AMP Email – The Complete Guide for Marketers

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WHAT IS ‘AMP FOR EMAIL’?

‘AMP for Email’ gives your email a dynamic and interactive web page-like experience. It brings the typical AMP components like carousels and accordions to email. It also makes it possible to update emails from external services, ensuring that your email’s content is always up to date – no matter when your recipient opens it. Effectively, ‘AMP for Email’ coverts your email into a website; your recipients don’t need to open a new tab to interact and engage with your brand and products.

HOW IS ‘AMP FOR EMAIL’ DIFFERENT FROM A TYPICAL HTML EMAIL?

You can use JavaScript to perform all the actions that ‘AMP for email’ offers, but it isn’t feasible for a typical HTML email to run JavaScript since Email Service Providers (ESPs) perceive it, rightly, to be a source of multiple security complications.

In this scenario, ‘AMP for Email’ becomes a valuable alternative for ESPs since it is declarative, which means that it can be scanned for spam and phishing, ensuring recipients’ safety. In lieu of this, the largest email clients in the world (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, and Mail.ru) now support AMP technology, making it viable for most senders and recipients.

Effectively, senders can use ‘AMP for Email’ to push email’s boundaries with a limited and controlled JavaScript library – in AMP components. Here’s the latest list of AMP components supported for email.

THE WRONG REASONS TO USE ‘AMP FOR EMAIL’

‘AMP for Email’ is probably not for you if you’re simply trying to make your emails look good, chasing the newest fad out in the market. While ‘AMP for Email’ brings in a host of new features and interactivity to your email, it also requires a development effort that isn’t typical for an email in any organization. And of course, these emails will only be rendered in Google supported email clients and supported by certain Email Service Providers (ESPs) in the market.

Effectively, I suggest that you stay away from ‘AMP for Email’ if your fall into any of these 4 categories:

  1. You don’t have actual use case for AMP in your email program
  2. Your audience doesn’t predominantly use the 4 email clients that support ‘AMP for Email’ – Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Mail.ru
  3. Your ESP doesn’t support it
  4. You or your organization isn’t comfortable with the time and resources needed to learn a new markup language and test new campaigns

BENEFITS OF USING ‘AMP FOR EMAIL’

If you don’t fall into any of the above categories, congrats! It’s not all doom and gloom. There are quite a few arguments on why Google’s new foray might just be more than perfect for you, and I’ve listed 5:

  1. New Email - It sheds the old trappings of email, giving it new functions that you can exploit to keep your recipients engaged in your email and avoid mail to website drop off.
  2. Dynamic Email - Emails have always been static, and while that is great for an email you got from a colleague, it limits business to human interactions. ‘AMP for Email’ allows organizations to show the most relevant content on their email for the time the email is opened. For example, a news organization can show the latest breaking news for the time the email was opened.
  3. Personalized Email - ‘AMP for Email’ also ups the game for personalization. Its dynamic nature means that you can update its content on the fly using information from the latest interaction with the customer. Every time (or any time) the email is opened it’ll always have the most relevant information, offers, and suggestions.
  4. Nothing like Anything – You can still find that there are very few instances of ‘AMP for Email’ in the wild, especially in comparison to the total number of emails sent in a day. You can still jump ahead of your competitors on your email game with the eye-grabbing nature of your newest AMP-powered emails.
  5. Recipient-friendly - Then there is another – extremely – important reason on why you should use ‘AMP for Email’ if you can. It’s great for your recipients. There are interesting use cases that makes it obvious that your subscribers might soon expect such functionalities in your emails to them. And subscriber expectations always dictate the direction in which the industry will move.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH ‘AMP FOR EMAIL’?

For all those familiar with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) it’s important to understand that not all AMP components can be used with ‘AMP for Email’. Here’s the latest list of AMP components supported for email.

In terms of the possibilities that ‘AMP for Email’ opens up, you can make your email content:

INTERACTIVE

INTERACTIVE

Until now the primary way to get your recipients to interact with your email is to push them to click links or CTAs on your email. The only way to get information from them is to encourage them to reply to your email. With components like ‘amp-form’ users can fill information, sign up for services, or give feedback within the email, reducing drop off rate to website, increasing ‘response’ rates and conversions.

DYNAMIC

Traditional emails are typically static and limited in their ability to show information. ‘AMP for Email’ introduces components like carousels (with amp-carousel) and accordions (with amp-accordion) to make your email a lot more engaging within a minimal space.

Carousel -

Carousel

Accordion -

Accordion

REAL-WORLD EXAMPLES OF ‘AMP FOR EMAIL’

Google has been quite open with examples of ‘AMP for Email’ that you can get inspired by for your next email. And you can find a lot more in the wild.

INTERACTIVE

GOOGLE DOCS

Whenever you open your email, you will see the latest comments on your documents and will not have to open a new tab to answer them. You can reply or resolve your comments right from the email.

