It's not a secret that with every passing day, a larger percentage of the world's internet users access their favorite websites via mobile devices. Last year marked the first in which mobile officially surpassed desktop as users' device of choice, and the gap will only widen in the future.
As a natural result, websites and digital marketing efforts increasingly have to be optimized for mobile devices. The largest development in this realm came late last year, when Google announced an open source project set to transform the way we access information on our smartphones and tablets. Here's how Accelerated Mobile Pages are changing the content world.
What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
On its official website, Google describes the project as follows:
The Accelerated Mobile Pages (“AMP”) Project is an open source initiative that came out of discussions between publishers and technology companies about the need to improve the entire mobile content ecosystem for everyone – publishers, consumer platforms, creators, and users. (...) Accelerated Mobile Pages are web pages designed to load instantaneously – they are a step towards a better mobile web for all.
In other words, simple HTML modifications allow these types of pages to load instantly on mobile devices, significantly enhancing user experience in the process. It works through AMP HTML, a modified HTML that limits extraneous code which would otherwise slow down the page loading process.
The open source nature of the AMP Project means that any website owner can adjust their pages to load more quickly on mobile devices. Tweaking the code requires some initial expertise, but the benefits are highly significant.
Impact on Digital Marketing
The mere fact that pages now load instantly on mobile devices is a major boost to your mobile marketing efforts. Research suggests that half of your web visitors expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less, and will at least consider abandoning it if it does not. As a result, slow load times both minimize your audience and jeopardize your SEO.
But the impact of Accelerated Mobile Pages goes beyond load times. Using Google's demo page for the project, you can begin to see its impact on mobile Google searches. The top search results are now seen as a carousel of top AMP results, which includes a preview of each article on the SERP. Users can simply swipe left or right to navigate between articles.
This carousel comes with two major implications for content marketers. First, to even have a chance of appearing in the carousel (which will predictably come with much higher click-through and engagement rates than regular search results), your page needs to be modified using AMP code. Any non-AMP sites now get pushed below the carousel on mobile devices, and lose exposure as a result.
Second, the project should result in significantly higher exposure for valuable content, both short and long term. AMP-optimized pages look to be replacing at least some paid search ads, placing a greater emphasis on organic SEO. That, in combination with higher engagement rates for AMP pages, should result in prioritizing and adjusting your content to be optimized for mobile devices.
Google's Accelerated Mobile Page project is an ideal example of the rising importance of mobile marketing. Coming on the heels of last year's Mobilegeddon algorithm updates, it represents the network's latest effort to ensure positive user experience on mobile devices, which have become the medium of choice for the majority of internet users.
And as was the case with Mobilegeddon a year ago, jumping on the train early and optimizing your content for mobile results using AMP modifications is crucial for long-term success.