Improving URLs for AMP pages

TL;DR: We are making changes to how AMP works in platforms such as Google Search that will enable linked pages to appear under publishers’ URLs instead of the google.com/amp URL space while maintaining the performance and privacy benefits of AMP Cache serving.

When we first launched AMP in Google Search we made a big trade-off: to achieve the user experience that users were telling us that they wanted, instant loading, we needed to start loading the page before the user clicked. As we detailed in a deep-dive blog post last year,  privacy reasons make it basically impossible to load the page from the publisher’s server. Publishers shouldn’t know what people are interested in until they actively go to their pages. Instead, AMP pages are loaded from the Google AMP Cache but with that behavior the URLs changed to include the google.com/amp/ URL prefix.

We are huge fans of meaningful URLs ourselves and recognize that this isn’t ideal. Many of y’all agree. It is certainly the #1 piece of feedback we hear about AMP. We sought to ensure that these URLs show up in as few places as possible. Over time our Google Search native apps on Android and iOS started defaulting to showing the publishers URLs and we worked with browser vendors to share the publisher’s URL of an article where possible. We couldn’t, however, fix the state of URLs where it matters most: on the web and the browser URL bar.

We embarked on a multi-month long effort, and today we finally feel confident that we found a solution: As recommended by the W3C TAG, we intend to implement a new version of AMP Cache serving based on the emerging Web Packaging standard. Based on this web standard AMP navigations from Google Search can take advantage of privacy-preserving preloading and the performance of Google’s servers, while URLs remain as the publisher intended and the primary security context of the web, the origin, remains intact. We have built a prototype based on the Chrome Browser and an experimental version of Google Search to make sure it actually does deliver on both the desired UX and performance in real use cases. This step gives us confidence that we have a promising solution to this hard problem and that it will soon become the way that users will encounter AMP content on the web.

The next steps are moving towards fully implementing the new web standard in web browsers and in the Google AMP Cache. Our goal is that Web Packaging becomes available in as many browsers as possible (after all Web Packaging has exciting use cases beyond just AMP such as offline pages, ES6 module loading, and resource bundling). In particular, we intend to extend existing work on WebKit to include the implementation of Web Packaging and the Google Chrome team’s implementation is getting started.

We’re super excited about getting this work under way and we expect the changes to first reach users in the second half of 2018. Thanks for all of your feedback on the matter and we will keep you all updated on the progress right here in this blog!

Malte Ubl, Tech Lead for the AMP Project at Google.

Improving URLs for AMP pages

Supporting open source sustainability

Happy New Year everyone! We on the AMP team have a New Year’s resolution that we hope will be widely shared through the industry: We want to ensure the open source projects we depend on can be maintained in a way that is sustainable for their respective core teams.

As an open source project itself, AMP is fortunate to have the benefit of support from a full time team at Google, along with many more contributors backed by their respective employers. However, not every open source project has that type of financing to pay the bills, or they might actively seek out being independent of direct corporate financial support.

This is not a sustainable state for many open source projects—the authors and maintainers of those projects need to make a living. Thankfully projects such as Open Collective have started to provide an alternative model that allows users of open source projects to contribute financially to their work. We, the AMP project, want to be part of that solution.

Last summer AMP started making regular contributions to Babel. Today we are extending that support and pledging to make funds available to more projects that we depend on as they start to accept donations.

Starting in January, we’ll contribute with monthly recurring donations to Babel (which we heavily use in our development setup), Preact (which we are planning to use in future projects), and Webpack (because they are awesome and we use it in our AMP Start project).

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The AMP Project’s monthly contributions on Open Collective as of January 2017.

Please see the Open Collective pages of Babel, Preact and Webpack to become a backer yourself!

We are super excited about the opportunity to help out and are looking forward to supporting even more projects in the future. To a more sustainable open source financing model in 2018!

Malte Ubl, Tech Lead for the AMP project at Google.

Supporting open source sustainability

Twitter uses AMP to improve reading experience, enables publishers to understand their audience

Editor’s note: This post is authored by Ben Ward, Product Manager for AMP & Publisher Platform, Twitter. Read more about their support for AMP article analytics here.

Twitter sits at the heart of news, with millions of people using the service to stay updated about what’s happening in the world, right as it happens. An essential part of our mission to keep people informed is in the discovery and reading of news articles. We’ve embraced AMP as a tool to improve that experience for our users, and make our service better.

AMP launched with support for embedding Tweets, and now we’ve built out support for displaying AMP in our mobile clients on iOS, Android and on the web. When a link is Tweeted, Twitter now automatically discovers and displays the AMP editions of articles. In our testing, we’ve found that when people are shown the faster-rendering AMP editions of articles, they build a habit of reading even more articles via Twitter than those without AMP.

Last week we announced a major milestone of our AMP implementation, launching better support for article analytics. Now publishers are able to understand their audience views from Twitter when we render AMP. We’ve made changes that mean existing analytics tools will still record views even when we display the AMP edition of an article, and we’ve enabled AMP pages to access the social referral parameters added to links shared on Twitter.

