Developers and marketers alike are looking into Google AMP and, maybe not surprisingly, are very split on this new technology. Some early adopters are reverting from AMP, while others are gung-ho at adopting it. In order to determine if you should dive into AMP, evaluate the pros and cons others have experienced firsthand.
First: what are AMP pages?
Essentially, Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a project where publishers (or any content, really) can be developed in a way that uses a free, open-source framework to deliver content quickly. How, you ask? It enables content to load off of Google’s servers, not from the website itself. According to Search Engine Journal, “What it actually does is saves cached versions of AMP-tagged pages and, whenever visitors access them, simply serves them up from the cache.”
AMP pages usually look a little different, too. AMP pages strip the elements that reduce site speed and performance and only displays the content that matters.
That means what’s left, that content, is served blazing fast. Blazing fast pages means better engagement from consumers. So naturally, this is something lots of companies, publishers, and developers are checking out.
But, is it the right move? A few things we think are noteworthy for marketers to know about AMP pages.
AMP Is Not Dynamic
As we said before, AMP pages are Google’s cached pages. That means, as a marketer, you’re limited if your strategy includes personalizing content or pages to a specific segment. You’re not capturing personalization data. And, on top of that, dynamic pages perform (read: convert) better than static pages, because they can be personalized. That’s a pretty huge thing to give up.
AMP Loads Too Fast
Is there a such thing? Turns out, yes there is. Specifically, more and more publishers are coming out saying that AMP isn’t helping them because pages are loading too fast for ad views.
According to Digiday, “In one instance, the revenue per page on AMP was less than half of what the publisher got on its owned and operated properties. In effect, the user experience is almost too good, with content loading so fast that people scroll past the ads before they’ve been able to load, resulting in ads that aren’t deemed viewable.”
This means that AMP increases the possibility of publishers losing money because their main source of revenue doesn’t load fast enough. Remember when we said “AMP pages strip the elements that reduce site speed and performance and only displays the content that matters?” That means ads consistently load after the content loads, which contributes to this pitfall for publishers.
AMP Takes the Web out of the Web
On a very simplified level, Google search works like this: It indexes content on websites, and how other websites look at that website (deem it authoritative), and that’s how it relates your query to its log of content. The web is, well, a web of content.
Because Google serves cached versions of the content from their servers, the original website essentially doesn’t get the credit. Daniel Miessler says “If this were to become widely adopted, you’d search for something, get results, consume the content, and you’d never leave Google.”
Miessler is not the only skeptic of AMP pages. According to Zesty.io CEO Randy Apuzzo, “essentially, google eats your content and you lose. Google wins, and consumers win… but in the end it can kill profit, and then eventually everyone loses.”
AMP Shackles Developers
If you read forums on AMP pages, developers tend to be very split on the issue. It’s a great experience in some ways (for consumers), but awful in others. Most developers are anti-AMP though for various reasons.
Andy Fleming says “There are a lot of weird behaviors with AMP which can cause issues. Since Google is in control of the page, it limits what a developer can do to update it at times. That could be everything from security, to whatever else. They are a bit at the mercy of Google. Additionally, I think there can be issues with bookmarking, sharing, etc.”
So, Marketers, is AMP right for you?
Maybe. It’s incredibly important to have a healthy skepticism about you when evaluating new tools for your marketing plan- just because something comes from Google doesn’t mean it’s the best long term option for your content strategy. Looking into the issues that others are experiencing can help you honestly weigh whether or not AMP pages would be a good investment for your marketing team.