What is AMP - Keen

What is Google AMP and How Is It Affecting Webpage Development?

Mobile search surpassed desktop search for the first time in 2015, and in the same year Google announced an open-source project called AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) meant to improve the mobile web by allowing mobile website content to render nearly instantly. AMP is a framework to create a bare-bones version of a site’s pages, essentially stripping out any custom JavaScript, most CSS, widgets, scripts, and other add-ons.

The premise is that faster load times lead to more time on site and better engagement, which means reduced bounce rates, higher conversions, and increased search rankings. Sounds great, right? Let’s dive in to learn more about some of the benefits and challenges of using AMP.

Reasons to use AMP

The hype is real. AMP pages are lightning fast, typically loading much faster than most regular web pages. Yes, there are many other ways to make your pages fast. Controversy aside, when you click on an AMP page from Google Search it loads instantly and this makes it very good at providing a consistent user experience. For slower cellular networks this is especially important where typical web pages can take ages to load.

For prominence in search, AMP results appear in the top stories carousel above all other results in Google. This carousel is horizontal, allowing users to scroll side-to-side through the results without having to scroll down. But like any other search feature, Google may decide to change and the AMP carousel may not be around forever.

While AMP pages may not be directly connected to better rankings, Google has hinted in the past that AMP might one day become a search ranking signal.

Downsides and challenges of using AMP

Analytics Complications
Surprisingly, tracking from AMP is not as easy as you might expect. It takes special effort and resources. For starters, AMP does not support JavaScript by default which includes Google Analytics. If you already use Google Analytics on your site and decide to use AMP, you will need to set up a different tag and implement across all AMP pages. While basic metrics like visitors and engagement will be available, you won’t have the same data that you would from a standard Google Analytics implementation.

AMP isn’t a new type of technology to make your pages lightning fast. What it does is serve up pre-loaded cached versions of your AMP-enabled pages whenever visitors access them. The pages that appear in search results are housed by Google, which means that you’re showing a cached version of your content. For some, it’s a thorny subject to have their content so reliant on Google.

Ads and Conversions
While AMP pages load quickly, external content on the page is likely to lag behind. This can be a problem when it comes to hosting advertisements, as visitors are likely to scroll past an ad before it has a chance to load which can destroy any chance at conversion. Additionally, AMP only supports limited types of ad formats.

Certainly, there are many other pros and cons of using AMP. Overall, the effectiveness comes down to how well it is implemented and proper implementation takes time for analytics setup and for page optimization. For example, Google excludes pages from the AMP carousel if the content on the AMP page is not substantially similar to the corresponding responsive mobile page.

For Keen, we’ll be watching closely to see how attempts to speed up the web challenge developers with their approach analytics and data. We’d like to hear from you; what has been your experience with AMP so far?

Your users want insights Keen embedded analytics on laptop

Your Users Want Insights - An Intro to Metrics for End-Users

We all want our users to get results.

We want them to spend more time on our platform and see data that reinforces the value they are receiving each time they log in.

Have you ever wondered if user-facing metrics could help?

At Keen we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how user-facing metrics can enrich the end-user experience for our customers’ platforms.

It's common to confuse user-facing metrics with embedded analytics, which can be a form of metrics for end users, but are typically more internal facing. An excerpt from Gartner defines embedded analytics as, “The use of reporting and analytic capabilities in transactional business applications. These capabilities must be easily accessible from inside the application, without forcing users to switch between systems.” 

All analytics provide data, but in a world drowning in data the data itself is not necessarily valuable. It’s relevant and contextual information in the form of personalized user dashboards and other visual representations that ultimately allow users to analyze, answer questions, and improve results without having to leave the app.

So why user-facing metrics, and why now?

The need for user-facing metrics, is steadily expanding — one study found that nearly 90% of UK and US application decision makers are planning on investing in embedded analytics in the next 12 months. And the business implications are massive. In a similar study, 90% of the app teams surveyed reported a reduction in customer churn and 91% reported improving win rates due to embedded analytics. Additionally, 68% said that they can charge more for their product because of the added value that the metrics bring.

Additionally, users have begun to expect personalized data when they engage with consumer and business applications. Any well-meaning mother could tell you we’re attached to our apps — we’ve grown accustomed to instant access to huge amounts of information at the touch of a button on any laptop, tablet, or mobile device. Details related to our online behaviors have become commonplace with the infinite rise of social media and this has driven us to expect companies to observe our preferences, our actions, and to tailor a personal experience.

Some companies are using user-facing metrics to enhance the usage of their services. Pixlee helps huge brands like Marriott and Levi’s curate & display customer content from their biggest fans. They show increased shopping cart conversion among other benefits through their user-facing metrics.

Pixlee’s user-facing metrics

Next Big Sound (NBS) studies the popularity of musicians by tracking data on their popularity from various platforms, like social media, radio, or streaming services. They use this data to help their customers, like advertisers or record labels, understand why certain songs are played more than others, and to help cultivate future musical successes. NBS recently launched a partnership with Spotify that extends these services to artists, who can use this data to understand how impactful their music is and for their own promotion.

In IoT, devices like FitBit or other health trackers owe their success in part to effective data visualization. When you wear one they track several aspects of fitness activity like the steps you take, your rate of recovery and aspects of your sleep habits, such as oxygen intake. Having instant access to the historical and present data concerning your health is a major reason to wear such a device.

Similarly, the app MapMyFitness tracks where you’ve gone by tracing a map on your mobile device or computer. It tells you things like how many calories you burned, which hills you climbed and how steep they were, how you rank compared to other runners or bikers, lets you connect to them, and find new routes, among other things. And there are hundreds and thousands of other apps all tracking and reporting back usage and results anytime a user logs in.

For these reasons embedding analytics and metrics into your applications is no longer an option and it’s beyond being expected. Instead, it’s become a source of competitive advantage. Imagine the reactions of your users when you begin providing them with the information and insights they’ve been craving — we think it may look something like this:

We’d love to hear how you use analytics to improve applications for your users. Tweet us @keen_io.