As Google continues to fine-tune Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), the marketing community wait to see its full impact. All we really know so far is AMP is light and fast – at least compared the bloated pages often published.
Aside from that, there’s no real data yet to prove how users are taking to AMP. But, you know what? Sometimes you don’t need data to state the obvious and we’re already seeing one side-effect – that it’s making us even more impatient.
Did the web just get a whole lot slower?
AMP rolled out in February and you’ll have noticed its growing presence in mobile search. They’re typically reserved for news-style publications and as soon as you type any relevant topic into Google, you’ll get something like the following:
Notice how nice and fast those beauties load? Finally, clicking on a headline doesn’t leave you waiting for ads to load before you get the full scoop. It’s a genuine improvement. Although you can’t help feeling an unnecessary one if publishers got the hint that killing UX for the sake of ads doesn’t fly. Never mind.
There’s a nasty side-effect from all this speedy AMP business, though. The rest of the web suddenly seems a whole lot slower. Try loading up a non-AMP page after you get used to the faster version and feel that mobile rage seeping through your veins. It’s like a nasty flashback to the dark days of dial-up.
So while the mobile web has technically gotten faster since AMP, it somehow feels slower by emphasising the poor performance of other pages. This isn’t AMP’s fault, of course, it’s a much needed slap round the face to web developers and marketers who insists on bloating pages with tons of code.
The knock-on effects of the AMP illusion
The human mind is a funny thing: as soon as we get used to something, we start taking it for granted. So turn half the web into a faster platform and our tolerance for other half shatters.
This is how AMP will make mobile users even more impatient. The effect on website owners will come in various forms – starting with higher bounce rates from slow loading times. We’ll also see lower CTRs for non-AMP pages because listings without that little lightening bolt will be associated with poor performance. The kicker is you could have a blazingly fast ad-free website, developed outside of the AMP infrastructure, and get shunned for not having that icon on your listing.
How do you deal more impatient mobile users?
Without signing up you won’t get that fancy icon on your listings, though. You also won’t end up in the AMP carousel that sits above organic results. Sadly, the only way to fix that is to start publishing your content through AMP. The concern is users will write off non-AMP pages because they assume it means poor performance. This is why its important developers start taking this more seriously and prove non-AMP pages can perform well.
Accelerated Mobile Pages are designed to make published content load faster – things like blog posts and news articles. So your product/service pages are out of the loop here. Which means online businesses need to step up their game or risk seriously damaging conversion rates. The stakes just got a whole lot higher.
So don’t tolerate poor performance from your pages, because users certainly won’t. AMP raises the bar for loading times and brands that fail to keep up will get hit where it hurts most. And it won’t be long before Google hosts its own eCommerce search/payment process – at which point it may be too late for the slower brands to catch up.