AMP for Email 101: What It Is, the Pros and Cons – and How to Get Started
AMP for Email is on the lips of a lot of marketers. What exactly is it, and should you use it in your email marketing? Email pro Liz Willits, founder of Content Phenom, defines AMP for Email and shows you the pros and cons below.
It was 2018.
That’s when I first heard about AMP for Email, and at the time, most companies weren’t using it.
Now, in 2022, not much has changed. Most companies still don’t use it.
Nonetheless, I’m still a fan.
The functionality it provides is exciting. It solves problems we’ve had with email for decades. And that’s what enduring products do.
In this post, I’ll explain what AMP for Email is, how you can use it, and take an honest look at the pros and cons.
What is AMP for Email?
AMP for Email is an open-source framework, initially spearheaded by Google, that allows email marketers to add interactive and dynamic elements to emails.
“AMP emails can transform emails into app-like experiences where users can take action without leaving their inboxes,” says Aquibur Rahman, Founder of MailModo. “Instead of a communication channel, emails become a mini landing page where you can collect feedback, book meetings, conduct surveys, and even recover abandoned carts.”
You can send emails with image carousels, like this abandoned cart email from Ecwid.
Emails with fillable surveys and forms right inside the email, like this one from Razorpay.
But does it actually lead to better results? Is it worth investing time to get started?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
The pros of AMP for Email
More engaging emails
By adding interactive and dynamic elements to emails, you increase the functionality of email and make it more engaging.
Tests have shown this can lead to some pretty significant results, like:
- Increased sales. Remember Ecwid’s abandoned cart email? The AMP Email boosted customer sales by 82%
- Increased conversions. What about Razorpay’s fillable survey? It increased survey response rates by 257%.
- Increased click-through rates. Findomestic also tested AMP Emails. They added an interactive interest rate calculator to their emails. The result? 133% higher click-through rates.
With AMP for Email, you can make a unique appearance in the inbox, because most people aren’t sending them.
This gives you a first-comer advantage, like being a TikTok creator before TikTok was cool. Or, as in my own case, being a LinkedIn creator before it was cool.
Less competition is a huge advantage, because even emails with tame AMP functionality will potentially amaze your subscribers.
The cons of AMP for email
Now, there are legitimate reasons why AMP for Email hasn’t seen widespread success, like:
Extra technical work
Most emails we send nowadays are HTML emails, meaning they have visual stylization, like images and bolded text.
However, for every HTML email you send, there should also be a plaintext version. Plaintext emails don’t have visual stylization. Your subscribers see the plaintext email when their inbox doesn’t support HTML, or they have HTML turned off in their inbox preferences.
AMP for Email is a third email type. It either needs to be coded by a developer, or you need to use an email marketing platform (ESP) with pre-built AMP for Email templates.
“Keep in mind that if you’re sending such an email, you also need to include a completely different HTML email as a fallback for users without AMP support and for when your AMP email expires. That’s right. 30 days after sending an AMP email, it will disappear and your user will only see the HTML version from then on,” says Alice Li, Principal Email Engineer at Zillow.
She continues, “There are AMP email building platforms like Spellbound and Mailmodo that provide non-interactive HTML fallbacks, but if you want your HTML fallback to be interactive as well, then you’d have to build them yourself, until they upgrade their HTML components.”
This means extra coding work or potentially, new email marketing tools. Plus, it also requires additional inbox testing, as you should review the plain-text, HTML, and AMP version of your emails to make sure they’re rendering as expected.
Curious how to get started with coding AMP Emails?
Li shared a few great resources:
“Some great developer tools to help you get started include the Gmail AMP for Email Playground and ones listed on the official AMP docs. If you’re like me and you like to learn by dissecting examples, you can examine any AMP email’s source code straight from your Gmail inbox.”
Not supported by every ESP or ISP
This is a big con.
First, not every email marketing platform (ESP) allows you to send AMP Emails.
Second — and worse — only a few internet service providers (ISPs) support these types of emails — including Google, Yahoo!, FairEmail and Mail.ru.
The big kicker here is that Apple Mail doesn’t support it, which means any subscribers who use Apple Mail will see the HTML version of your email, not the AMP version.
“AMP for Email will never be more than a niche solution for some brands in the US and in many other countries unless Apple joins Google and Yahoo in supporting it — which seems unlikely,” says Chad White, Head of Research at Oracle Marketing Consulting and author of Email Marketing Rules. “Today, there are just too few senders with the right subscriber mix and strong enough use cases to justify the extra development expense.”
“That doesn’t mean it’s doomed to failure. It just means AMP for Email will be used in only a single-digit percentage of marketing emails, just like CSS-based interactivity and real-time content, which also have partial support across inboxes. That’s surely not the high-flying future its creators had hoped for AMP for Email, but it’s a realistic one given the current landscape.”
Finally, you can’t start sending AMP Emails on a whim today. It requires some setup.
First, you need to register to send AMP Emails.
Then, you need to set up DKIM, DMARC and SPF authentication, if you haven’t already.
While this process isn’t extremely time consuming, it does require some technical knowledge.
So … is AMP for Email even worth testing?
I’d like to take a moment to recall the insane results that companies have seen when testing AMP for Email:
- Ecwid’s abandoned cart email boosted customer sales by 82%.
- Razorpay’s fillable survey increased survey response rates by 257%.
- Findomestic’s interactive interest rate calculator led to 133% higher click-through rates.
These kinds of results aren’t something to simply ignore, just because there are some sobering cons to AMP for Email.
As with any marketing channel or strategy, my advice is to:
- Analyze whether AMP for Email will be a good fit for your unique business or needs.
- Find a way to test it on a small scale before investing a large amount of time and money into it.
If it works for you, double down.
If it doesn’t, move onto something else. That’s what all good marketers do.
Author: Liz Willits, Conversion Copywriter and Founder of Content Phenom.