How is Google AMP

9 things to know about accelerated mobile pages

1. What are AMPs exactly?

Accelerated Mobile Pages should help to improve the loading times of websites on mobile devices. This is done using a special HTML code that Google has named AMP HTML. By limiting certain elements of a website, reading is already possible during the loading process.

To ensure this, AMPs open in two steps: "The pages are loaded immediately, but only those parts that have to be visible immediately after the click. This keeps the amount of data low. If the page is opened, the rest of the pages reload unnoticed", explains tech editor Hakan Tanriverdi on sz.de.

A message from the software manufacturer Sevenval Technologies, with whose technology the "FAZ" processes its AMP articles, explains how the whole thing can look on the editorial side: "As soon as a FAZ article is entered in the editorial staff's content management system and released for publication, it is automatically formatted accordingly, "says the message.

2. How does this look to the user?

Anyone using Google on the move will in future come across Top Stories for certain search terms above the results - these are pages that were built with AMP technology. A swipe takes you from one article to the next, explainsDavid Besbris, VP Engineering / Search at Google. "This is what the reading experience on the mobile web should look like - fast, responsive and fun."

AMP Product Demo

3. What are the advantages of AMPs?

If pages load too long, the bounce rate increases to up to 58 percent, as Google explains on the project website. Publishers could no longer afford that today. AMPs would load up to four times faster and carry ten times less data load than normal mobile sites, according to Besbris.

Thanks to AMPs, publishers could present their content between 15 and 85 percent faster on mobile devices, estimatesStefan Gerstmeier, COO of Neofonie Mobile. This results in a significantly improved experience for users, and more page views and adviews for media companies. "In addition, the pages created with AMP that have passed Google's mobile AMP test will get a better position in the search rankings, which will have a positive effect on the degree of distribution," says Gerstmeier.

Basically, AMPs are the counterpart to Facebook's Instant Articles - but there are important differences: Google takes an open source approach. This means that the source code, code examples and documentation are freely available to everyone. And unlike the Instant Articles, the participating publishers always retain possession of the content, as it remains on their own servers. Google only saves a cache file of an article.

4. Who is behind the project?

The project was created as part of the Digital News Initiative (DNI), which Google launched last year. At that time, Google committed itself, among other things, to providing 150 million euros within three years for the promotion of digital journalism. More than 160 publishers have now joined the initiative. The dfv media group, in which HORIZONT appears, is also there.

Other interested parties can apply using the online form. The Accelerated Mobile Pages project is a pillar of the DNI.

Accelerated Mobile Pages: This is what Google's super-fast loading mobile websites look like

5. Who uses AMPs?

Over 30 international media companies are participating in the project. From Germany, the "FAZ" and Zeit Online were there from the start - both are also participants in the DNI. Other German Google partners are Spiegel Online, Sport 1 and T-Online.de. And even media from Axel Springer, which is highly critical of Google, such as "Bild" and "Welt" are involved - although the Berliners do not participate in the DNI.

In addition, Google has won well-known technology companies as partners who are responsible for range measurement and the development of advertising formats. All partners can be found on the homepage of the AMP project.

6. Who are AMPs for?

According to Google for "all participants in the ecosystem: publishers, consumer platforms and developers". However, it is quite clear who is targeting AMPs in particular: The project's launch partners are well-known media companies from all over the world such as the "New York Times", the "Guardian", Hearst and Vox.com.

This is not surprising: the consumption of news via mobile devices is increasing and increasing. At the beginning of 2015, the share of mobile traffic from German news sites was a good 40 percent - external "referrers" such as Google and Facebook are important suppliers. Providing users with a fast - and therefore user-friendly - reading experience on their smartphones should therefore be in the best interests of high-reach media offers.

"Since the big publishers have missed out on actually opting for 'Mobile First', I expect a significant increase in the use of content by publishers who will use AMPs - especially because Google is already in the field of SEO Youtube Videos and Mobile Pages ranks better, "saysPeer Wörpel, Director Consulting Creation at the media agency Pilot.

7. What monetization options are there?

Google enables publishers to market the AMPs themselves. In addition, the pages should support paywalls and subscription services. You now have to observe which advertising formats are actually being used. Some formats, such as interstitials and website takeovers, should not be allowed - this is also done with the aim of not reducing the user's reading experience.

However, Google has partnerships with numerous technical service providers who are supposed to develop solutions for AMP-compliant advertising formats. However, there are also restrictions here, as the Javascript programming language, for example, is not permitted. The point of the available advertising formats should be decisive, however: increasing the mobile reach with mobile-optimized pages hardly makes sense for publishers if this reach cannot be monetized.

"The opportunity for the first movers is that they can generate more traffic and thus more advertising income in the mobile news market," said Wörpel. "However, as with Facebook, publishers are only becoming pure content providers and act for Google like the dpa for publishers, for example." Therefore, the question arises, "Who will be the winner in the long term in the area of ​​revenue models around the AMPs: publisher or a marketer like Google?"

"This is what the reading experience on the mobile web should look like - fast, responsive and entertaining."

David Besbris

8. How do Instant Articles and AMPs compete?

Ultimately, just as Facebook and Google competed before: It's a battle for the user's attention and time. The following principle applies to Facebook: the more time the user spends on the platform, the higher the probability that he will encounter advertising there. And as is well known, Facebook earns its money with this.

It is the same with Google, but the usage situation differs between the two platforms: "With Facebook, the user is heavily involved in exploratory activities on the platform Wörpel. The social media expert believes that both systems will be able to work coexistently.

Gerstmeier is of the same opinion. On the one hand, Facebook and Google pursued different approaches: "While you have to enter into a dedicated partnership with Facebook (or Apple) and publish specially prepared content in the Facebook app, Google's AMP technology is freely available and usable." And on the other hand, the strategies of the media houses with regard to the degree of distribution, target group and advertising strategy are too different for it to be a question of either Instant Articles or AMPs.

Wörpel urges the publishers to give serious thought to a counterbalance to Facebook and Google. "To do this, we need to think more about mobile devices and invest in data generation in order to remain attractive to advertisers in the long term."

9. Which other companies should AMPs take a close look at?

Any company or brand that can be found via Google is theoretically a candidate for Accelerated Mobile Pages. This particularly includes online shops and e-commerce players such as Amazon. Stefan Gerstmeier is currently at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, ​​where the latest user metrics from this area were discussed. He reports that in 2015 more than 30 percent of digital shopping was done on mobile platforms. "Shopping via mobile platforms in particular will continue to grow exponentially. That is why mobile is becoming more and more important," said the Neofonie COO.

Here, too, fast loading times are crucial: "If mobile users have to wait more than 3 seconds for the content to load, the purchase is usually canceled. 41 percent of users try to evade advertising, but again 60 percent of these users would be native and accept context-related advertising that creates added value, "says Gerstmeier.

Google's AMPs could therefore significantly improve the user experience in mobile shopping. Gerstmeier therefore believes that the AMPs "will be adapted and anchored very soon in the online and e-commerce sector." Irishman