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Alion | Amp for marketeers explained in 9 questions

Amp for marketeers explained in 9 questions

Alion blog author

Bobby Bol

16 July 2018

min read

Alion blog intro image

It has been buzzing for a while on the internet forums, and recently it has suddenly become a buzzwórd: AMP. It seems as if AMP - short for 'Accelerated Mobile Pages' - has come out of the blue and the whole digital world has to work really hard to re-AMP everything. So what is the truth? Jolien, our Digial Producer, talked to our development team to get to the bottom of everything AMP.

Why is AMP suddenly so hot?

The funny thing is that we, the Alion development team, have been working on this for years; we have known AMP since the end of 2015. It now suddenly takes flight, probably because Google is pushing it more: websites that support AMP get a higher position in the search results for a while. And Google recently made AMP banners mandatory for a lot of situations within the Google Display Network (GDN). The AMP technology is therefore not new, but because Google is taking these steps it is again brought to the attention of a larger and different audience.

So Google benefits from AMP. But what makes AMP relevant to advertisers?

AMP is super fast. That is the whole idea behind AMP: to serve a mobile version of your content that loads much faster than 'normal' content. The world primarily uses mobile devices, but many pages are loading a lot of heavy content in an inefficient way, making the mobile experience disastrous. AMP prevents both, or rather: AMP requires you to do better.

Alright, so it is about speed. Why is AMP faster than what we did before?

This is a bit technical. AMP consists of three parts. First of all, there is AMP HTML. You could see this as HTML5 on a diet. You are required to use less. You are limited in the number of HTML elements you are allowed to use, and you are limited in the amount of styling you can apply. On the other hand, AMP does offer a number of functionalities 'out of the box', such as carousels, videos and forms etc. The diet ensures that the pages are small and fast to load.

Then the pages are optimized by AMP JavaScript. This manages the larger pieces of content, and how they are loaded. For example, images are only loaded when the user scrolls them in the window screen. That works automatically, for every picture, but also for videos and other rich content. Eventually this ensures that the most important part of an AMP page is almost immediately on your screen, while in the background other content is loaded.

Finally, there are AMP caches. This technology ensures that as much information as possible is cached for reuse, and gets loaded faster the next time. You basically only have to visit one AMP page, and then the next AMP page you visit is already much faster because there are already reusable elements stored.

My pages or banner ads loads pretty quickly already. Do I really need to do something with AMP?

According to Google, 40% of users quit when a page is not loaded on a mobile device within three seconds. That situation is more common than you think. With AMP you are guaranteed to have those visitors on your page. In addition, the 'experience' of speed is also a positive experience for the user. It is a quality experience that is associated with the brand.

This is also important for banners and other types of advertisements. Banners with longer load times, or banners that fail while loading, lose 12% of conversion per second. The bottom-line of Google's research is actually: The most important experience to keep a user engaged is speed, and that is why we are doing everything we can to optimize this.

Ok, everything for speed gain. Is this at the expense of the opportunities that marketers now have?

Yes. AMP focuses on speed by eliminating everything that could possibly cause delays. For example, custom JavaScript is forbidden. You can not deny that the possibilities are more limited. Not every user experience can easily be converted to AMP.

Yet we see very positive developments: last spring the second AMP conference was held in Amsterdam. The cases there showed that AMP is certainly not a step back. The possibilities are growing rapidly. AMP has more and more specific applications for web / SEO, for email, for e-commerce and for advertising. A recently added spec is for example AMP Stories, with which you can build full-screen interactive content.

In addition, it is always a question of being creative with the possibilities you have. ☺

Is AMP suitable for all types of content? When would you use AMP and when not?

It is not that everything has to be AMP now. The choice for AMP depends on the type of project, and certainly also the goal that you have in mind. AMP does not yet play a major role in (customized) applications and platforms. In the case of e-commerce AMP seems very meaningful, the framework already offers a lot of support for this. We also see an increasing role in websites and landing pages.

But when it comes to banner ads, we think it is a MUST to execute some of your ads in AMP. "If it is not instant, it is not fast enough". Certainly if more networks, like GDN, make the use of AMP mandatory.

Incidentally, I have not only heard positive comments about AMP, but also criticism. What should I pay attention to?

As developers, we understand that criticism. An AMP version is in fact a duplicate of your website or banner. Having duplicate content and source code is not a 'best practice'. In addition, the source code is hosted on the Google domain (your AMP pages are duplicated on Google caching servers). According to many, that is not the intention of the internet. Furthermore, there is of course criticism of all functional restrictions that AMP imposes. Nevertheless, we at Alion find AMP, in particular for application in banner ads, in many cases a good idea. Moreover: if the possibilities are limited, it stimulates creativity ... Let us look especially at what cán be done.

What do we as Alion advise marketers to do with AMP?

Our advice to marketers: put the user first. They just want a lightning-fast experience. AMP is a powerful way with the possibilities that are now available to create that lightning-fast experience. It knows its limitations, so you can not go wild regarding technical UX. But we are positive about that, because the possibilities are expanding. In our opinion, AMP is not something that will be gone soon, if ever.


What is ultimately important is that you get well informed about the possibilities of AMP, preferably accompanied by a piece of strategic advice on suitability as a means to achieve the goal that you have in mind. If you are not already working with AMP, this is the time to start experimenting with AMP versions of your product pages, landing pages and your banners.

AMP is currently not yet suitable for everything. Will AMP eventually take over the entire internet if it develops?

AMP is part of the web, and that is also how Google has meant it. The aim is to have the AMP specifications included in the generally applicable web standards. This is a long process, therefore a kind of AMP 'sideway' has now been introduced.

In the end is AMP not a goal, but a means. A means to load every piece of content on mobile devices as quickly as possible. Moreover, AMP does not have to be the only means to achieve this goal; frameworks may and will probably be released with a similar purpose. However, you can conclude that AMP has been running for some time and the development is well advanced. We currently have no alternatives that do the same and have a similar adoption on the web.

We hope that this interview will help you better understand AMP and help you apply it to your digital marketing. Do you need help or advice? Contact us! We are waiting for you with a cup of coffee and a ton of AMP-knowledge!

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