Email

All you need to know about AMP email for ecommerce

AMP for Email builds off of the AMP framework. Instead of reducing the load time of your website, AMP for email focuses on adding interactivity to emails. The AMP email format lets your subscribers perform different actions directly in the email, removing the need to waste time navigating to other sites.

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As any marketer will tell you, you lose several customers every time they have to click to another web page to complete their purchase. But this seems inevitable if you’re sending email campaigns that drive click-throughs to your landing page, right?

Fortunately, as a developer, you can make your email marketer’s life easier with the AMP email format. Below, we’ll discuss how AMP for emails allows you to serve your users dynamic, real-time content and enable them to complete actions without ever leaving their inbox.

Not quite sure what AMP is? We’ve got you. We’ll explain the AMP email format and its components. We’ll also cover some pros and cons of using AMP for email campaigns.

What’s AMP?

Before diving into AMP for email, let’s go over what AMP is.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are a web component framework created by Google to speed up the load time of mobile pages like Apple News and Facebook’s Instant Articles. Designed to improve a customer’s email experience, AMP is an open-source project that enforces a limited set of coding options.

The AMP framework consists of three AMP components:

  • AMP HTML: This component is standard HTML markup with web components.

  • AMP JavaScript: This component manages resource loading.

  • AMP caches: This component validates and serves AMP pages.

What’s AMP for email?

AMP for email builds off the AMP framework. Instead of reducing the load time of your website, AMP for email focuses on adding interactivity to emails.

The AMP email format lets your subscribers perform different actions directly in the email, removing the need to waste time navigating to other sites. Much like Microsoft Outlook’s adaptive cards, AMP for email allows your subscribers to book flights, respond to meeting requests, write reviews, verify accounts, and answer questionnaires – all without leaving their inbox.

With AMP for email, your email shows app-like behavior that you usually only see on websites.

In a nutshell, AMP:

  • Provides an interactive inbox experience.

  • Enables subscribers to complete actions and submit information from inside an email.

  • Allows for dynamic content in your emails.

How are AMP emails different from HTML emails?

The AMP email format sounds pretty sweet, right? But what’s the difference between an AMP and HTML email? We’ve highlighted five key differences below:

  1. Coding

  2. Email elements

  3. User experience

  4. Email security

  5. Performance

Let’s dig into each of these.

1. What are some coding differences between AMP and HTML emails?

Both HTML and AMP emails are coded with the HyperText Markup Language (HTML). However, AMP emails are additionally coded with specific declarations and the use of predefined elements. For instance, AMP emails need to include “amp4email” in the HTML tag. Plus, AMP emails regularly use a CSS boilerplate to hide email content until the AMP is fully loaded.

2. What are some email elements that differ between AMP and HTML emails?

HTML emails contain text, images, and URLs, while AMP emails build off these standard elements and also include in-mail forms, calendars, shopping carts, carousels, and other interactive elements.

3. What’s the difference in user experience?

AMP emails allow your subscribers to complete actions without leaving your email message. This allows for a better user experience since they can accomplish everything in one application. Conversely, HTML emails require users to click on a call-to-action (CTA) and leave their inbox to navigate to your ecommerce site before they can complete their purchase. As such, HTML emails increase user friction and create a cluttered experience.

4. How do HTML and AMP emails differ in email security?

HTML emails often allow for inframe ads and 3rd party intrusions inside your email message. In addition, IP allowlisting and authentication protocols like 2FA, DMARC, DKIM, and SPF aren’t mandatory to send emails. These protocols safeguard against phishing, spoofing, and other fraudulent activities. This means that your HTML emails aren’t necessarily secure. Of course, even if they aren’t required, it’s likely you have these protocols in place to improve your email deliverability.

Email service providers (ESPs) only accept AMP emails that use vetted AMP scripts after performing strong security checks. This means that 2FA, DMARC, DKIM, and SPF are required for AMP approval.

5. What’s the difference in performance between HTML and AMP emails?

As a developer, you might not be as interested in marketing metrics, but here’s the quick and dirty: the email experts at Email on Acid realized that AMP emails were eight times more likely to convert a potential customer than an HTML email. Talk about a vast difference in conversion rate!

What are 5 advantages of AMP email for ecommerce?

But why is AMP email a good thing? Here are five advantages to using AMP email for ecommerce:

  1. Users see up-to-date information

  2. Users can surf the internet within your email

  3. You can run efficient email marketing campaigns

  4. Users can continue their purchase process

  5. You and your user both benefit from secure email practices

1. Users see up-to-date information

AMP for email helps emails remain up-to-date, so there’s no reason to send occasional fresh messages. It also decreases the number of emails in the recipient’s inbox so they don't have a huge backlog of unread messages.