We like AMP because its design encourages performant web publishing and mobile-centric design of articles. While in the past we’ve also experimented with “reader mode” features in browsers, we love that AMP gives publishers creative control over their content, ensuring that the web remains vibrant, varied and expressive, while also being fast. And of course, AMP natively supports existing advertising platforms, supporting the businesses of publishers who we want to excel on Twitter. As a project, it is developed in the open, welcoming of community contributions, and consumed by multiple independent services, which is well aligned with Twitter’s values.

You can learn about how Twitter uses the AMP editions of articles, and how to optimize your site for our analytics enhancements in our new AMP documentation on the Twitter developer site.

Twitter is using AMP to present news articles faster and more reliably, to better keep people informed of what matters to them, with an improved reading experience. We’re excited to see how publishers continue to embrace the technology, now equipped to understand the impact of Twitter on news audiences.

Posted by Ben Ward, Product Manager for AMP & Publisher Platform, Twitter

Twitter uses AMP to improve reading experience, enables publishers to understand their audience

The Total Economic Impact™ of AMP across publishers and e-commerce

Speed equals revenue on the web, especially mobile. In fact, studies have shown even 100ms delays in page load time correlate with lower conversion rates. To better understand the impact AMP can provide for mobile sites on speed and revenue, Google commissioned Forrester Consulting, a leading global research and advisory firm, to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ study across publishers and e-commerce websites using AMP.

To conduct the analysis, Forrester interviewed 4 web companies who have been utilizing the AMP format. Based on the results observed by the sites interviewed, Forrester created a model to project the expected return from implementing AMP over a three year period. Using the model, a website with 4 million site visits monthly and a 10% profit margin would expect to win back the costs of implementing AMP and begin to see positive gains in less than 6 months.

summary graph

Some of the topline results from the study:

  • 20% increase in sales conversion rate. A/B testing conducted by the two e-commerce websites interviewed for this study demonstrated a 20% increase in the conversion rate on their AMP pages, which would drive over $200K in annual profit, based on the Forrester model.
  • 10% year-over-year increase in AMP site traffic. An increase in site traffic results in additional sales and ad views, which would drive over $75K in annual profit for a site in the first year, based on the model.
  • 60% increase in pages per visit. AMP pages performed positively for e-commerce and news publishers who both said that there was a 60% increase in people coming to the site and those people spent twice as long on the site with a small increase in return visitors of 0.3%.

AMP is still a relatively new format, and while there are costs associated with adopting it, the pay-off greatly outweighs that initial outlay. Specifically Forrester’s model found that a site with 4M visitors monthly implementing AMP could expect benefits of $1,005,447 over three years, against a total investment of $210,827, yielding a 377% ROI.

summary table

You can read the full study here, detailing the outcomes for both content and e-commerce websites. Enabling the creation of profitable, user-friendly websites for publishers and merchants is a core objective of the AMP Project. We are excited to see these results demonstrating the business viability of creating great user experiences on the web with the open-source AMP format.

Posted by Lisa Wang, Product Manager, AMP Project

The Total Economic Impact™ of AMP across publishers and e-commerce

An AMP Paywall and Subscription Model for All Publishers

The following was posted on LaterPay’s Blog by Cosmin Ene, CEO, LaterPay.

A majority of mobile users will not wait longer than 3 seconds for a page to load before moving on, creating a marked decline in revenue for sites that load slowly. It’s this desire for speed and convenience on both the user and publisher’s part that spurred Google and others to spearhead the creation of the AMP Project (Accelerated Mobile Pages), an open source project designed to improve the mobile browsing experience by generating static content pages that render at lightning speed.

Publishers – aware of user’s shift to mobile, their desire for rapid access to content, and the fact that Google accounts for as much as 40 percent of referral traffic – have widely jumped on board and adopted the project’s code to develop AMP pages.

Monetizing AMP

As the open platform has evolved through integration with third party services – growing from 2 vendors at launch to 120 today – so too have monetization strategies for AMP. Adding paywall and subscription support has always been a top priority within the AMP community. However, no out-of-box solution existed for publishers lacking the resources to adapt their in-house paywall and subscription model to work in the AMP specification.

To empower quality journalism and support the efforts of publishers to monetize their content, LaterPay has leveraged AMP’s ability to integrate with third party services to develop a component that allows all publishers to easily include a paywall and subscription model, as well as a paygate which allows monetization of single purchases through LaterPay in their AMP monetization strategy. Called AMP Access LaterPay, the component integrates LaterPay directly into publisher’s AMP pages.

The Need for Speed

LaterPay is the industry’s first on-platform payment infrastructure designed to increase user conversion rates by offering immediate, frictionless access to paid content or services. The patented model offers the speed and convenience vital to content monetization. A slow, cumbersome registration and payment process instead of getting the desired content right away is likely to discourage users and adversely impact revenue.

A typical registration and payment process can take upward of 3 minutes to complete. LaterPay’s model reduces this important first purchasing decision to less than 10 seconds for 78% of users. This is achieved by removing the upfront registration and payment process – which derails over 98% of all payments – so content providers can start monetizing their assets immediately. LaterPay’s integration with AMP further streamlines the process to 3 seconds on average.

