AMP for Email seems to have become the hot topic of late with Google announcing they will be rolling out support for their ‘dynamic email’ feature to all users as of July 2nd. This is exciting news for marketers as it means they can now start sending interactive content to their subscribers – direct to the Inbox. With all the recent hype surrounding AMP for Email, we thought we’d investigate it a bit further to see what all the fuss is about.
What exactly is AMP for Email?
Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP for short, is an open source technology developed by Google back in 2015. It was initially created to speed up the loading time of web pages on mobile devices. Over a year ago in February 2018, Google launched AMP for Email. This made it possible to include AMP components inside emails, allowing the user to interact with dynamic content directly in the message. It basically gives you the ability to bring interactive elements to life within email, giving the user a more app or webpage-like experience.
Google’s AMP for Email site explains:
“More than 270 billion emails are sent every day, it is the pillar of many consumer and enterprise workflows. However, the content that is sent in an email message is still limited – messages are static, can become out of date, and are not actionable without opening a browser. AMP email seeks to enhance and modernize the email experience through added support for dynamic content and interactivity while keeping users safe.”
Originally, AMP for Email was only supported in Gmail, but more recently, Outlook.com, Yahoo! Mail and Mail.ru announced plans to start supporting it later this year. Litmus have also partnered with Gmail to support AMP in their email previews.
So what are the benefits of using AMP for Email?
For the user
There are many exciting benefits. Here’s some of the main ones:
- You can browse and interact with content directly in the email e.g. a gallery of photos for a hotel room, without needing to be redirected to the website.
- Information is bang up to date – you’ll be able to receive the latest news story or weather report – in real time!
- It allows you to quickly take action within the email – RSVP to an event, reply to a comment on a Google Doc, leave a review or give feedback, fill out a quick questionnaire etc.
- You can easily update your email preferences or unsubscribe without leaving the email.
- More secure – with AMP there are no arbitrary 3rd party features involved which means you’re less open to any potential security issues. No ad components are allowed in either, meaning you won’t be bombarded with unwanted content.
And the downsides?
- If your email provider doesn’t support AMP, you’ll receive the static HTML version, which means you’ll miss out on all the fun interactive stuff.
- It could be confusing if you’re not aware of the email being dynamic. What if you open an email 2 or 3 days later and suddenly discover that all the content has changed!
For the marketer
- Increased personalisation – able to create more engaging content for the customer which can be updated on the fly – this includes any mistakes you may have made!
- Better user experience for your customers – they don’t have to keep going back and forth from the email to the website for example.
- Easier to incorporate interactive elements – many ‘out of the box’ components to choose from such as carousels, accordions or animations which can be easily modified.
- No need to have your developers code a separate form/landing page which will take the user away from the email onto a web page, saving time and cost.
- Will make render testing much easier – less hoops to jump through to try get everything working across different email clients.
- Lack of ESP support – only possible to send AMP based emails if your ESP supports a third MIME-type.
- Only available in limited email clients – still could be a long way to go before it’s supported in more places.
- Have to create a separate MIME part therefore need to have 3 different files for 1 email, which in essence requires more work.
- Need to use AMP specific coding which is yet another new coding language for your developers to learn.
- The code needs to be 100% valid and has a strict set of rules you need to adhere to otherwise it won’t send.
- If you keep dynamically changing the content, you could confuse your subscribers, which might make them suspicious and lose their trust in you.
Is there a future for AMP for Email?
It seems that AMP for Email is certainly grabbing the attention of those in the email industry. With the news that support for it is now branching out beyond Gmail, could spark more interest from other ESP’s. Plus, with some big named brands such as Pinterest, Booking.com and Doodle showcasing some of the really cool emails they created at an AMP for Email conference last year, we could see more marketers jumping on the band wagon.
Some critics have blasted AMP for Email, such as an article posted on Techcrunch warning that AMP is “Google exerting its market power to extend its control over others’ content”. Others think it’s unnecessarily trying to make email more complicated than it needs to be. We know email hasn’t moved on in decades – it serves as a simple purpose and it’s been doing that successfully for years, so why change it to start doing something it’s not been designed to do in the first place?
Then again, maybe it’s about time email stepped up a gear and came out of the dark ages. It certainly seems that marketers are excited about its potential and seeing how far they can push the boundaries of email. It’s still early days and there’s a long road ahead before we’ll see AMP for Email becoming mainstream, but with the right level of support and backing from more ESP’s, they could be onto something big.