AMP

Debunking Common AMP Myths

Ecommerce, Websites

AMP is a great and easy way to build very fast sites. Since its launch in 2015, AMP has grown to power billions of pages across the web from tens of millions of domains. We’ve seen many examples of businesses in both the publishing and e-commerce spaces see success with implementing AMP on their websites. As the AMP project has grown, we have noticed a number of misconceptions & myths have arisen — so we thought we would take this opportunity to bust some of the most common myths about AMP.



MYTH: AMP is exclusively a Google project.
FACT: AMP is an open source initiative led by Google along with other companies and members of the web community.

AMP developers, companies and individual contributors participate in the development of this project: Over the last 3 years, AMP received contributions from 850+ contributors, 78% of whom were employed by companies other than Google, such as Twitter, Pinterest, Yahoo, Bing, and eBay. AMP moved to a new governance model that explicitly gives a voice to all constituents of the community, including those who cannot contribute code themselves, such as end-users, and representation from companies such as Twitter, Microsoft, Pinterest, The NY Times, Washington Post, AliExpress and many others.

MYTH: AMP only works from Google.com.
FACT: AMP pages are accessible across the web including any distribution platform and device.

Users can access AMP pages via links on distribution platforms (e.g., search engines) or sites. Some platforms (e.g., Google, Bing, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yahoo JP, Baidu and more ) will always serve AMP pages by default on mobile, when available. Some platforms (e.g., google.com, bing.com) take an extra step to cache your content for a much faster user experience.

MYTH: AMP is only for mobile.
FACT: AMP is designed with responsiveness in mind, to work across all screen sizes.

AMP is now just AMP, and does not stand for Accelerated Mobile Pages anymore. AMP isn’t just for mobile, it not only works across many device types including desktop and tablet but comes with super handy responsive design features. AMP is designed to be mobile friendly, and with slow hardware and high latency connections, the boost you get with AMP on smartphones is going to be felt a lot stronger than on desktops. It should also be understood that some features for third-party platforms (e.g., Google’s Top Stories carousel) may only be designed for the mobile experience. For more information, see this article.

MYTH: Every AMP page has to also have a non-AMP version.
FACT: An AMP page can be associated with a non-AMP version, but it’s not a requirement.

In some cases, you might want to have both a non-AMP and an AMP version of the same page, especially during the early phases of your AMP migration when you might want to also support testing AMP and non-AMP. But this is not a requirement and you don’t need to maintain two versions of the same content if you think AMP is the right solution for your business. You can choose to have one page, and that page could be an AMP page. This means lower maintenance costs to build, maintain, and monitor a single version of each document (as opposed to building both a non-AMP and paired AMP page). More details here.

MYTH: AMP landing pages are usually difficult to build.
FACT: It typically takes less than a week to build AMP landing pages for the majority of page types and use cases.

80% of development teams we contacted said they built AMP Landing Pages in less than a week. Having said that, AMP development effort varies on the page type. Some AMP pages can be built within a day, others take longer. Check out amp.dev for some free AMP templates to reduce your development time even further.

MYTH: AMP is only for publishers or static websites.
FACT: More than 60% of Google Search clicks to AMP pages go to non-news sites.

AMP is built thanks to a deep collaboration with thousands of developers, publishers and websites, distribution platforms and tech companies. When AMP first launched, it was initially adopted by publishers but now advertisers and e-commerce companies are also leveraging AMP to gain speed benefits. Read some of the success stories on our site.

MYTH: AMP doesn’t support interactive experiences.
FACT: AMP components now enable design customization and interactive experiences.

When AMP first launched, it had limitations to visual design. As the AMP project has grown thanks to the collaboration of the open source community, new components have been built that allow companies to do design customization and create interactivity. Today, most interactive experiences are supported:

  • Rich Media: there are ever increasing AMP components and anyone can contribute if something is missing.
  • Third-Party (3P) integrations: there are many available now and growing.

Companies such as BMWAliExpress and Rep from La Repubblica have been able to build great interactive experiences on AMP, with some using AMP for the majority of their site pages.

MYTH: AMP is not capable of supporting e-commerce websites.
FACT: AMP is a natural fit for e-commerce because AMP makes web pages fast, and fast pages help with purchase conversions.

When AMP first launched, it was initially adopted by publishers. As the AMP project has grown, new components have been built that allow brands to create interactive experiences. We are excited by the speed with which the internet is adopting and extending the AMP platform, and AMP can be used to build a fast, beautiful e-commerce experiences. For more details, check “Getting started with AMP for e-commerce” and “E-commerce At The Speed of AMP” blog posts.  

MYTH: It’s not possible to serve fresh content on AMP Pages.
FACT: There are many options to keep content on AMP pages up to date.

You can serve fresh content on AMP either relying on the default AMP Cache mechanism (stale-while-revalidate), using the update cache functionality, or using dynamic components (like amp-list). Many big e-commerce companies have demonstrated great success when implementation is planned properly.

MYTH: AMP is not secure/private enough.
FACT: The AMP framework is built to preserve privacy and ensure data security.

