Everything Publishers Need to Know About AMP For Email

Publishers are always looking for the best tools and solutions for their content. And, love it or hate it, email has stood the test of time. If you’re talking e-commerce lead generation and conversion, it’s played an enormous role in connecting brands with users who need them. This article discusses AMP emails and how email publishers can learn to milk the technology for all it’s worth.

Email publishers sensed opportunity and urgency after Google announced the testing of AMP content in Gmail. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. The breath of fresh air from publishers was because Google’s announcement breathed new life into email by addressing some of the biggest concerns about this communication channel. Many of these issues border on including dynamic elements within email to match what visitors find on a typical website. They say the devil’s in the details, so let’s dive in.

  • AMP for Email: The Basics

Within a few short years, Google Accelerated Mobile Pages format had redefined web pages in terms of speed and performance. Would it be possible to bring the same experience to email and offer a more robust email solution? Google was willing to try. Thankfully, they delivered AMP for email, a dynamic-first technology that allows users to fill out forms, browse product catalogs, swipe through carousels, make purchases, and complete actions from their inbox that were only available on websites.

Users would love the experience, but publishers can now update email content even after it has arrived in subscriber inboxes. Indeed, Google is up to something, and publishers will receive great benefit from it.

Right off the bat, several heavyweight email clients, including Gmail, Mail.ru, Outlook.com, and Yahoo Mail, made varying commitments to the AMP for Email project.

AMP emails are different from regular emails by content. AMP features a text/x-amp-html MIME part in your email’s MIME tree. The official AMP for Email documentation provides plenty of information about this MIME type.

Any publisher can send AMP emails. That is, anyone can use this novel technology. Besides, it’s open-source, so you can tweak it as you want and contribute to making the project better for everyone.

However, sending an AMP email requires Google’s approval. That might be a drawback for some publishers. But that’s a subject for another post.

Using AMP for Email does not mean you can use every AMP component in email. There is an inbox-specific subset that publishers can use to create the content they want.

When recipients are forwarding AMP emails, they need to remember that email clients will remove the AMP MIME part for Reply or Forward actions. Therefore, it’s essential to provide fallback content in the spirit of graceful degradation.

While AMP for Email has obvious potential for marketers, publishers seem to have a different animal to tame.

Publishers have not seemed to have a pleasant experience with AMP. The most significant issues are those of branding and interference. AMP pages replaced original URLs with a google.com/amp variant. Such is never desirable. Is this the case with AMP emails? Not exactly, but there are other concerns that publishers share about AMP.

AMP allows users to do a lot within an email. But, publishers want the readers to visit their site. It’s a core goal for effective monetization of the lead.

Adopting AMP for Email means publishers need to do a radical reassessment of their business models. AMP ad components are unsupported in AMP for Email. This approach sorely limits the ability of publishers to grow their revenues as AMP-backed content allows on websites.

Besides, newsletters serve different functions and each publisher and each recipient. Some readers want news content in one neat capsule, while others share stories by forwarding them. The secondary recipient will not see the right content when the client strips the AMP MIME part of the email.

A critical characteristic of the modern audience is that they like things more accessible, and AMP for Email can achieve that. However, will your AMP efforts as a publisher actually do that?

  • Important Considerations for Publishers Thinking of Using AMP for Email

Here are a few things to consider before jumping on the AMP for Email bandwagon.

  • Do you have what it takes to develop AMP emails?

Would you be willing to build two versions of each email? It’s essentially what AMP emails require because of the additional MIME part that AMP requires. Is this something you’re willing to do for the long haul?

  • Are you clear on the goals for your email program?

Do you want to build website traffic or grow revenue? Or, do you want both traffic and revenue? Maybe you only want to sustain the user’s awareness about your brand. Whatever your goals are, you need to align them with the possibilities available to you via AMP. We assume it’d be important to you not to lose onsite ad revenue.

  • What client does your audience read email on?

Client support for AMP emails is still scarce. In fact, some clients will never support AMP (it’s a lot of work!). If your AMP-ready audience is not yet a critical mass, you might as well consider waiting until they are to justify the effort.

  • What makes your audience use email for news?

Newsletters allow a reader to digest news quickly and promptly forward it to others. A dynamic AMP email could upset the delicate balance for your audience.

  • Review your email content plan.

There should be solid and non-emotional reasons why you should build AMP emails. However, AMP content needs to contribute to the value of your audience’s email experience. Otherwise, you might try a different and more rewarding strategy.

4 Ways Publishers Can Use AMP for Email

AMP for Email is attractive, but it’s a tricky piece of technology. As a publisher, you need to use it in a way that supplements or reinforces your current business model. Here are a few ways to do this.

  • Include it as a benefit for paying members.

AMP emails require much effort. It’s advisable to make them part of a paid product, especially as universal support is still a long way off.

  • Marketing.

Beyond filling out forms from the inbox, AMP forms may serve business purposes such as event registration and so forth.

  • Alerts for breaking news

Sharing news as it beaks is a way to sustain audience attention. AMP allows updating emails after sending, so this function can help improve the story while the reader follows from their inbox. Use this if it’s more effective than trying to woo the subscriber to your website.

  • Managing email preferences.

Setting email preferences within an email can convince readers to try a different communication channel instead of opting out of all interactions with the brand.

  • Conclusion

AMP for Email is growing, and Google (along with its partners) is doing all it can to increase awareness and adoption of its unique email technology. The prospects are exciting for everyone. While marketers are raving about AMP emails’ potential, publishers have much to benefit from it. It takes a good mix of creativity, ingenuity, and patience to work out a successful business model.

Christophe Rude
Christophe Rude
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