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Accelerated Mobile Pages provide mobile visitors coming to your website from searches with lightning-fast load times and a consistently good experience. While many if not most policy organizations and think tanks now have responsive, mobile-ready websites, the actual experience of loading and interacting with them on mobile devices can be a slow and frustrating experience. That leads to high bounce rates and lackluster interaction.
Some data on speed and bounce rates
A quick survey of the websites of the top five US think tanks shows that loading a blog post takes just over four seconds, as emulated at normal 4G speeds on a high-end device (average of three page loads each with caches disabled). Results in the real world could be a bit quicker or much slower, depending on your device and network connectivity.
Four seconds is not bad, but unfortunately it is longer than we want to wait on mobile. According to a study about mobile load times for an e-commerce site, bounce rates rose sharply after 2.7 seconds. After 2.7 seconds, each additional second accounted for roughly an eight percentage-point increase in the bounce rate.
See the difference
The Open Society Foundations are making use of AMP pages. To see the difference in load times, try out the following experiment on your smartphone (turn off Wi-Fi for the best demonstration).
In most cases, the AMP page loads considerably faster than the non-AMP version. The difference will be smaller the faster your network is, and depends on what you have in your browser’s cache.
Accelerated Mobile Pages increase engagement
Big publishers were the first to enable AMP pages on their websites. Some have expressed concern over decreased ad revenue on their AMP pages, but overall the response has been positive. According to Google’s own case studies,
- the Washington Post increased the number of returning users from mobile by 23 percent;
- Wired experienced a 25 percent increase on the click-through rate of their search results; and,
- Slate increased monthly unique visitors by 44 percent.
Organizations that aren’t seeking ad revenue from their blogs and webpages can reap the benefits without any of the potential risk. That means a faster mobile experience, better engagement, and more people reading—and sharing—your research and policy recommendations.
Accelerated Mobile Pages increase discoverability
Accelerated Mobile Pages appear prominently in Google’s mobile news carousel in search results and the AMP lightning bolt indicates to mobile users that page is optimized for them. Posts that are pegged to or on the front edge of the news cycle are most likely to benefit from the AMP. I suspect, too, that your evergreen content that consistently sends relatively high volumes of search traffic to your site will benefit as well.
What you can do
If your website is on Drupal or Wordpress, there are frameworks available to enable Accelerated Mobile Pages on some or all of your pages. These are not exactly plug-and-play solutions (meaning you need someone who knows what they’re doing) but they do bring AMP within reach for organizations without huge digital teams or budgets.
The mobile web is getting faster. Don’t be left behind.