Why Should Email Marketers Care About AMP?

Since Google unveiled AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for email last year, adoption has been growing at a steady clip. Leading-edge marketers have realized that the ability to deliver interactive webpages directly to the inbox is a true game changer.

While AMP’s full potential is still being explored, here are three ways it’s already making waves in email marketing:

Streamlining the user experience

According to Martech Advisor, interactive email content increases click-to-open rates by 73%. That seems too good to be true, but it makes sense when you think about how unintuitive the traditional email experience can be.

Typically, an email campaign has a two-stage format, consisting of:

  1. A static email optimized for getting the user to click on a link to a landing page
  2. An onsite landing page optimized for getting the user to convert

Not only does this format require your designers and writers to do twice the work, it also requires your users to make twice the number of decisions, increasing the chances that they’ll drop out of the process at some point.

In addition, by asking users to click on a link to an external site early in the process, you’re asking them to make a relatively big investment without much information, which is always a tough sell.

Interactive email allows marketers to avoid both these issues by reducing the campaign to a single stage, and securing the conversion directly in the user’s inbox.

Pinterest’s AMP onboarding emails are a great example of this. Onboarding has long been a sticking point for Pinterest, as many users sign up for the service out of curiosity, but never get around to setting up an initial home feed. Sending a static reminder email to these new users is also hit-or-miss, as many are not willing to click through to Pinterest.com to complete a process they already abandoned once.

So Pinterest designed an AMP email for those users, allowing them to finish onboarding from the comfort of their inbox:

Google AMP email Pinterest follow topics

As the user selects topics, the headline dynamically changes to reflect the remaining number of required topics:

Google AMP email Pinterest additional topics

Once the user finishes selecting their topics, the grayed-out CTA button turns red and reads “Done”.

Google AMP for email Pinterest topics set

The user can click to confirm and watch the loading bar fill up right inside his inbox. Once complete, the email notifies the user that his homefeed is ready and presents a “Homefeed Ready!” CTA that leads directly to his homefeed on Pinterest.com.

email and AMP Pinterest homefeed ready

The upshot is that the full Pinterest onboarding experience can now follow the user right into their inbox. This greatly increases simplicity and convenience for the user, thus making them more likely to complete the process.

End-to-End Targeting & Customization

One of email’s greatest strengths is its advanced segmentation and targeting capabilities.

AMP takes this to the next level by allowing users to customize their own experience within the email. This essentially provides each user with a completely unique experience, turning them into a segment of one. It also ensures that the tailored experience doesn’t get lost in the transition to an external site.

For example, Booking.com uses AMP to let users book rooms on their site:

AMP for email booking example

In a static email, this would usually consist of 1-3 room recommendations with a single photo each. Clearly, that’s far too little data for the user to make an informed decision. In contrast, AMP allows Booking.com to include a carousel of images for each room:

AMP email carousel slider

With this more comprehensive view, the user is often able to choose a suitable listing straight from their inbox.

What if the user doesn’t like any of the recommendations? No problem. They can just scroll down to see a whole collection of other relevant listings. Clicking “See a new deal” seamlessly switches between listings in a given location:

AMP email more content options

Once the user has found a suitable listing, they can then click through to Booking.com and finalize their booking.

Essentially, by enabling interactivity within the inbox, AMP allows the user to take full control of their own experience. This is far more powerful than any persona-based list segmentation method can ever be. After all, who knows the user better than themselves?

Email as platform

For software marketers, AMP allows you to extend the functionality of your solution in ways that were not possible before. Since email is such an integral part of our digital lives, this has the potential to significantly improve the customer experience for a wide variety of SaaS applications.

Meeting scheduling software Doodle provides a great illustration of this. One of its standout features is the ability to decide optimal meeting times and locations through AMP email-based polls:

AMP for email meeting schedule

The neat part is that once a user submits their preferred times, Doodle dynamically updates its count of completed submissions. For example, if 4 of 11 participants have submitted, users will see the email below:

AMP for email meeting response

The highlighted line is updated each time the number changes. So for example, a user might re-open the email in an hour to see that “6 out of 11 participated”.

In addition, once the user has completed their poll, the email will update to allow them to send reminders to the remaining participants who have not cast their vote. The list of recipients is also dynamically updated over time:

AMP for email send reminder

When the majority of participants have finished the poll, the meeting organizer can choose a final date and time:

AMP for email confirm meeting

By leveraging the power of AMP, Doodle is able to provide a seamless user experience that increases poll submission rates, and provides participants with meeting updates in real time. For a solution that aims to make scheduling easy, that’s nothing short of a fundamental improvement.

So how do I get started with AMP?

AMP may not be mainstream yet, but there are a select few email production platforms that are currently working on bringing AMP support into their platform.  For example, Dyspatch believes that AMP is going to revolutionize email marketing, but only if marketers can use it without begging for help from engineering. That’s why Dyspatch has announced that AMP support will be coming to their platform by the end of 2020.  The functionality will enable non-technical email marketers to use pre-coded AMP blocks to build highly engaging AMP emails within a few minutes.For those interested in learning more, a good first step is to read the comprehensive guide to AMP and interactive email, which explains the fundamentals of AMP and how to start using it in your email campaigns.