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AMP for ecommerce: Is it worth your time?

Google’s long-term plan is to make the mobile search index their primary one. Considering the sheer number of users that solely digest media through their smartphones – it’s certainly not a surprising move. While 67% of people access websites through their phone, the conversion rate for mobile is still trailing behind desktop. Take the leisure industry – almost three quarters of bookings are completed through desktop. Slow mobile page load times are a culprit, with many users going elsewhere if waiting more than several seconds. As a result, Ecommerce stores are turning to Google AMP to make their mobile sites faster.

In simple terms, web pages and ads utilising the accelerated mobile pages format load almost instantaneously. This offers users a smooth, more engaging experience on mobile. AMP was created thanks to a collaboration with thousands of developers, publishers and websites. More than 1.5B AMP pages have been published to date, and 100+ leading analytics, ad tech and CMS providers support the AMP format.

What are accelerated mobile pages?

Web pages and ads published in the AMP open-source format load near instantly. Essentially, this offers users a smooth, more engaging experience on mobile. AMP is built thanks to a deep collaboration with thousands of developers, publishers and websites. More than 1.5B AMP pages have been published to date and 100+ leading analytics, ad tech and CMS providers support the AMP format.

Fast load times

Most sites use assets and scripts that are synchronically downloaded – in a specific order. Third party javascripts are still allowed but have to be handled in iframes, so as not to affect the sites performance. Each time a user accesses AMP content from the cache, the content is automatically updated. The updated version is then is served to the next user once the content has been cached.

Static layouting

Only one HTTP request is needed to layout the entire document. Only one CSS stylesheet is accepted, reducing the number of access requests needed. There’s a size limit to this file also, which means your code is going to have to be more efficient.

Efficient font optimisations

Browsers usually have to wait to download fonts. However, as all javascript in AMP is asynchronous, and only inline stylesheets are allowed, this cuts down the time.

GPU accelerated animations

Rather than let the CPU manage all, you can offload layers to the GPU allowing the CPU to render at a faster rate. AMP only allows you to enable those that can happen on the GPU, such as transform and opacity.

Prioritise resource loading

The most important resources are loaded first, i.e. content at the top of the page.

AMP example

The below graph is taken from a company called Section, using data from a sample of over 1,000 user sessions over a one week period. They analysed what impact page load speed had on bounce rate, with the pages loading in two seconds boasting the lowest bounce rates. They also deduced that: “Users visit an average of 5.6 pages more when page load time is 2 seconds compared to 8 seconds”.

Data directly from Amazon has also proven that even the slightest increase in page load time can result in lost sales. They found that an increase of only 0.1 seconds in load time resulted in a 1% decrease in sales. In terms of revenue, that equates to $1.3B a year.

 

Another AMP example is taken from Yahoo. According to their results, an increase of only 0.4% in mobile speed, resulting in a 9% increase in traffic. In their case, this is roughly 600 million visitors.

These figures prove that site speed is a major factor when it comes to conversions. It’s worth carrying out every optimisation you can, especially when it comes to more impulsive, lower value purchases. Reducing images size, writing cleaner more efficient code, limiting third-party plugins and so on, can all add up to improving your conversions.

eBay Google AMP

While Google has stated that it’s definitely not a ranking factor, eBay has rolled out accelerated mobile pages.

This comparison with their non-AMP page highlights several key differences: no images, inconsistent branding, fewer features. However, using AMP, they initially grab their audience with a fast, slick page – pushing them through the site to convert. In either case, clicking through does take you to a non-AMP page – jumping from the Google cached server to eBay’s server.

AMP additional benefits

  • Access to richer results in the SERPs, such as the carousel
  • Higher CTR on mobile. Users are conscious of how much data they are using. An average of 61% are more inclined to click through AMP pages.
  • Higher positions in the SERPs. Google has publicly stated that AMP is NOT a current ranking factor. However, if click-through-rate improves along with session-duration and pages-per-session, you will likely be rewarded.

It’s also worth noting that your Google Analytics may be affected. Due to people accessing through the cache, you won’t see all sessions and pages per session will be around 1, with your bounce rate 90%+ for AMP. As soon as people click through from the Google cached server, they are using your server. However, there are workarounds for accurate reporting, known as ‘session stitching’.

If you are looking for more info on AMP Ecommerce, you can get in touch with our team using the form below.

Ian Ferguson
Ian Ferguson

Ian graduated university with a degree in Business and Marketing Management and has worked in the digital marketing world ever since. Ian firmly believes that in order to achieve maximum success, an integrated approach to Digital Marketing is vital and uses his knowledge of SEO, PPC Advertising and Social Media Management to accomplish client goals. Ian is also Google Adwords and Analytics Certified.

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