INDEED

When Indeed started powering its job alerts emails with AMP it saw a 2x increase in its clicks. Their AMP-powered email fetches the latest recommended jobs and inserts them into their emails. Users see jobs that are available that are the most relevant and personalized jobs to their skills and needs.
oyo

OYO

Oyo is a travel booking company that sends users travel recommendations on their emails. Their recipients can browse through accommodations and view details, like WiFi availability and user ratings, in their AMP-powered emails. Recipients can even filter and book their stay through the email. These emails have increased click-through-rates by 57% and conversions by 60%.
DOODLE

DOODLE

Doodle is a user-friendly meeting scheduler aims to reduce the number of emails exchanged to schedule a meeting. It should, therefore, come as no surprise to you that it has taken advantage of the dynamic nature of ‘AMP for Email’. Doodle’s emails will dynamically show the slots that are available, remove those that were booked and free up the slots that have been cancelled or have opened up, every time the email is opened. Recipients can also book their slot right from the email.
PINTEREST

PINTEREST

Lastly, there is the example of Pinterest. Recipients of their emails, now completely powered by AMP, can read the detailed descriptions for each image and save suggested images to their board.

STEPS FOR ‘AMP FOR EMAIL’ IMPLEMENTATION

If you’d like to implement ‘AMP for Email’ with Netcore’s Smartech, these are the steps you’d have to pass through. It’s very likely that you’ll have to go through similar steps to achieve ‘AMP for Email’ with your provider or by yourself.

  1. Discuss with your Netcore customer representative for a use case in ‘AMP for Email’ in your organization.
  2. The AMP template will be created using these documents.
  3. In case the template has any input fields or data that is to be collected from your recipients, the data handling would be handled at your end (database) with endpoints as required.
  4. The ‘AMP for Email’ templates will be tested in the AMP Playground and by sending a test email in developer’s email address.
  5. Parallel to the AMP Email template, we will also have to create a fallback HTML template for the email clients where ‘AMP for Email’ is not supported.
  6. Once the ‘AMP for Email’ templates are ready, we need to apply for sender domain verification with Gmail, which takes between 1-2 weeks. The AMP sender domain verification is a one-time task.
  7. We will have to send the AMP email to Gmail for approval. It needs to be a real, production-ready email coming from your production servers (or a server with similar SPF/DKIM/DMARC/From:/Return-Path: headers) including the dynamic email MIME part to ampforemail.whitelisting@gmail.com.
  8. Next, we will have to fill Gmail registration form.
  9. Once we submit the form, Google will send the form data to action-xhr URL where the sender needs to send access token attached to URL which will be unique to the email id and in an encrypted form.
  10. On receiving end, Netcore will set up the security/authentication handler which will validate requests coming from Gmail Proxy base on sender id and access token.
  11. Netcore will perform tests to ensure everything is in order.
  12. After successful testing, we are ready to make our campaign live in multiple batches.

‘AMP FOR EMAIL’ BEST PRACTICES

Here are a few things you can do to ensure you’ve a better experience with ‘AMP for Email’:

  1. Ensure that you’ve a valid use-case for ‘AMP for Email’ that would truly benefit your users. It isn’t something you should pursue just because it looks cool.
  2. Remember to take full advantage of the capabilities of ‘AMP for Email’.
    • Unlike other emails, the ones powered by AMP can be setup to dynamically provide the most up-to-date information to your recipients.
    • They can also have interactive elements that can help to improve the engagement levels on your email.
  3. ‘AMP for Email’ is supported in a few email providers, so for the others you’ll need to provide a fallback HTML. The fallback HTML will come into play when the email provider doesn’t support AMP or when you don’t comply with the security requirements for ‘AMP for Email’.
  4. As with all your other emails, and even more so than usual, you need to test your email with multiple email providers. Your emails should work flawlessly (or functionally) in all of them.
  5. Follow the security requirements dictated by Google.
  6. Follow the best developmental practices from Google.

TRACKING EMAILS POWERED BY AMP

One of the primary concerns of a marketer is whether these AMP-powered emails can be tracked effectively. The simple answer is, yes. But there’s a small complication. The dynamic and personal nature of ‘AMP for Email’ means that your tracking can’t be as specific as traditional email. Nonetheless, ‘AMP for Email’ allows the tracking of email opens and clicks. It also allows pixel-based tracking like with HTML emails. When there are any user-initiated requested data from external services can also be tracked as interactions with the email.

CONCLUSION

There is no doubt that AMP Emails breathe new life into the concept of email, increasing its potential and functions by leaps and bounds. Right now, the only question is whether marketers are willing to develop their emails in a third format (after plain text and HTML). On the other side, it’s blatantly obvious that recipients prefer AMP Emails over traditional email, from the increased interaction and engagement that we see consistently from such emails. There is no doubt that emails will become more interactive, personal and dynamic, and marketers will have to embrace an AMP Emails (or similar) technology.