October 15, 2015

Understanding Accelerated Mobile Pages

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Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency
[email protected]


Have you ever tried to access a website on your phone, only to sit there staring at a white screen with a little line slowly meandering across the top of your device? You are not alone. For all of the changes in the mobile revolution, internet speeds still need to catch up to content.
It is not surprising then that many of the largest internet companies in the world want to ensure that users not only have access to their websites, but improve the speed that users receive content online.
To do this, many of the largest websites in the world have joined the open source Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP).

What is AMP?

AMP is an open source initiative to improve the mobile web by providing faster content distribution. Just like 10 years ago, consumers wanted faster internet speeds on their computers, now they want the same for their mobile devices.
AMP helps by providing a special AMP HTML frameworks with smart caching capabilities. The idea is to create a set of rules that work across many of the largest websites.
Furthermore, by using AMP not only is the content fast, but also so are the ads. The problem with all of the pop ups, lightboxes, and other ad scripts is that they don’t work properly on mobile devices. AMP solves this dilemma.
Furthermore, AMP is built upon previously design website templates and technologies to make the transition to faster speed readily available.

How does AMP work with large websites?

Google Today- While Apple and Facebook might have taken the lead on AMP technology, Google has closed the gap.
They are doing this through a massive open source effort what are agile processes. By making open standards for the web, and closing down some of the walls that traditionally prohibited developers from creating Google apps they are allowing a new breed of faster mobile technologies on their platform.
This is a common tactic they have done in the past when they fell behind competitors. A good way to leverage other people’s efforts to generate more traffic back to the ads on their website.
Google is also using AMP  to create instant load times for video animations, and graphics on any device next to their smart ads.
Facebook- One of the biggest advantages that the Facebook social media platform has in this realm is that unlike Google, Facebook is the final destination for users.
That is because users watch videos, like photos, and comment on friends posts all from the comfort of the Facebook newsfeed.
It is also why Facebook initiated the Instant Articles program in their newsfeed. Initially open to nine select partners: New York Times, National Geographic, BuzzFeed, NBC, The Atlantic, Guardian, BBC News, Spiegel and Bild; they recently added 21 new publishers.
The Washington Post even promised to publish all of their stories on Facebook Instant Articles.
Facebook sees this as a way to solve the load time for articles on their site. Currently, mobile devices load articles in a little over 8 seconds. This is the slowest load across all content types on Facebook.
By focusing on their worst loading content first they increase load times by a factor of 10 with Instant Articles.
Instant Articles also provides other interactive features such as zoom, high-resolution photos, smart scroll auto-play videos, interactive maps, audio captions, and even like and comment boxes for individual parts of an article.
WordPress– When over a quarter of the website in the world use your platform, it is best to have an answer to the next great mobile framework.
For that reason, WordPress created an AMP plugin that is available for free to WordPress users. This is an open source plugin for the project. It makes it easier for publishers to keep the mobile experience available to everyone.
They literally released the AMP plugin a week ago, so with only 400 downloads at the current time it might be too early to tell how this plugin will interact with WordPress sites.
Twitter- Remember, Twitters’ iconic 140-character limit is based upon the 160-character limit for texting to other users. Mobile has always been an important facet of their marketing strategy. 
Twitter feels that it has to help storytelling for publishers and technology companies. The biggest challenge to do that is improving the speeds of embedded tweets on mobile devices.
Additionally, they can also use this project to improve the performance of video views on their subsidiary Vine.
To do this, they are providing special code for publishers to embed Tweets and Vines on third party devices. This <amp-twitter> tag interprets the device being used, and then renders the Tweet or Vine appropriately.

Final Thoughts

AMP is the first step in improving speeds for mobile devices. By ensuring the content consumers receive comes in quickly, they can increase the efficiency and ad capabilities of mobile devices exponentially.
Keep in mind that this is still in the first stages of development with using AMP. Like any technology it will continue to progress.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about how to use Accelerated Mobile Pages Project for your website, feel free to contact us.

Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

    Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

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      As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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