08 Jan What is Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?
Accelerated Mobile Pages, popularly known as AMP, is an open source project which helps developers and people create websites and advertisements which are faster when compared to regular web pages.
The high performance and reduction in loading time of a web page make it suitable for loading pages across various mobile platforms.
Since AMP is built in collaboration with thousands of developers, publishers, websites, distribution platforms, and tech platforms, over 2 Billion AMP pages have been published as of now.
AMP Project is backed by Google and provides a viable alternative to Facebook’s Instant Articles.
What exactly is it?
AMP, standing for Accelerated Mobile Pages is a set of protocols which is used to restructure a website so it can be loaded and viewed faster than a normal webpage.
Though they are sometimes confused with “websites optimized for mobile devices,” but it is a new concept entirely. It can be considerd as a bare bones version of a website.
The framework is pretty simple and is made up of three components, namely:
AMP HTML, which is just regular HTML with some web components
And AMP Cache. Used to validate and serve AMP pages.
Google’s own AMP Cache mostly fulfills the AMP Cache service, but, in the past year, Cloudflare has also jumped into the market.
Why should I use AMP?
There are various benefits which can be reaped when using AMPs. It can also help with the SEO process (Search Engine Optimization). Let us see what AMP has to offer:
The main reason AMP was designed was to reduce the consumption of data while offering a significant speed boost.
Websites supporting the protocol as known to load twice as fast as their desktop and mobile counterparts.
It also helps reduce the latency by a factor of ten. Faster access and consumption of less data means people are more likely to use AMP supported websites for an extended amount of time.
Major companies have started making use of the technology to provide a faster and smoother user experience. Some of the significant adopters include Twitter, Baidu. Pinterest, Reddit, Weibo as well as eBay and WordPress.
According to a report by CNBC, it takes around 75% less time to load an AMP page, while Gizmodo’s report suggests that the pages load almost three times faster, which is more or less the same.
Converting a standard web page to AMP inevitably comes with certain advantages. One of them is that it does not allow pop-ups.
Popup advertisements are infamous all over the world and generally offer poor user experience. This measure is enforced as part of its security protocol.
Longer browsing time
Websites which have adopted AMP have reported an overall increase in the time a user is known to browse a particular site or page.
The faster loading speed provides an enjoyable experience, making them stick longer and view even more content.
Since AMP is similar to standard HTML, it offers the ability to interact with forms, buttons, link, videos, and many other things, helping a site to stay interactive while decreasing the overall load time.
It even supports online shopping, which helps boosts an overall sale of a website while keeping it light and smooth.
Since many search engines have embraced AMP in the past years, a site probably has more chance of getting visited compared to a non AMP page.
Although, there is no search engine which helps increase the traffic, designing an AMP page surely does help a site gain more traffic.
Many technological giants have started using AMP. People are designing entire websites around the concept, in the hope they might get a boost against their competitors.
Using the protocol before the competition might help in increasing the traffic, assisting companies to give the users an impression of how it looks like.
Are there any downsides?
Though Accelerated Mobile Pages offer a huge boost in the performance of a website, it does come with disadvantages. Some of these are:
Decrease in ad-revenue
AMP does not eliminate advertisements, although they do so to some extent. Even though the support is there, it is incredibly difficult to integrate ads on AMPs.
If you are willing to forget some of that ad-money, AMPs might be a viable alternative.
Ad-banners are severely limited, and developers cannot sell sponsorship or deliver customized ads.
Missing Google Analytics
Google is the best of all when it comes to internet advertising. But the analytics available lack some features.
Basic features such the ability to track the number of visitors and engagement are available, but the product still feels incomplete.
As straightforward as it might sound, integrating the protocol into your existing website is not as simple.
People who are not familiar or do not possess the technological know-how may have to hire a professional to make the switch.
Is AMP right for you?
It is evident that, throughout the next few years, the amount of internet traffic from mobile devices will see an enormous boost.
It is estimated that, by 2020, around 80 percent of all the web traffic will come from mobile devices.
It is possible that the protocol might become the new standard for mobile devices, considering how website owners and developers want to catch up to the technology.
Even though AMPs look tempting enough, they have been widely criticized by the tech industry since Google might, shortly, boost the ranking of sites who have already jumped on the bandwagon.
Many people have concerns regarding the status of their mobile pages since Google is the primary AMP cache provider. Currently, it is best to wait and see how AMP matures and what it will turn into. If the technology becomes some kind of web page ranking system, you will undoubtedly have to adopt it at some point in time.
However, if you have a responsive mobile-friendly site, it is better just to be an observer and let the protocol mature.