It’s been almost two years since Google announced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for email. AMP brings interactive email support to Gmail, not only highlighting techniques we’ve been working with in iOS, like hamburger navigation and image carousels, but also pushing the medium further. Actionable decisions like scheduling an appointment or taking a survey and viewing the live results would be able to happen right within the email.
Apple’s mail client has rendered interactive elements in email for years, due in large part to its support of CSS code. AMP provides an alternative, offering a predefined and validated code solution for email clients that disable CSS.
The big question: will it change everything? Maybe…maybe not. Let’s have a look.
Interactive experiences in email still have a ways to go
As ambitious as Google may be, it doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to introducing and following through with new Gmail features. (Who here remembers the grid view?) That said, I applaud them for taking the initiative to push the boundaries of the email experience.
Email marketing experiences, despite their continued success, garner little attention and evolve at a much slower pace than other digital marketing channels. And while I find the prospect of the rich experiences that AMP promises to bring to email exciting, there are several hurdles to overcome before it’s a commonly used tool in your email arsenal.
It’s taken years for interactive email to gain any real traction. For the most part, retail businesses have led the charge testing out interactive techniques and we’ve seen more and more businesses lately incorporating evergreen techniques like hamburger navigation or carousel as part of their daily campaigns.
Behavioral and technical challenges of AMP for Gmail
Despite interactive email use trending upward, it still has plenty of room to grow. Most consumers have low expectations when it comes to email – they open a message and figure they have one opportunity to click or tap. If they decide not to take action, that email has officially ended its lifecycle. Getting customers to alter that mindset, to understand that they can now browse or tap multiple areas within the email, or potentially make a purchase directly from the inbox, is simply going to take time. We can’t expect user behavior to change overnight.
There are also technical issues that will need to be sorted out before we can really dive into AMP for email. First and foremost, your email service provider will need to be able to support a new multipart/alternative MIME part (text/x-amp-html) in addition to HTML and plaintext. This ability is something we’ve recently implemented (October 2019) in our Marigold Engage+ Suite. Second, your AMP campaign needs to be registered with, and approved by, Google. Additionally, there’s the question of support — with mobile functionality still in beta, only desktop browsers are currently supported.
Tips for brands incorporating AMP into emails
So, where do we go from here? I have a few ideas:
- Consider your process. You don’t want to spend extra time coding and recoding for each campaign.
- Use techniques that can be part of your everyday campaign. Building a mini-website in your email for it only to be used once is not a good use of time.
- Insert small but valuable surveys or have fun with quizzes. These can be useful in building recognition around email capabilities and evolving user behavior for allowing more than one action in an email.
- Consider building out content that helps support a stronger dialogue between you and the customer, where the experience can ultimately be more personalized in the future.
- Test a small audience.
Start small and be smart about how you use any of these techniques, whether it be interactive or AMP. And, most importantly, have fun.
Let’s send some email!
See how Marigold Engage+ has evolved the email CTA.