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Accelerated Mobile Pages – AMP up your eCommerce mobile user experience

Google said, “AMP is a natural fit for e-commerce because AMP makes webpages fast, and fast pages help with purchase conversions.”

What is AMP?

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a way to build web pages for static content that renders fast. AMP in action consists of three different parts: AMP HTML, AMP JS and Google AMP Cache.

AMP HTML includes basic HTML with a few restrictions put in place to allow for more reliable performance. There are also some extensions allowing for the creation of rich content beyond basic HTML. The AMP JS library is what allows the AMP HTML pages to render faster, and the Google AMP Cache is what's used to serve up cached AMP HTML pages. 

 

Left image: BBC’s website in HTML on mobile, Right image: BBC’s website in AMP on mobile

 

BBC website mobile vs. AMP

 

When a page takes too long to load, many users leave (the average mobile user's attention span is approximately 3 seconds max) – meaning you lose customers, and the opportunity for sales.

The Benefits of AMP

  • Clouds can be used for caching in order to reduce content load times.

  • AMP has a built-in validation system that runs a series of assertions evaluating the page’s markup and ensuring it meets AMP HTML specifications. It confirms that pages are guaranteed to be working correctly and does not depend on external resources.

  • AMP does not directly affect Google’s mobile ranking signals. But the improvement to speed impacts other ranking elements like bounce rate, CTR, page views and time spent on site. In turn indirectly improving ranking.

  • Google claims that by using AMP, mobile page load times can improve by 15%-85%. In most cases an AMP page's load time is under 1 second.

  • Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) label AMP pages, giving searches more reasons to visit your site compared to others.


Namshi AMP demo

Possible AMP Drawbacks

  • At this time Google is the only search engine that uses AMP in their own search results. 

  • AMP based pages are simpler than the regular pages. It is important to review your site for elements that might negatively impact your site's performance or user experience if not displayed on AMP.

  • To use AMP pages your site needs to be HTTPS.

  • Google Tag Manager is not supported by AMP.

 

eCommerce AMP Benefits

Since October 2015 over 650,000 domains have implemented AMP, meaning over 150 million AMP pages are indexed in Google today. Since August 2016, eCommerce sites can use AMP (whereas previously it was only usable by publishing sites) for pages like categories or products.

This aids eCommerce sites like it does for many others by:

  • Improving site speed and user experience

  • In turn increasing conversion rates

  • Improves engagement (lower bounce rate, increase time spent on site, etc.)

  • Marks the pages as AMP in SERPs by adding this symbol ( amp-fast-logo)

  • Aiding in page ranking due to load time improvements

AMP Stats
“Lighter pages also translate into less data being transferred over the network, requiring less network bandwidth to be downloaded.”- 
Marcelo De Barros, Group Engineering Manager at Bing

 

Things to consider for eCommerce AMP

  • The clean and minimal design AMP creates for loading purposes can limit the level of control over the design and customization.

  • At this time AMP does not support eCommerce checkout functions. Meaning that your site would be AMP up to the point of purchases, at which point the session would move onto your mobile or responsive site.

  • It is suggested that AMP pages should have their own Google Analytics property for it cannot use analytics.js, amp-analytics is needed.

  • amp-analytics gathers data like:

-Page data: Domain, path, page title
-User data: client ID, timezone
-Browsing data: referrer, unique page view ID
-Browser data: screen height, screen width, user agent
-Interaction data: page height and page width
-Event data

  • There is the potential for duplicate content without the use or link rel="canonical" tags from AMP pages back to your regular page.

 

AMP is an excellent initiative that can aid in site speed, performance, and most importantly conversions. When it comes to using AMP for eCommerce sites there are still some minor limitations, but large retailers like eBay are working with Google to test and make improvements in the future. Things like A/B testing, mobile payments, and live blog are only a fraction on what is on the roadmap.

 

Other AMP Must Read links:

 
Official Accelerated Mobile Pages Project Site
https://www.ampproject.org/

Getting started with AMP for e-commerce
https://amphtml.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/getting-started-with-amp-for-e-commerce/


Learn AMP by Example
https://ampbyexample.com/


Ecommerce case study: Embracing accelerated mobile pages (AMP) for speed and profit
http://tech.namshi.com/blog/2016/09/20/embracing-amp-for-the-speed-and-profit/


Adding Analytics to your AMP pages
https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/amp-analytics/
 

By Nicholas Rathwell

As Senior Marketing Technologist at Thinkwrap, Nick leads the eCommerce Optimization team, providing valuable insight to both Thinkwrap clients and our internal team. A proven track record for delivering results, Nick has over 15 years' experience working with well-known brands in a variety of facets to enhance their online presence. Nick is Google Analytics certified and regularly attends industry conferences and events.

Tags: SEO, Mobile, Optimization