The pace of change in the digital world is intense and faster than ever. Groundbreaking developments that were the perfect solution for problems several years ago are now, for the most part, obsolete. Those that still matter today have gone through a staggering amount of changes and updates and hardly resemble the initial product anymore. In this ever-evolving environment, email and the technology behind it has been extremely slow.
This is where Google AMP wants to step in and revolutionize the industry.
What is AMP for email?
AMP Email enables the reader to take simple actions directly within the framework of the email itself.
This technology allows for email marketers to integrate interactive elements like confirmation and purchase buttons, calendar appointments, product carousels, and accordions into the email. It also lets users interact with content without needing to leave their email client – no more pop-up windows or forced website visits.
All in all, this technology makes your email look and feel like an app, or rather app-like.
The real promise behind AMP for email is that it will turn the old-fashioned mail into an engaging surface on which you can actually get things done.
How does AMP for email work?
Before AMP, an email only consisted of two parts: a plain text version and an HTML version. Now, with AMP, a third component is added to the mix – the AMP version of an email.
For marketers and developers, supporting this format should be pretty straight-forward, especially if prior experience building AMP pages exist.
These messages will still include standard HTML as a backup. Whenever you send an email, the AMP version of the mail will be served to readers using an email client that supports AMP, whereas an HTML or plain text version will appear for any email clients that do not support AMP.
Advantages of AMP for email – what is the point?
No matter what the naysayers say about email marketing, the numbers show that it isn’t close to dying. With over 293 billion emails sent daily in 2019 and a forecast of 347 billion by the end of 2023, we find it safe to say that email is still very alive!
Over the last decade, the explosive evolvement of social media and mobile have been jaw-dropping. Despite the hype given to some of these technological innovations, email remains one of the most effective tools to communicate with clients and subscribers.
However, one must admit that this medium of communication has become somewhat competitive and engaging the consumer via email is becoming harder than ever before.
That’s where AMP can possibly come to the rescue. AMP is a great venture for businesses looking to generating a higher ROI and driving business growth. And who isn’t?
Up until now, email content is, for the most part, very static. Besides reading, watching or clicking through, a user’s engagement with the content is relatively limited.
AMP for email transforms a fixed document-like mail into an experience close to that of a website. For example, an AMP email will let your subscribers browse your products, book an appointment and click through questionnaires straight from their mailbox.
There is no more need to click on a link and go on to an external website. Hence, increasing the chance of the recipient actually interacting with the email and taking action.
Here are some of the major benefits marketers can reap from including AMP in email:
Content is always up-to-date
A major drawback of the conventional email is that its shelf life is extremely short. Once an email is sent out, the content within is static and cannot be modified. Marketers work against this trend by continuously sending out emails to supply their subscribers with updated links, resources, and the latest information.
AMP for email is changing this game dramatically. Content can now be refreshed in real-time, which will allow you to provide readers with the most up-to-date information. Think about all the beautiful things you can do with a tool that will enable you to change and tweak an already sent email.
Decrease ecommerce cart abandonment
AMP email allows for customers to go through the entire purchasing process directly within the email without ever having to go to a separate landing page – significantly reducing cart abandonment rates.
Given that 28% of potential customers completely abandon their carts because of a complicated checkout process, simply removing this factor can potentially increase your conversion rates by a significant margin..
AMP for email can change the overall feel and layout of a traditionally rigid design. Elements such as a carousel for product display or media, accordions for hiding different sections and a lightbox for images can potentially transform an email into a pleasant looking and delightful user-experience.
Other great elements one can use to display email in a new way:
– AMP-sidebar: Great for ease of navigation
– AMP-fit-text: embed text within a specific area with ease
– AMP-timeago: conveniently render timestamps
Disadvantages, risks and limitations
Of course, AMP for email will have its disadvantages and limitations. Here are some of the most striking ones:
You will need to learn AMP for email coding
If you think about it, AMP emails are nothing else than a microsite or a basic landing page. Hence, developing a Google AMP email will require close to as much creation and testing time as a landing page, and in some cases, even more development time, as there are more email clients than web browsers.
Also, to actually make use of all of AMP’s capabilities, the email marketer will have to learn it’s very own content, layout and media tags. So, it could potentially take up a lot of development resources to create a fully functioning AMP email – especially your very first one.
You will give more control to Google over your email marketing program
A potentially crucial negative aspect for some marketers is that if you use Google AMP for email, you might not get around using its in-house analytics tools. This inevitably could put you at Google’s mercy on which analytics and email marketing metrics you will be able to access. Besides Google’s obvious head start introducing AMP empowered emails, people never leaving an email to take action on a website will change how performance is measured. Platforms that have created their own and unique analytic environments will have to rely on data served by Google or some of the few email clients that support AMP.
Google’s motivation behind creating AMP for email has also been widely questioned and criticized.
As we all know, Google makes most of its money by collecting valuable user-data and then selling ad-space to customers wanting to target those customers. Skeptics have criticized Google, saying that AMP for mail is just one more way to monopolize this value chain and create more sellable ad-space.
It requires a new MIME type that has to be written
As mentioned previously, email as we have known it consisted of two MIME type parts: plain text and HTML. In order to incorporate AMP for email, you will have to write a third MIME type part.
Only this way, if an email client can not read the AMP MIME part, it can fall back to HTML or, if necessary, back to the plain text type.
Very few email service providers support this new MIME-type
Not only will you have to write a third MIME part for the email, but the email service provider will have to be able to accept and send that part. Falling short of that and you won’t be able to use AMP for email.
As of now, only a few ESPs support AMP, though the list is growing (more on that below).
The sender must maintain a positive Gmail sending reputation
If you wish to send out AMP empowered emails, you will have to be whitelisted by Gmail and only send emails through supported ESPs. This is in place to keep malicious senders from sending AMP for email to trick readers into handing over sensitive information.
Remember, each email address will require an application for whitelisting and also has to be a live email with AMP HTML content.
Which email service providers currently support AMP for email creation (data from amp.dev)
- Adobe Campaign Classic
- Amazon Pinpoint
- Amazon Simple Email Service
- Cheetah Digital
- Elastic Email
- Mapp Cloud
- Twilio Sendgrid
Email clients that currently support AMP for email
- Yahoo Mail
The future of AMP for email
AMP being an open-source technology makes it all the more likely to be supported by most email clients and ESPs soon.
The truth, however, is that nobody knows how well this technology will perform. As with every new development, one will need to consider and assess the true marketing use first. With limited data to work with, this might still take some time.