We use email for a wide variety of purposes in every single day, whether it’s to schedule a work meeting, keep in touch with family and friends, or see what promotions your favorite online stores are having.
In fact, in 2019, Gmail had about 1.5 billion monthly active users, and 280 billion emails were sent daily in 2018. It’s safe to say that email is not dead and is an ever-growing mode of communication.
Since the induction of regularly-used email inboxes and spam folders, we’ve watched email go from static to dynamic, plain text to HTML, mundane to exciting. You might be thinking, “What is next?”
The answer to that is: AMP for Email.
You may have heard about AMP before, but if you’re like me, you might be wondering what it actually is.
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. The AMP Project is “an open course initiative that embodies the vision that publishers can create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.”
AMP is a mobile-only standard that uses AMPHTML that has been developed primarily by Google Developers. It allows senders to, “include AMP components inside rich, engaging emails, making modern app functionality available within email.”
AMP for Email is a relatively new initiative, having been launched by Google on March 26th, 2019. The initial AMP (just for webpages) was released in 2016, with more than 1.5 billion AMP pages published since then.
If you use the web browser on your mobile phone, you’ve likely already experienced AMP. When you use Google to search for something on the Internet, you might see this icon next to some of the results:
. When you click on one of those links, you’ll be presented with an AMP version of the page.
WHAT CAN AMP DO FOR EMAIL?
In the world of email, AMP is a whole new frontier.
The main idea behind AMP for Email is that the user shouldn’t have to click on a link inside the email and be redirected to an external webpage.
With AMP for Email, you can include all of the richness and interactivity of AMP within email messages, bringing email into the new decade. This new frontier opens the door for:
- Scrolling an image carousel
- Filling out a form or questionnaire
- Taking part in polls
- Answering comments in an email
- Opening a product card, choosing and buying the products
- Viewing drop-down lists and forms
With amp-form, users can take action right within the message, such as responding to a survey or invitation. With this component, users don’t even need to leave their inbox to do so.
Additionally, AMP is compatible with existing email programs. It adds to the overall email standard instead of replacing it.
WHO IS USING AMP FOR EMAIL?
Some of the biggest names in social media, job hunting, and hotel booking are utilizing AMP for improved engagement.
Emails sent by Pinterest are no longer limited to static content. Readers can engage with Pinterest immediately, within the email itself. If a Pinterest user is inspired within an idea they see within their email, they can “Pin It” right away.
Booking.com allows their subscribers to click through photos of hotel rooms, as well as choose their choice of email frequency without visiting the Booking.com website.
WHAT ABOUT SECURITY?
According to amp.dev, “AMP for email has no arbitrary 3rd party features to limit security issues and far surpasses the capabilities currently provided by third-party providers. Ad components are not allowed in AMP email, keeping users safe. To maintain users’ expectations of security and privacy, only a conservative subset of AMP functionality will be allowed.”
You can read more about the security requirements set in place by Gmail developers here.
WHERE ARE THE NUMBERS TO SHOW THE IMPACT AMP HAS HAD ON EMAIL ENGAGEMENT?
According to one study of 244 marketers from enterprise-level companies of $10 million to $1 billion+ in annual revenue, “Passive content marketing isn’t fueling buyers down sales and marketing pipelines with enough force. Instead, interactive content is the new compelling force ushering buyers into pipelines.”
OYO, the world’s third-largest hospitality chain for leased hotels, homes, and living spaces, saw a 57% higher click-through rate and a 60% higher conversion rate within their emails.
WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS OF AMP FOR EMAIL?
As with any new technology, there are always bugs and kinks to work out and room for improvement. Given that AMP for Email is not even a year old at the time this post will be published, there is still plenty margin of error. Currently, the limitations of AMP for Email include:
- It’s a new language to learn.
- Not all ESPs (email service providers) support it; it is currently only supported by Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook.com, and Mail.ru.
- AMP is only supported in Chrome and Firefox for desktop, and on the Gmail mobile apps on iOS and Android.
- The AMP code requires strict validation, falling back to the HTML version if you leave out any necessary markup.
- It’s lacking any email coding standards.
- Improvement in engagement within only the email means that there will likely be a decrease in website/app traffic.
- It basically decreases email speed because of all the rich content within the email.
HOW DO YOU GET STARTED WITH AMP FOR EMAIL?
Determine whether or not AMP will be beneficial for your brand. Are you ever-evolving? Not afraid to take risks and correct errors? Ready to learn a new language? Ready to be more interactive?
If you answered yes to any of these, or you just want to give AMP for Email a try, here’s how you can get started:
To use AMP for Email within Gmail, you must:
- Find and choose an ESP that supports AMP for Email. This list is currently limited to: Gmail, with support soon coming to Yahoo! Mail, Outlook.com, and Mail.ru.
- Build your emails to include AMP components or add AMP elements to one of your existing elements.
- Test your emails to ensure they have the required appearance and behavior.
- Get whitelisted and register with Google.
WHAT TOOLS AND RESOURCES ARE THERE TO USE WITH AMP FOR EMAIL?
While AMP for Email is a fairly new framework, the developer’s world is never lacking in tools and resources. The tools listed below can help you get started:
- Introduction to AMP
- Testing AMP Emails
- Registering with Google to Send Dynamic Emails
- GitHub Repository of AMPHTML Project
- AMP Playground
- Gmail AMP for Email Playground
- Previewing Your AMP-Powered Emails in Litmus
- Tools Recommended by AMP
- Creation and Design
We’ve said many times before that the world of email is always changing and progressing. From static to dynamic to interactive, the way email moves will always seem a touch futuristic. What’s important is that we, as marketers and developers, keep up with the future. AMP for Email is only the beginning.