Email has been around since the 1970s – originally it was just text, then HTML and as an email marketer, the majority of emails sent have images, links and
some have interactive elements, these are all thanks to HTML.
AMP for Email is a new type, along with HTML and text, that can be used to send great content to your audience. We are going to break down what AMP is, how
it works, what you can do with it and the starting point to share with your email team.
First, we can explain a little bit about AMP – it is a markup language and framework that was created by Google, that’s aim was to make surfing the internet on mobile phones quicker, easier and using less data. AMP is an acronym for Accelerated Mobile Pages, using specific components created to be as light on data as possible, web developers could create pages perfect for mobile experiences.
Accelerated Mobile Pages grew in popularity, mainly due to Google prioritising it’s use in search results. All the news articles shared just below the search bar would be AMP – marked with the small lightning symbol.
To get this preferential and grab the top spot in search results was enough to persuade a large number of publishers and ecommerce brands to redevelop their whole web page, just for Google.
This has recently been challenged in European court and Google can no longer give preferential treatment based on using their technology, but Accelerated Mobile Pages had grown in popularity so much that it was a widely used technology and for some a specialism.
In 2018 – Google announced that it would be bringing a slimmed down version of AMP to email.
Google no longer manages Accelerated Mobile Pages and it is maintained by open source contributors like much of the web. Google hosts files for AMP on it’s servers allowing global use of the technology for free, some say this could have an impact if Google wanted to stop allowing its use or change it.
Back in 2010 they tried ‘Enhanced Email’ which included a carousel. They also have some added extras in the inbox currently using the schema.org elements, the most visible is Gmail Annotations.
When you send an email it is made up of different types of files, called MIME types. Most marketing emails have a HTML version and a text version. When someone gets your email, depending on their settings and the email client they use to read your email will depend on which type they see, either text or HTML. AMP is another MIME type, importantly you need to have all three versions in order to send an AMP email, so when you send an AMP email, you still need to have created a HTML and text version to go with it.
Unlike most static email designs, Accelerated Mobile Pages takes advantage of pre-built components that can be styled to match your brand and designs and bring interactivity to your email.
Pre-built components include: Carousels, Accordions, Forms, Countdown timer. Along with these components AMP comes with a templating language and list component to dynamically add content – such as a shop page, search results and much more.
AMP can use information from your website or using other sites APIs – this is where the real power of AMP comes, with the ability to show up to date information, latest products or news and pretty much anything you can think of. This is not something current emails do and when creating this type of email you will need to work with your web team to join everything up.
The amp.dev website is a great place to go to learn more about what AMP4Email can do technically.
As it is another way to create emails, and is relatively new, not all Email Service Providers (ESPs) have enabled the ability to send AMP emails. This is also reflected in email teams, as with all new tech, it takes time to be adopted, with all the normal work an email marketer has to do and even the email developer and designers, may not have had the chance to learn how to design and make AMP emails.
As I mentioned above, not all ESPs currently support sending AMP emails, listed below are the current ESPs that do:
For the most up to date list, visit the AMP support page.
If your ESP isn’t on the list, check with them to see if they have it on the roadmap or are planning to support it soon.
Along with making sure your ESP sends it, it is worth talking to your email design and development team and see if any have worked on it, along with your
Before you apply you will need to ensure a few things are set up and you meet some requirements:
1 The domain that you use for mailings has a site with a logo and information about the company. The subject matter of the site corresponds to the mailings content.
2 SPF, DKIM, DMARC are set for the domain. DMARC policy is set in "blocking" mode: p=quarantine or p=reject.
3 You've been sending emails with a valid DKIM for no less than 3 months.
4 You've been sending emails with a valid DKIM for no less than 3 months.
5 An unsubscribe link is present in your email.
6 Low rate of spam complaints for you email domain.
7 The domain is registered with the specific email clients.
8 All registrations require you to send a production quality AMP email, along with a corresponding HTML and text MIME type, with no bugs,
One email that got a lot of attention recently was the Google Pixel Buds email with a working shopping cart.
The team at Google Nest utilised the AMP features to create a form that could be dynamically filled in with different colors of Pixel Buds and add them to a cart, before going to the website to complete the purchase. Along with the AMP version, they also created a HTML interactive version that allowed you to choose a different color to see how they looked.
By allowing users to add in the requirements for a credit card, within the email and return the results, they can do all this without leaving the email.
Google spoke to two of the first adopters of AMP, Doodle and Pinterest about how they had used the added components available in AMP:
Another case study is Babylon health, the above examples use the dynamic content capability of AMP to bring mini app like interactions to email. Babylon used AMP to bring the interactivity that was possible in Apple Mail and viewing in browser to more email clients by utilising AMP.
All of the above examples showed an increase in engagement from subscribers when using interactive elements, whether that was Accelerated Mobile Pages or HTML.
The amp.dev website has all the information from how to register with all the email clients, to latest ESP support and a beginners tutorial on how to code an AMP email.
As with all interactive and advanced email techniques, the most important aspect is ensuring it will bring added value to the recipient. Good content, the right message and personalisation are important, adding interactivity should be the icing on the cake!
AMP for Email is still a growing technology, as email marketers continue to experiment with it, more details will come out about the successes. In order to send an AMP email there are a lot of steps, from ESP support, meeting the AMP guidelines and getting whitelisted in different email clients, designing and developing an interactive email where it may not have been done before and you may need to outsource for support.
But all of the current case studies show an improvement in ROI with interactive email, including AMP and by reducing friction for users by allowing them to take actions in email and see higher results.