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Since its introduction in 2015, Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) framework has been controversial. The company recently decided to no longer require AMP for inclusion in the Top Stories carousel. That may lead to abandonment of the format by many publishers - some of whom considered AMP coercive; however, the data argue that AMP pages do perform much better, boosting rankings and revenue.
Page Experience taking over. There are various cynical theories about why Google created AMP. What Google said at the time was that it wanted to "dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web . . . no matter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device you're using." And it largely delivered on that promise - it also boosted ad revenues for some publishers — but the price was complexity.One of the reasons Google lifted the Top Stories AMP requirement is that the company has moved to a much more holistic and sophisticated approach to (mobile) ranking, called Page Experience factors. Yet before publishers and developers say "good riddance" to AMP, it's important to understand what they might be giving up.
Source: Deloitte — Milliseconds Make Millions
Speed improvements yield traffic and better CTR. A June study from Deloitte on the impact of page-speed on page views, engagement and conversions found increased brand loyalty and revenue from even tiny increases in site speed. For example, in the retail vertical, the research found that a 0.1 second speed improvement translated into an 8.4% increase in conversions and average order value increases of 9.2%. In travel, conversions increased 10% and AOV 19%.
Perficient Digital conducted an AMP-impact study with 27 publishers and e-commerce sites. There were more impressions and higher CTRs for AMP-enabled sites:
Source: Milestone AMP study
Better core vitals and more revenue. A more recent study from Milestone, comparing non-AMP websites and AMP websites, looked at multiple verticals: "5,000 landing pages, 408,000,000 search
impressions and millions of site visits."
The research found that AMP outperformed non-AMP pages on Google's Core Vitals metrics: Largest Contentful Paint (17% better), First Input Delay (10% better), Cumulative Layout Shift (70% better). Page speed was 135% better than with non-AMP pages.
Milestone also found "AMP has a significant impact on rankings on search, search sessions, impressions, page views, and traffic share." AMP pages boosted ranking on average by two positions after AMP was implemented. They also saw roughly 380% more search impressions than non-AMP sites.
Most significantly, in the case of seven customers in the travel segment where Milestone had revenue visibility, the company saw average mobile revenue gains of 29%. Milestone concluded that "AMP [pages] could see a monthly revenue gain anywhere between $3,500 - $40,000," depending on the site and average order value.Mobile revenue gains from AMP
Why we care. There are a number of things to think about before determining whether to drop AMP, which many publishers may be inclined to do. Given the benefits above, that decision should be carefully considered. Regardless, to rank in the new Page Experience world coming in 2021, brands and retailers must deliver fast sites and strong user experiences. AMP is one way to do that. AMP pages score better on Core Vitals metrics, a key component of Page Experience ranking factors. But it's the revenue boost that should really get your attention.
Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall.
Click here to read the original article published on July 27, 2020 in Search Engine Land.