As the need for speed in Web page load times quickly becomes a requirement, a recent report looks to compare formats — Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) vs. Facebook Instant Articles — to determine the impact on consumer engagement and whether page-load times positively impact readership and revenue for publishers.
Chartbeat's report, The New Speed of Mobile Engagement, found that page speed is important, especially to mobile readers -- and faster pages translate into increased engagement.
The findings -- based on Chartbeat’s analysis of interactions with 360 sites using AMP and FIA from June 2016 to May 2017 -- show that AMP loads roughly four times faster than the standard mobile site experience, but "88% of Instant Articles load too quickly for us to even register a load time."
The data also shows that readers engage with AMP content 35% longer than standard mobile Web content, spending an average of 48 seconds with AMP content vs. 36 seconds with mobile Web content when coming from search results.
"While the increase in Engaged Time for publishers who have adopted both AMP and FIA are compelling, the jury is still out on whether the end justifies the means," according to the findings.
The end will certainly justify the means when it comes to publishers such as The Washington Post. The publisher, which uses AMP, started an experiment on smartphones with audio articles using Amazon Polly, which converts text to speech.
For the next month, mobile users can listen for free to an audio version of four articles daily across business, lifestyle, technology and entertainment news categories. The publisher said in the future it will explore personalizing playlists.
For now, mobile supports the service, but opportunities for users to have articles read to them on Amazon Echo certainly exist.