Google this week said that substantial progress has been made with the open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative in the one year since it launched last October.
The AMP project is a Google-led effort to enable a faster mobile web. Under the effort, the company is trying to get website owners to implement the AMP protocol for creating lightweight web pages for mobile devices.
The project is part of a Digital News Initiative that Google launched last year for publishers in Europe but is now being applied on a broader scale.
Publishers who were the first to get on AMP have seen substantial benefits from having fast-loading mobile content, David Besbris, Google's vice president of search and AMP, wrote on the company's Europe blog.
As one example, Besbris pointed to the Washington Post, which after implementing AMP has seen a 23 percent increase in mobile users who return within one week. The Post currently publishes more than 1,000 AMP-enabled articles each day, and nearly 55 percent of online traffic comes from mobile users. Since implementing AMP, page load times are 88 percent faster than they were with its previous mobile website, the Post claimed in a case study posted on the AMP project website. Average page load times are now just 400 milliseconds, the Post said.
The boost in page load times from AMP has benefited publishers in other ways as well, Besbris said. A study conducted by Plista, one of Europe's largest advertising platforms, showed that average click-through rate for publishers jumped a whopping 220 percent for sites that had implemented AMP, he said.
"To date the AMP project has been a story about momentum," Besbris said. In addition to more websites implementing the protocol, the pace of code releases for the open-source protocol has also kept growing, he said.
In the one year since the AMP project launched, website owners around the world have created over 600 million AMP documents in 104 languages. In addition to publishers, other sites such as retail, travel and recipe websites have implementing the protocol, he said.
For its part, Google has been trying to encourage adoption of AMP by highlighting pages that have been enabled for the protocol in mobile search, Besbris said. Now when users search for content using their smartphones or tablets, they will see an AMP icon to indicate pages that will load faster on their devices.
For the moment at least, Google has said that AMP will not have a direct impact on how it ranks mobile search engine results. But going forward, the company has indicated that it will favor websites and web pages that have been optimized for the mobile web over sites that have not.
In addition to highlighting search results, Google has also launched AMP-enabled stories in the "Top Stories" portion in Google Search on mobile.
Google has cast AMP largely as an effort that will benefit internet users, publishers and website owners in general. But the company also has a lot to gain from enabling a faster web experience for mobile users.
As a company that derives almost all of its revenues and profits from online advertising, Google stands to profit from having web pages—and the ads that go along with those pages—load faster on mobile devices. Google's own research shows that 53 percent of users will abandon a site or web page if it fails to load within 3 seconds.