AMP landing pages are often served from the Google AMP Cache, which simply caches a version of your AMP landing page for purposes of validating AMP documents and for providing reliable, fast delivery. The Google AMP Cache as well as AMP JavaScript are served from cookieless domains that do not track users in any way. Additionally, AMP has a security review process that is routinely used when launching new AMP components. For further reading we recommend this blog post “Privacy and user choice in AMP’s software architecture”.

MYTH: AMP pages don’t convert as well as non-AMP pages.
FACT: Properly optimized AMP pages often perform better than their non-AMP equivalents.

Many advertisers and publishers have seen success with AMP as documented on amp.dev. A study from Forrester found that a site implementing AMP could expect 20% increase in sales conversion rate on AMP pages, 10% year-over-year increase in AMP site traffic, and 60% increase in pages per visit. There are a few reasons why an AMP page might appear to perform less well than an non-AMP page. If you are seeing poor performance, these are a few areas to explore:

  • Measurement and tracking issues: Make sure you’ve setup analytics on your AMP page using the following two setup guides.
  • Inconsistent landing pages: If AMP page looks different from non-AMP page, it can affect conversion rates. Landing pages should be identical both in appearance and in function in order to accurately assess AMP performance. Also make sure you offer user-friendly landing pages.

You can check this blog post for the things to keep in mind when testing and evaluating AMP.

Posted by Cemal Buyukgokcesu, Global Product Lead, Mobile Web, Google

Shopify Apps make AMP easy and effective for eCommerce

Ecommerce

Online retailers are always looking for ways to exceed their customers’ expectations. With most online shopping now happening on mobile devices, it’s important for merchants to deliver fast, engaging experiences optimized for mobile. Because AMP guarantees consistently fast webpages, it’s becoming an increasingly popular framework for eCommerce.

Shopify Apps add functionality or features to Shopify stores, like plugins or extensions do to other platforms. Apps built to support AMP provide an easy way to launch a lightning fast, mobile optimized AMP version of a store that users love.

The best AMP Apps for Shopify are able to easily create many page types, including product, collection, home, and blog pages. They’re free or low cost, and come with reliable support. Some integrate with third party apps, meaning AMP versions of stores will not lose critical functionality such as product reviews. These Apps generate pages can be cached and served nearly instantly when accessed through Google Search.

The most popular AMP Apps have been installed thousands of times and have received 5 stars in 87% of user reviews. AMP by Shop Sheriff has great user reviews, and has been able to grow quickly because of their focus on user experience. “Merchants using our app, as well as their customers who get to experience the AMP pages, all love the experience,” said Shop Sheriff founder Stephen Gardner. “We’re extremely proud to have 98% 5-star reviews, and maintain a 5.0 average star rating on Shopify.”  

Out-of-the-box, top Shopify AMP apps provide beautiful eCommerce templates for product, category, home, blog pages, and more, which merchants can further customize. Above is a GIF of a user seamlessly customizing their AMP pages using the AMP App by AMPify Me.

Testing the AMP versions of these stores using PageSpeed Insights show industry-leading performance scores over 90, with pages being fully interactive in just seconds. Data show that users are more likely to bounce from a page that takes longer to load, and users view more pages on fast loading websites, leading to more engagement and higher conversion rates.

For the app creators, it’s all about using technology to improve retail experiences online. “We’re committed to building technology that makes it easy for retailers to succeed online,” said Jana Filipovic from AMPify Me, a leading AMP App. “Our customers, and even users of our free products, are able to drive increased engagement and conversion rates using AMP.” Their focus on great product and user experiences have enabled AMP by AMPifyMe to grow very quickly. Over 13,000 stores have installed their App since launch in May 2018!

Shopify noted in a recent blog post that AMP by Shop Sheriff and AMPifyMe were leaders in the category of successful apps that improve mobile performance. “By helping merchants take advantage of this mobile-first opportunity, these apps were able to find success on our app store.”

Top Shopify AMP apps have a WYSIWYG editor that enables merchants to customize the look and feel of AMP pages to deliver feature rich, lightning fast user experiences. Above is the editor from Shop Sheriff.

Google recently conducted a detailed review of the most popular AMP Apps for Shopify, analyzing the apps across 5 critical characteristics. If you’re a Shopify client considering AMP, consider these when choosing a provider:

  1. Price & Support – How much will the app cost at the service level that’s appropriate for you, and will you get quality support for that investment?
  2. Ease of Use – How much work is required to set up the AMP version of your shop? How intuitive is the app’s user interface?
  3. Quality of AMP pages – How good is the user experience on the AMP version of your shop?
  4. Integration with Google tools – How easy will it be to ensure the AMP versions of your pages are cached by Google and any issues are surfaced?
  5. Third party integrations – Which of your other apps can be integrated out-of-the-box? Which can be integrated with a little more work?

Apps provide an easy path for merchants to adopt AMP on Shopify, creating a lightning fast, mobile optimized version of their pages that can help meet users’ rising expectations. Check out our review on amp.dev to see which AMP App might be best for your Shopify store.

Posted by Chris Sater, Web Product Partnerships, Google