Study: Google’s AMP Increases Content Engagement by 35%
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), launched just over a year ago, has already become an extremely popular mobile SEO tool. It’s being used by over 2 billion pages across 900,000 different domains, and it’s likely that these numbers will continue to grow throughout this year.
The reason why is simple: AMP is an open-source publishing format that uses a special type of HTML, allowing pages clicked on in Google’s search results to load rapidly on mobile devices. According to a new study from web analytics firm Chartbeat, this increase in speed also leads to an increase in content engagement.
On Mobile, Speed = Engagement
Most SEOs believe that page load speed will be an important ranking factor on mobile when Google’s mobile-first index eventually launches. However, it’s important to think of load times from a user perspective as well. As has been stated many times, users will only wait about three seconds for a page to load on mobile. Most users simply abandon a page if it doesn’t load quickly, rendering any time spent creating that content and getting a high Google ranking wasted.
But it doesn’t stop there. Even if your webpage ranks highly, gets clicked on and loads quickly enough to prevent a user from bouncing, your page load speed can affect how long a user will engage with your content. According to the study results, readers engage with AMP content for an average of 48 seconds, while standard mobile content only gets about 36 seconds – that’s an increase of 35 percent. In other words, fast load speed doesn’t just help catch a user’s attention – it helps you hold it as well. And while an increase in 12 seconds of engagement may not immediately seem like much, it can make a world of difference when the goal of your content is to convert readers into leads for your business.
The study also found that the average mobile web page takes 5.3 seconds to load, while an AMP page only takes 1.4 seconds. Interestingly, Facebook’s AMP counterpart, Instant Articles, typically load in less than a thousandth of a second, often being too fast for Chartbeat to even register a load time.
AMP Still Faces Criticism
Despite the obvious advantages, AMP is not being received well by everyone. Some publishers feel AMP locks their content into Google’s network in a restrictive way – a criticism that’s also very often lobbed at Facebook’s Instant Articles. But while publishers are having a hard time monetizing their content on Instant Articles, Google is at least taking some steps to make AMP part of effective advertising campaigns.
Of course, some people also simply feel that AMP is just yet another way for Google to strengthen their dominance over the internet. Others argue that the same mobile load speeds found with AMP can be achieved simply through good design and development, with no Google involvement or AMP HTML being necessary. Nevertheless, creating AMP versions of content will be an important strategy for web designers, content creators and SEOs who want to keep up with Google’s mobile-first philosophy and prepare for the looming mobile-first index.