Google AMP for Email: Good or Bad?

Responsive email! We all want that, right? Let’s just be clear on what the word “responsive” means in the context of the Google’s recently published post about AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages).

A colleague was confused about this, and I thought other non-tech folks may be as well. I don’t think Google makes it very clear. Not an intentional obfuscation, but certainly something worth exploring, especially in light of the evil/no-evil line that Google often walks.

Based on the marketing email I get on my phone, I would say about 30% is coded to display well, i.e. be readable at all. It’s no wonder that marketers would want to improve this experience without involving the markup gurus. Marketing email that displays as a desktop webpage is essentially useless for your mobile audience.

It is possible to code mobile responsive emails without AMP. Some vendors choose to do so, some don’t. In the post, Google uses the word “responsive” in the context of making content delivery faster by defining rules for making the markup and Javascript more structure.

AMP’s value proposition is providing a proprietary system for building web content that is backed by content delivery.

AMP’s value proposition is providing a proprietary system for building web content that is backed by content delivery. All content travels through Google’s servers, violating the credo of the open web and thereby drawing the ire of developers and other informed folks. Google can then do things like compress images beyond how they were supplied and have access, of course, to the email’s content.

Some oldsters may remember the nightmare of building client sites and being horrified at AOL’s merciless munging of our carefully optimized images using the long forgotten ART image format. While that crude approach is unlikely with AMP, the concept of handing your content off to a multinational corporate juggernaut may give you the willies. It does me.

It’s Google’s aim to dictate how web content is written. This is because poorly written web pages have bad performance which degrades ad delivery, which cuts into theirĀ bottom line

It’s kind of like PCI compliance – the banks created a standard to help them with unprofitable charge backs and used the threat of legal action against their customers to drive adoption of the standard. The result is that everyone knows that they have to be PCI compliant, but don’t know why.

News sites use AMP, which is why the news in your Google News app is relatively fast and consistently structured. Google has the upper hand with struggling news organizations.

Will email marketers succumb? My bet is that they will, and fast, given the possibilities. What if there was the ability to embed the call to action form right in the email message, eliminating the proverbial “click” to the form itself?

I don’t know how to put a good face on it; I see AMP, for email or otherwise, as being another step toward the corporate takeover of the web.

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