2. Surf the internet within your email

How many times per day do your customers click on something in an email that redirects them to another website? AMP email enables the recipient to skip the need to bounce from page to page, and lets them complete all actions and tasks without leaving their inbox. 

3. Run efficient marketing campaigns

This technology provides opportunities to create and send interactive emails that your subscribers will enjoy. AMP for emails lets your customers browse through image resources, reply to Google Docs comments, provide survey answers, schedule appointments, and much more – all within the email. This functionality improves subscriber engagement by increasing the time spent on your emails.  

4. Continue the checkout process

Ecommerce email marketers can take advantage of AMP to allow customers to make purchases within the email. They don't need to leave their inbox to buy advertised products or services. Customers can look through the images, choose different variants like color/size/quantity, and add the desired items to the shopping cart without switching to the online store. Plus, you can implement this same practice for abandoned cart emails.

5. Benefit from secure technology

AMP for email limits the use of data from 3rd party services to make AMP emails more secure than their HTML counterparts. It also helps ecommerce customers feel safer, as ad components aren’t allowed in AMP email functionality.

What are 3 disadvantages of AMP email?

It seems like AMP is pretty great, right? Here are three disadvantages to remember when using AMP for email:

  1. Limited support for ESPs

  2. Doesn’t work in every inbox

  3. Difficult to track

1. Limited support for ESPs

While Gmail is the only email client that fully supports AMP for email, here’s a list of other major ESPs who “reinforce” AMP emails:

  • SparkPost

  • eSputnik

  • MindBox

  • Amazon Simple Email Service

  • Salesforce

  • SendPulse

  • Mailgun (that’s us!)

  • Twilio SendGrid

  • Customer.io

As you can see, while there’s some support for AMP, it’s not uniform or plentiful across the board. If your ESP doesn’t support AMP, you might not be able to send an AMP email.

2. Doesn’t work in every inbox

Just as AMP has limited support amongst ESPs, an AMP email won’t display properly in every inbox. The good news is, since Gmail has the lion’s share of email users, chances are your AMP email will display without any issues.

3. Difficult to track

Traditional marketing metrics include click-throughs, open rates, and click-to-open rates. If all of these actions are happening within the “black box” of your subscriber’s inbox, can you track user actions in the same way?

What does a dynamic email look like in action? 

Now that we've explained the basics, what exactly do dynamic AMP emails look like in action? Ecommerce companies like Pinterest and Doodle were some of the first to implement AMP for email into their business strategies. Let’s take a look at these two examples:

  • Pinterest allows you to pin your desired image and unfold the text to read more without leaving the email.

  • Doodle simplifies the scheduling process, and it uses the AMP format to schedule meetings by allowing clients to reply and submit the form right in the email.

AMP email for ecommerce websites can save your customers a few clicks and make the process convenient and efficient.

What are 3 components of AMP for email?

But how does this all work? The AMP framework includes multiple components that are the building blocks for various experiences within an email. These components enable ecommerce customers to click through image resources, choose products from the list, see updated visualizations, and fill out forms.

For instance, some components of AMP email include:

  • Media components

  • Dynamic components

  • Layout components

What are AMP email’s media components?

Media components contain attributes that let you add images and GIFs to AMP emails. You can use the <amp-img> tag to call the amp-img component to add images. In other words, this replaces the HTML <img>tag. Similarly, <amp-anim> lets you add a GIF to an AMP email.

What are AMP email’s dynamic components?

Dynamic components enable you to incorporate dynamic elements and interactive components to your emails. Some dynamic components include:

What are AMP email’s layout components?

Layout components allow you to tweak the layout of your AMP email. Check out the following layout components:

  • <Amp-layout>: Apply AMP layouts to any element of your email

  • <Amp-accordion>: Add an accordion element into your email that collapses and expands upon user interaction

  • <Amp-carousel>: Create a rotating carousel of items, such as text boxes or images

  • <Amp-fit-text>: Expand or shrink your text to a given space

  • <Amp-sidebar>: Create a navigation sidebar for your AMP email

What AMP extensions are out there?

If you want to use AMP for email, check out the following AMP extensions. These extensions can simplify the process of AMP email implementation into business strategies and offer efficient features to help you send interactive emails to clients effortlessly.

  • Ecwid introduced modules for AMP email.

  • Plumrocket’s Magento 2 AMP Email Extension allows you to create AMP emails from scratch and take advantage of built-in Google AMP templates to make your emails more engaging.

  • WooCommerce doesn’t offer the AMP email functionality yet, but they’re planning to release a plugin in the near future.

Wrapping up

Implementing AMP email technology into your ecommerce business can create a more interactive and engaging environment, bring your email communication to the next level, and boost sales.

So, take everything you learned from us into consideration, analyze the importance of AMP email for your ecommerce, and open up new business opportunities by running dynamic marketing campaigns.

Ready to start sending? Check out our powerful Email API at Mailgun. As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

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