Sunny Madrid, 14 November, 09:38 AM. I arrive at the lounge where the excitement about the upcoming event was already picking up speed.
There’s coffee smell in the air and everyone seems eager to find out where AMP, what one may say is the most exciting thing that has happened to the mobile web since the first iPhone, is headed. A minute or two before the keynote starts, we grab a seat in a spacious room and a bunch of us get ready to tweet the discoveries which are bound to make user experience on the mobile web consistently good.
Accelerated Mind-blowing Pages
Paul Bakaus it off with exciting numbers that everyone who’s dealt with AMP has seen, but still has a hard time believing. Seeing how much of an impact on conversions AMP has in huge websites like AliExpress and Wego gets every marketer’s heart racing. A 4% uplift in conversion on one of the biggest e-commerce websites and a 49% increase in search-to-conversion rates for the Singapore-based travel search engine are exceptional results given the how optimized these websites are already.
Then an important reminder. The fact that we can put a rubber chicken on a pizza does not mean that this is a good idea. It’s something that I’ve been trying to sneak into conversations with customers that are looking to redesign their websites. I too think we shouldn’t cram everything in a website. The decision of what to include should be taken seriously, ideally with some data to help make it informed. Websites should have just enough features to serve their function and remain as snappy as possible.
Fast, User-friendly, Beautiful, and Responsive
The second panel continued with further examples of the adaptive nature of responsive AMP elements and how well they can fit all screen sizes. From essential building blocks of the responsive web like images to iframes and fitting text – things which are sometimes hard to pull off correctly. We got a demo of how combinations of several AMP elements can be used to create a gallery with pop-up images and even the love-it-or-hate-it parallax effect.
This is where the magic happens. As I was preparing for the event, this was the panel that I was most looking forward to. I won’t get too technical, but the interactive AMP elements are the ones doing all the heavy lifting on the front end and making it work so efficiently it’s almost too easy. Despite Lisa Wang’s panel being more or less focused on e-commerce websites, quite a few of the features she highlighted are also crucial for lead-gen websites. Keep an eye out for the new Hop Online AMP website and see if you can spot any 😉
AMP in the Wild
The subtitle of Ben Morss‘ panel reads “The good, the bad, and the ugly.” It’s not just the Oxford comma that got me excited here. The critical overview presented by Ben brought up important points that are crucial for successful AMP implementation. Some of the points, like handling CSS, concern not just the AMP converters that are becoming more and more popular, but also the way developers package their styles.
Generate, optimize, validate, measure, distribute. This is the stairway to production and I can’t agree more. AMP implementation shouldn’t be a one-time thing. Not measuring performance and making changes according to the results is reckless and can lead to a lot of missed opportunities.
Making Money with AMP
This was when all the publishers in the crowd started listening carefully. Ben’s second talk highlighted the many advantages of AMP websites monetizing their content with ads. Disruption, slow loading times, safety concerns are replaced with set dimensions, ad separation, and content prioritization to make sure everything runs smoothly on the users’ side.
Higher CTRs for 90% of the publishers and higher visibility for 70% sounds tempting, right? Now take into consideration that with AMP you are very likely not only to reap the financial benefits, but also to provide better UX to your users.
Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice
Alan Orozco kicks off his panel with the shocking number of 0 which happens to be how many apps users install on average in a month. The cure? Progressive Web Apps.
And AMP has a role to play here, too. Alan spoke about different approaches to serving PWA with AMP. From serving a PWA version of your main website from AMP pages, to even serving the AMP version itself as a PWA, Alan explained it all. With the (not so) dark powers of Shadow DOM, it’s all possible. He even demonstrated how to do it in an hour. Scratch that. In 5 minutes!
The Future of AMP
It’s bright! We got a sneek peak at what’s coming and, honestly, I can’t wait to start working with it. To get you as excited about this as I am, I’ll just say that I won’t be surprised if we see an AMP version of YouTube. A lot of awesome features that deal with media and layouts are coming, but AMP is evolving on the back end, too. The news about experimenting with server-side rendering of AMP made me giggle with delight.
17:00, the conference has ended. Despite the opportunity for us to talk to the AMP Roadshow speakers and other guests, one can feel the eagerness to fiddle with what we’ve learned today.
It’s now time to walk around vibrant Madrid and then catch an early morning flight back to Hop Online HQ in Sofia.