Recapping the Google AMP Webinar: Busting 5 Common Myths

by Ginny Tonkin in AMP, Instapage Updates Google AMP webinar

If you’re new to the AMP concept, there are a few basic things you should know. First, the AMP project was spearheaded by Google to enable faster page load speeds, because page load time is one of the strongest factors for page bounce. Second, optimizing your mobile page speed — and in turn, improving the overall mobile browsing experience — is particularly important for mobile conversion rates:

  • 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load
  • Conversions fall by 20% for each additional second it takes for a website to load
  • 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, and 40% go to a competitor

To demonstrate AMP’s importance and to separate fact from fiction surrounding its use cases, benefits, and limitations, we hosted a Google AMP webinar:

Google AMP webinar infographic

5 Myths busted in the Google AMP webinar

MYTH 1: Loading speed is not that important for conversions and engagement

Since the primary benefit of AMP is its speed, many case studies and independent research show how page load speed has a significant impact on both engagement and conversions.

Across a variety of industries and verticals — news publishing, ecommerce, lead generation, etc. — Google has seen:

  • 10% increase in traffic
  • 50% less bounce rate
  • 20% increase in sales conversions

Of course, a page experiencing a 10-second load speed to 1 second would see a much bigger change in engagement than a page going from 1 second to half a second. But no matter the difference, the outcome is almost always a positive one.

There are even more reasons to AMPlify your post-click landing pages. The faster users get to your post-click landing page; the more visitors can see your message. So, faster post-click landing pages mean a bigger conversion funnel:

Google AMP webinar conversion funnel

Which then leads to an increase in mobile conversion rate and revenue:

Google AMP webinar conversion rate

Check out the difference in load speed between this AMP post-click landing page and the identical non-AMP version:

Google AMP webinar page speed

AMP is fast by design. It’s simply a framework with responsive features. So if a page is AMP, it means you’re working off a normal page using different technologies to achieve fast speed (a well-optimized runtime, widely distributed edge cache, and prerendering), and it cannot regress to become slower again.

This brings us to the connection between AMP and Quality Score. While one might think Google is partial to AMP pages to score them higher, that’s not true. Those pages score higher because speed itself is a major factor in QS, and AMP pages are inherently fast. So AMP itself isn’t what increases QS; it’s the faster speed and better user experience that does.

Ali Ghassemi, Senior Software Engineer of Google, explains:

Almost all AMP post-click landing pages score a 10, and that's not because they are AMP. The Quality Score tool is agnostic to technology. It does not see AMP or treat AMP any different than a normal HTML page. But, AMP pages are super fast and therefore get the perfect score.

MYTH 2: AMP pages don’t look as good as regular mobile pages

While it might seem this way, the reality is that it’s actually easier to make beautiful, UX-rich pages in AMP. There are two reasons for this…

First, AMP follows a user-first vision with layers of core tenets, design principles, and rules that guide decisions when building anything in AMP:

AMP webinar design principles

These design principles are integrated into AMP, so even if an AMP page is designed and implemented exactly like its non-AMP counterpart, it would still have a better user experience — even with page load speed aside.

Also, just like normal web technology, you control the markup and CSS of AMP pages, so you can design your brand and experience exactly how you want it.

All of this means that poor user experiences (think content jumping around as a web page loads slowly and sporadically) are inherently impossible to create in AMP — even accidentally.

Second, AMP has a large set of feature-full, high-quality components that enable AMP pages to easily surpass parity with non-AMP pages:

  • Swipeable carousels with autoplay and looping
  • Cross-browser sidebars
  • Lightbox image galleries with transitions, zooming, panning, thumbnail view, etc.
  • Document-level picture-in-picture for videos
  • Parallax, fade, slide, and other time-based and scroll-based animations
  • 3D modeling

These components are often only a few lines of code added to a page but are packed with UX-designed, cross-browser, janky-free features, and more.

Note: Despite its name, AMP works great on both mobile and desktop, with lots of responsive features on each. Since an AMP-first approach works on desktop and mobile, you only need to maintain one version of your site.

MYTH 3: AMP has limited support for interactive & dynamic content

This was actually true as recent as 2016, but now it’s possible to build a full ecommerce experience using AMP, complete with all the features you would expect from a typical shopping website.

AMP has extended its feature set to include a programming model with many new interactive components to handle various use-cases, such as:

  • Filter and sort
  • Product selections
  • Search and autocomplete
  • Add to cart
  • Forms and input
  • Client-side and server-side validation

AMP also supports and focuses on personalization based on fresh, dynamic user data fetched from your servers to create a better experience. This enables features like “recommended products” and retargeting.

Geo-location and geo-grouping are also supported in AMP, automatically changing content based on country or continent:

AMP webinar geolocation

Even more precise location detection is possible based on IP address on your own servers, using the same infrastructure that’s used to fetch personalized, dynamic data for AMP pages.

MYTH 4: AMP supports limited analytics platforms

This is another one that may have been true two years ago, depending on your definition of “limited.” However, AMP currently supports 55 analytics vendors out of the box, all of which are abstracted via the easy-to-configure component. Here’s a list of some of them:

AMP webinar analytics

More analytics providers are added regularly as more vendors integrate with AMP. What’s more, it’s extremely easy for vendors to add themselves to AMP, so if you use a vendor that doesn’t yet support AMP, it’d probably benefit you to simply ask them to integrate.

In addition to integrated analytics providers, AMP supports any in-house analytics solution, as long as you have a URL to ping. Multiple transport mechanisms are also supported (such as pixel, xhr, or beacon), and configuration for analytics parameters can be static and inline, or remote and dynamic. And since it’s going to ping your servers, they can even be personalized.

MYTH 5: You can’t A/B test AMP pages

A/B testing all post-click landing pages is critical, which is why AMP fully supports Campaign Experiments and Ad Variations for AMP pages. Both search-based and cookie-based splits are supported as well.

The Instapage AMP builder provides a simple, easy way to A/B test your AMP pages. AMP-framework itself also has an extension for A/B testing, called AMP-experiment, which can be used to show different UI to different users. This component works for all AMP pages, regardless of whether they are a post-click landing page or not.

Note: If you want to A/B test an AMP and non-AMP version of your page to evaluate the benefits for yourself, it’s important to make sure both versions are identical, visually and functionally. Even the smallest details can make a big difference.

AMP webinar watch the replay

Catch the full Google AMP webinar

Although every marketing strategy varies, there’s no question that you need AMP to speed up page load times, reduce bounce rates, improve the overall mobile browsing experience, and increase conversion rates.

If you’re not yet 100% convinced, watch the Google AMP webinar replay to learn more about how the framework can significantly benefit your campaigns.

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Ginny Tonkin

by Ginny Tonkin

Ginny Tonkin is the Technology Partnership Manager at Instapage, the world’s only Post-Click Automation solution. She sits at the intersection of marketing and business development. She loves to travel, calling Beijing home for nearly 4 years! Say hi: @ginnytonkin

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