Google’s announcement that it is previewing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in Gmail has drawn both cheers and brickbats. Marketers wonder: Is this the birth of interactive email, or a bid by Google to take over the channel?
First, a definition: Initially designed for publishers, AMP is an open-source framework designed to make mobile pages load faster, according to Google. It is now being extended to email.
On the positive side, Google is “aiming to combine the real-time advantages of instant messaging platforms with the dominance of emails,” The Ladders writes. It will provide the “instantaneous, speedy standard we now expect from web page loading,” it says.
The Verge adds that Google "envisions the feature to be beneficial to users because developers can embed widgets in emails that are constantly up-to-date and include actionable functions that work without leaving your inbox."
Then there are the possible benefits for retailers. Practical Ecommerce notes that AMP could facilitate “real-time order processing details in one email, including updates to order and shipping status.”
For its part, Google claims that AMP will lead to “more engaging, interactive, and actionable email experiences.”
For example, “imagine you could complete tasks directly in email,” it advises consumers. “With AMP for Email, you’ll be able to quickly take actions like submit an RSVP to an event, schedule an appointment, or fill out a questionnaire right from the email message.”
Google adds, “Many people rely on email for information about flights, events, news, purchases and beyond — more than 270 billion emails are sent each day! AMP for Email will also make it possible for information to easily kept up-to-date, so emails never get stale and the content is accurate when a user looks at it.”
So what’s wrong with all that? For one thing, critics say AMP will take a simple, static medium and makes it more complicated. Who needs emails that change by themselves overnight?
Another drawback is that “AMP-delivered transactional emails, such as order confirmations and shipping statuses, presume that the recipient does not delete the original version,” Practical Ecommerce observes.
The result? “If recipients do not realize the email will be dynamically updated, they could delete it and thus miss subsequent vital information,” it adds.
There are, of course, more fundamental concerns. TechCrunch notes that email “doesn’t download anything on its own, it doesn’t run any apps or scripts, attachments are discrete items, unless they’re images in the HTML, which is itself optional.” Emails are there to be read — go back to them a year from now, and they’re the same. Why change that?
Bit-tech takes an even darker view.
“Since its inception in 2015, AMP - Accelerated Mobile Pages that can be served more efficiently by (mostly Google) servers has been under suspicion as just another Google web takeover plan,” it writes. “Now you can add email to the conspiracy theory because we are about to have AMP for email.
Well, like it or not, AMP for email is here — in preview. As Google notes, companies like “Pinterest, Booking.com and Doodle are developing new experiences for consumers using AMP for Email, and we’re excited to see what others will do soon.”
Right. And given the fact that Gmail is the leading email service, smart marketers will figure out how to leverage it.