When browsing paid content, users are prompted with a number of purchasing options – as shown below – predetermined by the publisher. For instance, publishers can prompt users to purchase a specific article, a time pass, or a full subscription.

LaterPay_Image_Article_Daily_Weekly_Sub
LaterPay – daily/weekly subscription mask

Alternatively, publishers can customize their offering and forgo certain options such as time passes.

LaterPay_Image_Article_Sub

LaterPay article subscription mask

Users make their selection quickly and begin to accumulate a running tab based on the content they consume. Purchased content is aggregated and consumers are only prompted to register and pay once they hit the threshold of $5 or €5. LaterPay streamlines the registration process as well by enabling users to sign up using their Facebook or Google+ login information, rather than creating a new account.

By deferring registration and payment until users reach the threshold, LaterPay has been show to increase the user’s propensity to pay (with currently 75.5% registering and paying once reaching the threshold.) Further, by providing content providers with multiple options for monetization, publishers can more effectively convert users and take advantage of the vast space between ads and subscriptions.

AMP Integration

If you are new to AMP, get started with understanding what AMP is, and with building your first AMP page.

If you have already built your website using AMP:

  1. Get a LaterPay account.
  2. Follow the documentation on the AMP Access LaterPay page for integrating the component into your pages.
  3. Follow the Connector documentation on how to configure Connector (be aware that the same kind of in page configuration via meta tags as in Connector is not supported)

About LaterPay

LaterPay is a SaaS payment infrastructure specifically created to enable “on platform” monetization. The patented solution provides a frictionless way to convert users into paying customers without upfront registration or payment. With LaterPay, customers are able to generate incremental revenues that complement subscription and ad models. By deferring registration and payment until users reach a $5* threshold, and by aggregating purchases across websites and devices, LaterPay increases the user’s propensity to pay and reaches unprecedented conversion rates. LaterPay offers a variety of optional revenue models including Time Passes and Subscriptions. Please visit LaterPay.net to learn more.

The above was posted on LaterPay’s Blog by Cosmin Ene, CEO, LaterPay.

An AMP Paywall and Subscription Model for All Publishers

AMP Conf 2018: Turning Amsterdam into AMPsterdam

Last year over 300 developers came together to learn and share about the latest in AMP at AMP Conf in NYC. Since then we’ve had many new developments and uses of AMP emerge, from e-commerce functionality, to building canonically with AMP, to using AMP pages within a Progressive Web App. To share all the latest and get input on the future of the project, the AMP team decided it was time to hold the next AMP Conf.

With that, we’re thrilled to invite you to join the AMP team and community at AMP Conf 2018 in Amsterdam on February 13th and 14thAt AMP Conf 2.0, our core focus will be centered around UX excellence, and how to use AMP to build amazing sites (not just pages!). So expect CSS talks focused on how to achieve more with less JS, more applied knowledge around AMP components, and possibly even live coding (gasp!). And as with last year there will be plenty of time to connect with the AMP team to ask questions and share input on the project. The specific speaker line up will be announced in the coming month.

And this year, the AMP team wants to hear from even more of the community, so we invite you to submit a talk for consideration. Share the most interesting things you’ve done with AMP, your challenges with AMP in production, or even topics that aren’t about AMP but relate to building AMP pages, like how to utilize the best CSS has to offer.

The event will take place all day on February 13th and 14th, so be sure to register and mark your calendars. And for anyone who is not able to make it in person, we’ll be live streaming the content on the AMP YouTube channel. More details on the specific venue soon, but we’re excited to see everyone in AMPsterdam.

Posted by Matt Ludwig, AMP Project Marketing Lead, Google

AMP Conf 2018: Turning Amsterdam into AMPsterdam

AMP: Two years of user-first webpages

It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since publishers and platforms came together to launch the open source Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project. Speed and user experience remain more important than ever across the web, with 53% of mobile site visits abandoned for pages taking longer than 3 seconds to load. In two years we’ve seen the project grow from a few launch partners to over 25 million website domains that have published more than 4 billion AMP pages. And not only has the number of pages built with AMP grown, their speed has too. The median time it takes an AMP page to load from Google search is less than half a second. And while we’re thrilled with the impact of AMP so far, there’s more work to be done together.

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More users, more engagement, more revenue

After two years of websites creating over 4 billion AMP pages, we now have a concrete understanding of their effect on speed, engagement and revenue. A soon to be published Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact™ study (commissioned by Google) found that AMP leads to a 10% increase in website traffic with a 2x increase in time spent on page. For e-commerce websites using AMP, the study also found a 20% increase in sales conversions compared to non-AMP pages.

scratch-amp_export-2-e1508431720311.png

The full study will be published in the coming weeks, but it marks the third independent research study that has found that publishers and e-commerce websites are driving more engagement and revenue with AMP.

Continue reading “AMP: Two years of user-first webpages”

AMP: Two years of user-first webpages