bus in motion
The Google AMP project curbs HTML usage, restricts nearly all JavaScript and leverages the Google AMP Cache — all for the sake of speed. PHOTO: Scott Webb

“Instant. Everywhere.”

That’s how Google describes Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs), its very own open source project that is rapidly changing the mobile web.

Released exactly one year ago today, the Google AMP project curbs HTML usage, restricts nearly all JavaScript and leverages the Google AMP Cache — all for the sake of speed.

Major publishers like The New York Times and The Guardian worked closely with Google in the early stages of the project to be among the earliest adopters, and it was through such publications that we all first experienced the lightning speed of AMPs.

However, AMPs were never intended for the elites of publishing alone. 

Within weeks of the project’s release, the likes of WordPress, Drupal and Joomla unveiled their plugins and modules to bring AMP technology to the masses.

Today, one year after AMPs were released into the wild, it’s time to review just how much of an impact AMPs have had on the mobile browsing experience.

Google AMPs: The Numbers So Far

Google AMPs in their natural habitat.
Google AMPs in their natural habitat.

As far as the facts and figures go, the Google AMP project had a solid first year.

Here it is at a glance:

  1. Reddit: announced tens of millions of pages in AMP
  2. Bing: revised its iOS and Android app to support AMP
  3. eBay: applied AMP technology to 15 million product category pages
  4. Pinterest: unveiled AMP for all Pins

To dig a little deeper into the project’s debut year, CMSWire spoke to Adobe Analytics, which discovered that as of December 2016, top publishers within the United States were seeing 7 percent of all their traffic (across devices) coming through Google AMPs.

Adobe Analytics also found Google AMP traffic grew 405 percent between April and December 2016, with an 896 percent spike in November during the US election season.

"What we’re seeing is that on the one-year anniversary of Google’s efforts to speed up the mobile Web, many consumers have welcomed this technology as a fast and efficient way to access content on their mobile devices," said Trevor Paulsen, product manager at Adobe Analytics.

"Google has a vested interest in the Web given their core business, and their investment in AMP makes a lot of sense. But at an industry level, this technology truly does enhance how consumers access content on mobile devices; Facebook has a similar deployment with Instant Articles. Anybody who has tried Google AMP can attest to how smooth the experience is. And for a media company, this is what audiences are craving."

Washington Post — one of the earliest adopters of the Google AMP framework — reported a 23 percent increase in mobile search users who return within seven days. They also reported their AMPs were loading 88 percent faster compared to their traditional mobile content.

The current affairs magazine Slate also experienced a 44 percent increase in monthly unique visitors and a 73 percent increase in visits per visitor.

Google’s Craig DiNatali and Nitin Kashyap also published the results of a Google-led study focusing on AMP ads. The results showed more than 80 percent of the 150 publishers in the study realized higher viewability rates. Plus, more than 90 percent of the publishers experienced higher click-through rates.

Finally, if you’re wondering how well the masses have warmed to AMPs, it’s worth noting that the official WordPress AMP plugin boasts over 100,000 downloads — while all WordPress.com websites have AMP enabled by default.

What’s Next For Accelerated Mobile Pages?

A year is not a long time, but it’s all the Google AMP project needed to transform mobile experiences for the better. Simply put, mobile browsing has never been so fast.

But as the project moves into its second year, Google seems focused on more than just speed. "AMP is a technology to watch in the coming years and it is setting itself up to disrupt not only the mobile web for the media industry, but also the mobile web as a whole. If your company is ready to make the jump to AMP, make sure that measurement is front and center because success that can’t be measured is no success at all," Paulsen said.

According to the AMP roadmap, 2017 will be the year AMPs receive more engaging video experiences, image galleries and more advanced support for analytical tools.

Google also aims to make it easier for developers to build “well-styled” AMP pages.

One thing is for sure though: with AMPs now loading in less than one second on average, the Google AMP project has already set the bar pretty high.

In fact, it’s truly difficult to imagine a mobile browsing experience that could be any faster — but at this early stage in the development of AMPs, one can dream.