Today I was able to watch the Google Analytics LiveStream focused on Best Practices Using Google Tag Manager for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) which got me AMPed.
If you don’t know what AMP is you can find out all about it here https://www.ampproject.org/learn/about-amp/.
To quickly get you up to speed, AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. What Amp does is set restrictions on your HTML to improve performance. There are a few keys to AMP below:
- Allows Only Asynchronous Scripts – This is to avoid blocking of any following script to load the page as fast as possible
- Size all Resources Statically – AMP is optimized to avoid taxing style recalculations and layouts in the browser, there won’t be any re-layout when resources load. You may have experienced opening a web page and as it loads objects are shifting and moving around in your browser.
- All CSS must be Size Bound – the inline style sheet has a maximum size of 50 kilobytes. While this size is big enough for very sophisticated pages, it still requires the page author to practice good CSS hygiene.
- Prioritize Resource Loading – When AMP downloads resources, it optimizes downloads so that the currently most important resources are downloaded first. Images and ads are only downloaded if they are likely to be seen by the user
My take on what this means:
AMP has essentially de-emphasized anything that isn’t user-centric and content focused while elevating two things, the experience and page speed. I believe this will be very difficult for retailers to jump on board and create AMP pages for shopping. However, E-bay is currently working on tackling the problem with AMP shopping pages, http://searchengineland.com/ebay-goes-amp-sign-might-break-past-news-253254. From the consumers perspective yes, I want my mobile pages to be fast, but there are many time-consuming elements to sites that may save me time in the future that AMP seems to disregard.
What this means for analysts is AMP has deemphasized our tracking code. IBM is already going to struggle with AMP in its asynchronous nature. The very base of coremetrics is synchronous firing.
Google has decided to full on support AMP is making efforts to integrate their platform in an easy simple way. Google is releasing a unique AMP tag manager, which changes the current GTM container to be AMP-specific, which means double the implementation effort. You are now going to have to recreate your triggers and tags in the new container specifically for any AMP pages. In addition, after taking a look at Google’s presentation it seems the data collected may be slightly limited by AMP itself.
AMP is content focused so any publisher or content generator can greatly benefit from AMP pages. The theory is creating better and faster content will make happier consumers, who will then consume more of your content. What AMP ignores is often times those publishers rely on third-party advertising to generate monetize their content and continue generating more. This problem has already arisen with the increased use of ad-blockers and I believe content generators are going to have to get more creative in how they monetize their publications.
Lastly, AMP provides a significant advantage in mobile search by providing multiple cards near the top of the search results page directing to your site. So I wouldn’t rule it out as being a useless hassle. I am sure having relevant AMP pages will most likely boost your mobile natural search. For example look how high ESPN and other content generators rank for a search for “cowboys”.
Overall, I think AMP is a good enhancement to the field that is essentially being forced upon us by Google. Making these changes can help improve mobile search as well as gain eyes on your site. If those are both key to improving your business I would say AMP fits perfectly. If you currently own a large platform with a loyal base, it may be wise to wait it out and see if consumers eventually demand AMP pages or simply think you are worth the wait.