Konnichiwa from Tokyo and our third annual AMP Conf! More than 500 developers are joining us over the next 2 days to hear from 50 speakers about how they’ve used AMP, what they’ve learned, and what’s coming next. With over 850 code contributors to the project and billions of AMP websites, the AMP team is more motivated than ever to build towards our vision of a strong user-first open web forever. And with a new governance model announced last year, leading voices across the web will ensure the project aims to meet the needs of both developers and users.
AMP means great user experiences on the web
What’s in a name? When AMP started more than 3 years ago, Accelerated Mobile Pages fit pretty well. But AMP isn’t just accelerating webpage experiences anymore – it’s drives an overall superior user experience across the web. And mobile phones are just one of a myriad of supported devices AMP runs on, including desktop and tablets. Plus with immersive stories, dynamic emails, and better ads we are well beyond our original pages name.
Moving forward, The AMP Project will just be known as AMP – no acronym necessary, just a word that signifies speed and a great user experience across the web. You’ll see this reflected in our newly launched home for all things AMP, amp.dev, where you’ll learn all there is to know about the types of experiences developers are using AMP to build.
With documentation sections for websites, stories, emails and ads, developers can find what they need quickly. And we’ve strengthened the site’s resources as well, both importing the templates and examples that previously lived on ampbyexample.com and ampstart.com, and providing new assets like a use cases section with downloadable demos showcasing what’s possible with AMP.
Making AMP more capable
Additionally, AMP is now taking advantage of another web technology called web packaging that allows publishers to get the instant loading of AMP from their own domain. We’ve heard the feedback that AMP URLs from Google Search can be confusing or problematic, and last year began working on using signed exchanges to address this issue. We’re now excited to announce that Signed Exchange support is launching in Google Search, available to all users of browsers that support the new technology (currently Chromium-based browsers) and all websites that serve signed exchanges. This means you can now get instant loading for AMP on your own domain! See more details in this Google Webmaster Blog post or visit Cloudflare who recently announced that they are offering signed exchanges to all of its customers free of charge via a new product called AMP Real URL.
AMP as a Service
One of the differentiating features of AMP is that every day hundreds of open source contributors and dozens of full time engineers are working on making AMP better. In fact, because the AMP team and the open source community are constantly working on improvements that are shipped to all AMP pages via a CDN multiple times a month, you can think of “AMP as a Service”, modeled after the concept of software as a service.
This includes ways in which AMP is always improving your site directly with elements like image lightbox with swipe dismissal as default for many images, as well as a blurry image placeholder as an upgraded experience for images that take longer to load. Additionally AMP provides best-in-class and easy-to-integrate features like input masking, video docking or infinite scrolling for lists. And finally, we’re introducing a one-line ServiceWorker, an auto-configuring ServiceWorker that turns any AMP page into a PWA. It is preconfigured for AMP, so that it does all the right things for network resilience and improved speed out of the box, and like everything in AMP will become better over time.
Driving ROI with Speed
We realize AMP’s vision is rooted in supporting the long term success of publishers and advertisers across the web. To this end we’ve seen strong recent success with AMPHTML ads, ads that are built with the underlying technology used on AMP pages. In particular, So-net, a Japanese DSP, has seen huge decreases in Ad Load time which resulted in major ad metrics improvements, such as a 34% CTR improvement. And leading Spanish newspaper EL PAÍS in partnership with Volkswagen ran an experiment combining AMP pages, AMPHTML ads and AMP landing pages, resulting in a sizable 76% conversion uplift. In other words, when AMP ensured the user-experience was great, each acquisition was 43% cheaper!
Online merchants are critical to the health and success of the web. Shopify, a platform that powers over 800,000 online businesses, supports AMP with their apps platform. Six of these apps, installed by more than 20.000 stores to date, provide great AMP versions of the Shopify storefront. Check out the full review of these Shopify apps in a recent blogpost.
We announced a developer preview for AMP Stories at last year’s AMP Conf. Stories are a new medium that was truly born on mobile, allowing users to have a visual content experience that feels native to their phone. And while many users experience story content within apps, we’ve spent much of the last year building out the capabilities of the AMP Stories format to take advantage of what is unique about a story product for the open web. With AMP stories, publishers own their content, completely control the monetization, and design and distribute the content exactly as they like. Over the last year, we’ve seen many publishers create engaging content in the format. This week Washington Post contributor Lorenzo Tugnoli was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for his rich and riveting photographs capturing the human toll of war in Yemen, which appeared in the paper as an AMP Story. The AMP Story presentation was so visually striking that it was submitted to the Pulitzer committee as the official document showcasing the photographs.
Over the past year, we’ve added many new features like page attachments, sidebars, and more robust support for a desktop experience. And story ads, with upcoming programmatic support as well as support for affiliate links provide greater monetization flexibility.
We also recognize that most creators of AMP Stories will prefer to use tools to create their stories rather than hand code them. We’re excited by the set of robust tools that are emerging. This includes MakeStories, an end-to-end WYSIWYG editor for making stories, that is now live to everyone at makestories.io for free this week. Additionally Unfold, one of the top story creation tools with 17M downloads is integrating AMP Stories support as part of a new premium version of their product that will launch in June. And a new AMP plugin for WordPress is launching today in beta with a built-in WYSIWYG editor for AMP Stories. In the near future the stable version will enable all users of the AMP plugin to create their own stories with no additional plugin installation.
Ensuring great stories are visible and accessible is also a high priority for platforms like Google, which announced today that it is creating a dedicated block for Visual Stories on search result pages. Google is starting with story content in the travel space and plans to launch additional blocks for gaming, movies, TV, fashion, and more.
Finally, we announced AMP for email at AMP Conf last year to bring the power of interactivity to email, and the format is now live and ready for business. AMP for email enables email senders to create dynamic, interactive content within an email, opening up a new world of possibilities without a user needing to leave their inbox. Dynamic mail was made available to Gmail and G Suite users recently, and we are excited to share that Mail.ru is exiting their beta and launching to all users this week. In addition, the AMP for email spec has engagement from other major email providers around the world including Yahoo Mail and Outlook.com. As each of these providers launches support, senders will scale the reach of their AMP emails to users. And early adopters of AMP for email like OYO, India’s largest hospitality company, saw a 60% conversion lift for visitors coming via AMP emails since launch.
AMP has evolved well beyond its first step to help publishers speed up their content sites. With major improvements to make the library capable across websites, stories, ads and emails, AMP aims to empower developers to create great experiences across the web. The AMP team is as excited as we were on day one and remain committed to working towards our vision of a user-first open web forever.
Posted by Malte Ubl, Technical Steering Committee, AMP