How does… Google’s AMP for email work?

We've been asking some of the industry's most knowledgable boffins to use their knowledge to help you through those confusing meetings and indecipherable conferences. Here, Orange Line's Bruno Rodriguez explains how Google's AMP for email works.

In February, Google announced accelerated mobile pages (AMP) for email in an attempt to forever change the way email marketing operates. Simply put, AMP is a technology designed by Google for making websites load faster.

Since 2016, websites with AMP have seen performance improvements and received more SEO traffic from Google. Despite a costly implementation and set-up, sites that rely on SEO and mobile traffic have embraced AMP.

What does AMP for email mean?

By bringing AMP to emails, Google wants to make them interactive. For example, users will be able to directly interact with their emails including social networks, RSVPing to an event, rating an experience or a product, filling out a lead generation questionnaire, interacting with web apps, browsing an online store and changing their email subscription directly from their email, without the need to open new tabs or windows.

Some brands are already experimenting with AMP for email. One example show users interacting with Pinterest by browsing the social network and clicking images, adding pins and tagging them. Booking.com shows users interacting with an image carousel, refreshing the latest offers and changing the email subscription options and an example from Doodle shows a user choosing the best date for an event and then adding it to the calendar, again, all from the email window.

As a result, the increased potential of email for offering rich online experiences throughout the funnel and increased tracking capabilities means the value of brand’s email databases is likely to increase.

But there are limitations.

At the moment, only Gmail has announced compatibility with the new system. Gmail is the second most popular email client in the world making up 26% of all email openings. While that number is significant, Google will have to enlist other industry players such as Apple and Microsoft for it to become mainstream.

AMP for email also comes with its own set of technical challenges. This includes the requirement of a new multipurpose internet mail extension (MIME) and a new development language that is very strict on validation and goes against some of the foundations of current email development.

The initiative has also been criticised by some as a yet another attempt by Google to extend its influence and control over other organisations’ content. Publishers across the globe are engaged in a battle with the tech giant over being left out of pocket by Google for the content they produce, and while it now appears to be making concessions, there is a fear amongst some that email could be next to be targeted.

While it might take some time until Google can reach critical mass and the technology is streamlined across other providers, brands should be aware of what AMP for email means and the fundamental way it could change the nature of email and its value as a marketing channel.

Brands that are big or innovative enough to justify experimentation might want to sign up for the Gmail Developer Preview in order to start playing around with it. For others, a wait and see approach maybe more appropriate. But judging by the fast adoption of AMP for websites, AMP for email is likely to become a reality, so no marketer that engages in email marketing can afford not to be aware of what’s coming down the pipe.

Bruno Rodriguez is senior SEO manager at Orange Line.


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