Google Introduces AMP Stories
"Stories" are already a well-known feature thanks to Instagram, although arguably the concept itself was actually invented by Snapchat. In the summer of 2017, it was reported for the first time that Google was also working on a version of "stories" – to appear as part of its search function. This should not be confused with YouTube stories.
Now, Google has officially announced AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) stories. Essentially, these are a news-based format for search. For example, if you are researching "Trump" and a media outlet has created an AMP story for this search term, it will be displayed directly in the search results. For the time being, AMP stories will be launched only in the United States.
How do Google AMP stories work?
As part of the AMP project, Google has partnered with a group of publishers to develop new, story-oriented formats. The basic objective of the format is to offer creative and visually rich storytelling – developed specifically for mobile, of course. Some stories are best told with text, while others are more powerful through images and videos.
On mobile devices, users browse a lot of articles, but usually only click on a few. Using images, videos, and graphics, publishers can now engage their readers as quickly as possible, and capture them with immersive and easy-to-conume visual information.
The mobile web is great for distributing and sharing content. But creating visual stories for web that offer the same fast and smooth performance users know from native apps is still a challenge for many. In 2017, Google announced that page speed would be a ranking factor for mobile search queries as of July 2018 .
What might this mean for your website? Find out here: https://www.iq-mobile.at/en/blog/with-google-every-second-of-load-time-counts-against-you/
The goal for websites: Only three seconds load time. This is a goal that all companies should set in order to meet the expectations of their users. How close are various companies and industries to achieving this goal – and which ones have already done so? Find out here: https://www.iq-mobile.at/en/blog/speed-sells/
AMP stories are based on the technical infrastructure of AMP to enable a fast, beautiful mobile web experience. As with all content in the AMP ecosystem, techniques such as pre-rendering pages, optimised loading, and caching of videos can be used to optimise the delivery of content to the end user.
(All images from https://developers.googleblog.com/2018/02/amp-stories-bringing-visual.html; the bottom row are GIFs)
AMP stories aims to make the production of stories as easy as possible from a technical point of view. The format comes with preset but flexible layout templates, standardised UI controls, and sharing and adding components. These publishers have been involved in the early development of the AMP story format (we've linked to the respective AMP pages for you): CNN, Conde Nast, Hearst, Mashable, Meredith, Mic, Vox Media, and The Washington Post.
How can companies improve their mobile performance?
Ideally, you should start with a check of the mobile performance of your own site. The aim is always to bring the desired content to the screens of users as quickly as possible, in a mobile optimised form. Three seconds is the benchmark to achieve. We go into more detail here: https://www.iq-mobile.at/blog/so-verhalten-sich-nutzer/
Google has also revamped its search in the mobile space: Users will now find a small tag next to Google's search results, which marks the content as AMP = Accelerated Mobile Page. We discuss the benefits of AMP sites here: https://www.iq-mobile.at/en/blog/tackling-mobile-the-right-way/
Anyone can create an AMP story (it's an open source standard) but, for now, Google will only show publishers' AMP stories. At the moment only a small list of publishers is participating in the developer program, but we're sure the stories mode will work for everyone.
Google has not yet revealed when AMP stories will be fully available and how exactly they are to be displayed. We could imagine them appearing in the Top Stories on Google, in the Google feed on Android phones, and wherever else it makes sense.
There are many more questions Google has yet to answer. What is certain is that with AMP stories, Google is setting the next level for mobile first – one that is sure to quickly jump from the world of news to the world of brands.