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To Google AMP or Not to Google AMP: Do Ecommerce Companies Need It?

August 6, 2018 No Comments

Featured article by Adriana Blum is a Senior Mobile Developer and Technical Lead at Iflexion

Sponsored by Google, the Accelerated Mobile Pages project (AMP) is an open-source initiative launched in 2015. Designed to improve page-load speeds of mobile web content, AMP is a new, simplified frontend framework.

Why such a focus on making a mobile-first web? Mobile searches continue to outpace those on desktops with a YOY growth.  Consider that “as of January 2017, mobile phones accounted for 50% of internet traffic. That’s a 30% increase from last year alone” according to Smart Insights.

At the same time, according to Google, “53% of mobile site visits are abandoned for pages taking longer than three seconds to load.” This results in a high bounce rate, which harms ranking.

The bottom line is that AMP does appear to be dramatically improving site visits and engagement through increasing the speed of mobile page loading. According to a study by Chartbeat, with AMP visitors stay on a page 35 percent longer on average than with standard mobile web content (48 seconds vs. 36 seconds).

Google promotes mobile-first development

It’s important to note that Google has been pivoting towards a mobile-first strategy for a while now. In fact, everyone on the web needs to fasten their seatbelts because Google plans to prioritize mobile web pages over desktop ones by July of this year.

This also means that the mobile version of a website page will be used for ranking and indexing versus the desktop version. A whole new SERP will begin to emerge as a result of this upcoming mobile-first strategy whether or not everyone is ready.

To find out how ecommerce companies can benefit from AMP, we discussed the initiative with experts from ecommerce development company Iflexion.

What does AMP hold for Ecommerce?

While the majority of online purchases still occur on desktops, the share of mobile commerce is constantly growing. During the 2017 holiday season, one third of all purchases made on the internet came from smartphone and tablet users. That means ecommerce companies just cannot ignore mobile experience of their customers.

For an ecommerce business, slow page loading often means cart abandonment, which obviously affects revenue. The faster your site is for mobile shoppers, the quicker you get them in and out and the more they are likely to spend, which could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for large ecommerce companies.

Will AMP Impact My Ecommerce Conversions?

Google is reporting that the “median time it takes for an AMP page to load from Google search is less than half a second.”  In a Forrester Total Economic Impact Study that was commissioned by Google, ecommerce companies that implemented AMP experienced:

- A 20% increase in conversion rates of site visitors to completed purchases from AMP pages
- An increase in site traffic volume
- An improvement in ad click-throughs (CTR)

What Challenges Will I Face Implementing AMP?

While all AMP benefits described above hold an appeal no one with a website can deny, it’s important to consider that it may take significant development time to convert pages to AMP as well as that AMP is limiting in nature.

Let’s look at some of the challenges and restrictions when designing and developing with AMP for ecommerce.  Here’s what you can’t do:

- Use iframes
- Use JavaScript or CSS freely (some limitations)
- Use chat applications
- Include forms, which are typically needed during checkout

There is, however, a growing list of components being added regularly by AMP, which include:

- Ads and analytics
- Dynamic content
- Ability to add media
- Social integrations

While marketers and developers alike are crushed with the thought of a new developmental framework, AMP does result in a simpler design that is more aesthetically appealing and saves you and your mobile website visitor seconds in loading time.  

How to Get Started with AMP

If you’re already using an ecommerce-focused CMS like Magento CMS or Drupal Commerce, note that many of them are stepping up their efforts to coincide with Google’s mobile-first strategy by developing plugins to make your pages AMP-friendly.

However, if you are using a custom CMS or/and don’t have an in-house development team, you’ll probably need help from experienced ecommerce developers to convert existing pages to AMP.

Start with visiting the AMP site. Run your new test page through the AMP Validator to see if your code is approved. Or, if you have the plugin route as an option or your CMS offers an integration, try it out with a few test pages to start.

After you launch a few AMP pages, compare analytics and see which is performing better.  As usual, the answer lies within the data.

Sponsored by Google, the Accelerated Mobile Pages project (AMP) is an open-source initiative launched in 2015. Designed to improve page-load speeds of mobile web content, AMP is a new, simplified frontend framework.

Why such a focus on making a mobile-first web? Mobile searches continue to outpace those on desktops with a YOY growth.  Consider that “as of January 2017, mobile phones accounted for 50% of internet traffic. That’s a 30% increase from last year alone” according to Smart Insights.

At the same time, according to Google, “53% of mobile site visits are abandoned for pages taking longer than three seconds to load.” This results in a high bounce rate, which harms ranking.

The bottom line is that AMP does appear to be dramatically improving site visits and engagement through increasing the speed of mobile page loading. According to a study by Chartbeat, with AMP visitors stay on a page 35 percent longer on average than with standard mobile web content (48 seconds vs. 36 seconds)

About the Author

Adriana Blum is a Senior Mobile Developer and Technical Lead at Iflexion with 13+ years of experience in designing and implementing software applications for renowned companies. She specializes in cross-platform development on React Native and Xamarin and has broad experience in native iOS and Android development. For over 10 years, Adriana has been managing and delivering custom mobile solutions for E-commerce, Social Networking, Retail, and Entertainment.

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