making them part of the Quality Score (QS) algorithm, the mobile web is often still a painfully slow place to visit.
But Google has a plan to fix that…
AdWords doesn't support ads that lead to AMP landing pages; they don't load them from the AMP cache. But advertisers can still get the speed advantages from AMP's cleaner code hygiene. AMP is a web standard, so advertisers can use it easily to create faster landing pages which typically have a positive impact on bounce rates, conversion rates, time on site, and maybe even quality metrics.
According to a 2017 study by Akamai, there are several benefits of faster landing pages:
Given Google's involvement with AMP, their history of promoting a faster internet and clear benefits for advertisers who make faster pages, there's no doubt in my mind that Google will extend support for AMP to AdWords. When they do, it will create additional value for advertisers using AMP.
By using AMP it is showing positive impact on their business. For example, The Washington Post saw an 88 percent improvement in load times for AMP content vs. traditional content, and that has helped them increase seven-day return visits from mobile users by 23 percent.
Due to Fast loading pages it creates a better user experience, which leads to increased usage. For a publisher who monetizes through subscriptions or ads on their pages, thus AMP put their site in great position to grow their revenues. For e-commerce sites, it means more business.
This solution works by allowing your web pages, which may be partially served on Google platforms and partially on your domain, to communicate with each other. This communication happens via a newly introduced Google API and with Google Analytics such that it can understand if a user on your non-AMP pages had ever visited an AMP page displayed by Google. When true, Google Analytics can help you understand user behavior across these two page types as a single cohesive experience.
To get started you'll have to opt-in to this solution via a code change. The small code change is required on both your AMP and non-AMP websites to enable this as well as an acknowledgement of the new Google Analytics terms for usage of this API.
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