When Google launched its Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, earlier this year, it was a big win for publishers. The AMP project gave them an opportunity to deliver content quickly with less noise on the page, creating a better user experience for their readers. Increased speed allows for a better overall content experience, and therefore makes a huge difference in reader retention. The median load time for AMP pages is 0.7 seconds, while typical mobile web pages come in with a median load time of 22 seconds.
With numbers like that, it was only a matter of time until AMP technology started making its way over to other verticals on the Internet. Now eBay is joining the effort, announcing in a late June blog post that more than eight million of their pages are now AMP compatible. EBay had started an initiative to run faster, lighter pages around the same time AMP was released, so it made sense to work with Google’s open-source platform, according to Senthil Padmanabhan, the principal web engineer at eBay. “It seemed to resonate a lot with our own thinking on how we wanted to render the new experience.”
EBay’s journey with AMP makes for a great test of the platform, and a signal to the future of where AMP can go. The auction site is an interesting experiment, not only because its purpose is so different from that of most sites using AMP, but because of the complexity of the site. Millions upon millions of pages need to do many different things, and eBay and Google are working together to bring out the best of the platform.
The team at eBay also discovered some advantages of AMP beyond speed. The engineers found that working with AMP brought them back to the basics of web design, and helped them develop best practices they could apply to non-AMP pages as well. It also resulted in less forking in the code, since they were using the AMP best practices for every version of the page. Just by following those practices, eBay not only made their pages lightning quick with AMP compatibility, but made all of their pages faster through better coding.
The work between the two tech giants will lead to advances that will help every ecommerce site as well. According to a new report from Javelin, 49 percent of online sales will come from mobile in 2020. A great user experience on mobile is no longer an added bonus for ecommerce sites, but a necessity. EBay is still ironing out extra features for AMP, like smart buttons to buy products or add products to the shopping cart, and input elements like text boxes. Any company will be able to use these innovations, which will only make the AMP platform stronger and more accessible to everyone on the Internet.
John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google, said in a recent Hangout interview, “If you ask the AMP team, they will tell you that all websites should be using AMP… If you’ve been holding off because you’re saying, well, my website doesn’t need this, then maybe it makes sense to take a look again and see what it does now.” Mueller’s words match up with the work being done by eBay, and cast a positive light on the future of a so-far extremely valuable product.
Speed matters more on mobile now than it ever has before. People checking their devices on the go don’t want to wait for the pages they’re looking for, and that’s where AMP comes in. As the platform branches out to more categories of websites, it’s great news for Google, for the companies using the technology, and for the users who are getting their content faster than ever.