We’re constantly flooded with information these days, especially online. And with so many websites available to users, the difference between a second or two of page loading speed can greatly impact conversion and performance. On top of that, mobile usage continues to grow, making page loading speeds on handheld devices more critical than ever. So if the difference between a second or two can set your website apart from the competition (and it can!), and mobile usage is proliferating (and it is!), it’s time you familiarized yourself with AMP.
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It’s an open standard backed primarily by Google, which is striving to make the mobile experience more streamlined and efficient. Befitting of its acronym, AMP pages load faster than the typical mobile page. So how do AMP pages work? At its core, an AMP page is defined by a set of guidelines on how to format your site. A basic framework is outlined, among other criteria. And while it’s more common to have your AMP page be a copy of a pre-existing page, these pages can also be unique in existence. They’re also all supported by every major browser.
But like any new technology, AMP comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages, depending on the project you’re working on. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
- Mobile speed One of the biggest appeals for AMP is loading speed. Because it’s built to be light weight, AMP pages load almost instantaneously, capturing users’ attentions right off the bat.
- Google distinction If you’ve ever searched for anything using Google, you may have noticed a tiny lightning bolt icon on some pages. That marks it as an AMP page. And while the icon doesn’t necessarily provide a function, it does help set AMP pages apart from other search results by attracting your attention. Furthermore, Google provides a carousel to certain types of AMP articles and pages on mobile searches. By isolating these pages, they further alert users’ attentions.
- Design limitations One of the largest considerations when deciding to use AMP is cosmetic. Because AMP is designed to be more stripped down, complicated design animations may be hard to implement. However, that isn’t to say that these effects are impossible. As with any technology, AMP is continuously evolving. What’s not possible now may be more achievable in a few years, so don’t let that stop you from jumping in.
- Tracking issues Because of the way AMP pages are hosted and retrieved, tracking and analytics become more complex to follow. For instance, suppose you perform a Google search for Company A and click on the first result. Traditionally, analytics would tag you as an organic user. However, with an AMP page, that’s not always the case. Since all AMP pages are stored with Google, if you were to explore Company A’s page, analytics would then tag you as referral traffic who’s coming over from Google, rather than an organic user coming from the site’s home page. Fortunately, since AMP is a Google-backed initiative, Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager will not have this issue. But for services like Adobe Analytics who haven’t quite caught up—it’s just another factor to consider.
- Third-party ad issues To a lesser extent, AMP pages can pose incompatibility issues with third-party ads, given that the ads aren’t AMP-compliant. While not necessarily a challenge, it’s something else to keep in mind.
So the question remains—should you invest in AMP? The short answer is maybe. For what it promises, AMP sets a new standard for mobile speed, efficiency and content delivery. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. At the end of the day, it really depends on the current performance of your website and the investment needed to make the technological leap.
The good news? We’re here to help! Rhythm’s Strategy and Development teams can review your website to determine if AMP is a no-go or a must have. Ready to get started? Let’s Talk.