What is AMP email?

Introduction

In recent years, social media has helped to foster communication between people around the world, but it is also true that email has been doing so for decades. Email has certainly suffered a bad reputation in recent times due to the stigma of its supposedly too large carbon footprint, which has led to it being threatened with extinction in everyday use. However, today it is still performing well. According to a report by Statista, 293.6 billion emails were sent daily in 2019. The figure is staggering and should rise 347.3 billion by 2022.

Email marketing has changed the way companies reach their customers, distribution channels and campaign management have been simplified from gas plants to quick, configurable solutions with just a few clicks. To truly appreciate the full, and in our opinion untapped, potential of email, we need to look at its history and see how it has evolved into what it is today, up to and including the most advanced version of dynamic email, also known as AMP email.

 

A brief history of email from its genesis to the present day

Plain text email

We could go through the whole history of email but that would require a more in-depth article dedicated to the subject. We want to deal mainly with the novelty of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) and initially integrated by Google and its Gmail email system.

The history of email begins almost exactly with the history of the Internet. At that time email was a simple communication tool between academics essentially. Emails contained no formatting of any kind. They were simply strings of characters that were all the same size, font and colour:

email html texte brut

 

The birth of HTML email

With the arrival of e-commerce in the 2000s and the emergence of email marketing, this format quickly reached its limits.

The raw format is too simple and does not meet the need for companies to offer their customers or prospects rich content that reflects their brand.

It was therefore supplanted by email in HTML format (HTML being the language used until then to create web pages)
HTML emails are emails that have the same behaviour as an html page. You can incorporate text (colour, size, typeface, effects...) but also images, sounds, videos...

This format, with its versatility, has dethroned raw emails. HTML emails are much prettier and more readable. However, they have one major drawback: their compatibility with email tools. The html email will not be displayed in the same way on Outlook, Mac Mail, Lotus or Mozilla Thunderbird or webmail like Gmail. They are not all visible in the email tools from the start. It took several years to make them compatible for everyone.

Some media content such as gifs will not be displayed or played.

Nevertheless, HTML email will pave the way for branding. Its advanced customization capability allows it to adopt the visual codes of the brand. The same acquisition tracking techniques are used as for websites: it has become possible to precisely track user actions in order to monitor the conversions of marketing campaigns. In other words, it is possible to do tracking (statistics on clicks and openings) unlike plain text email which showed its limits.

The limits of HTML email

HTML mail also has its limits

Although HTML email uses the same language as web pages, it is limited in its functionality by some email software for security reasons. Email being in 95% of the cases the entry point used by hackers of all kinds, it is not uncommon for them to land directly in the spam folder of your gmail box.

Nous connaissons bien le mail html aujourd’hui et ses limites.

Real-time transmission of information is not possible. Once sent, the content cannot be changed.

No dynamic content possible! This type of email remains a static email: the content is the one integrated at the time of sending and cannot be updated at the time of opening or by user interaction.

For example: if information needs to be displayed in real time (e.g. the weather), the information is likely to be obsolete by the time the user opens the email.

An emerging need for interactivity within emails

Email is the number one prospecting and communication tool ahead of social networks (see our article on how to make a successful first cold mail). It continues to be used in newsletters, but also with CRM, especially with the development of email automation. The arrival of responsive emails has also allowed an improvement in user engagement, knowing that today 1 email out of 2 is read first on mobile. Nevertheless, the friction remains essentially on mobile and the need to refer to landing pages.

With a need for hyper-personalisation of content on the web and in emails, HTML email has reached its limits

Sometime in 2019, Google is opening a new type of email in beta based on the AMP language. Already used for web pages, AMP is actually an extension of HTML. This type of email allows the recipient to interact with the email without leaving it. The content is updated each time the email is opened or the user interacts with the email. This opens up new possibilities and offers a new experience to users.

As of 2019, Lodago is participating in the test which will last several months. AMP email is available for all clients today Gmail, Gsuite et Yahoo and offers exciting features and possibilities:

  • Sign up for an event in the email,
  • Filling in fields in a survey,
  • Make an appointment with your doctor, with updated availability,
  • Pay online, with prices and stocks updated every time you open the email.

Here is an example of AMP email at work for the appointment booking in the emailavailable from Lodago.

After Gmail, it's Outlook, Yahoo and Mail.ru that are embarking on the AMP email journey

First, it was Gmail that deployed an AMP email solution. Subsequently, three other major webmails implemented the technology: Outlook.com, Yahoo and Mail.ru.

Gmail, Outlook.com and Yahoo account for more than less than 50% of commercial emails sent to B2C targets in France. We have therefore gone from an AMP technology supported only by Google to a technology whose compatibility has been extended to a majority of email providers.

Email AMP: what's in it for the messages sent?

It is increasingly difficult to engage users with content, as they are so much in demand. No need to remind you that your deliverability is closely linked to your engagement rate. Interactivity and personalisation of the email, original display of the content can come to the rescue of this lack of engagement.

Several companies have tried to tackle this problem of unrelayed content in our messaging systems, but so far without success, such as Reelevant in France or LiveClicker et MovableInk. These companies often use dynamic generated images.

Another trend is what is known as email kinetic, an attempt to push to the maximum the possibilities of html and css for email (whose possibilities are limited in some email or webmail clients) in order to bring interactivity to messages: integrated email carousels, css animation, menus, status changes on hover, tooltips.

It is therefore legitimate to wonder about the advantage of AMP email compared to what could be done with email before. Everything is natively integrated into the language! No more need for multiple hacks, no more need to provide a fallback solution for email clients (Outlook comes to mind) that do not support certain techniques.

Some examples of the use of AMP email

– AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) gives the possibility of dynamically modifying products or prices according to their availability at the time of consultation of the message. This can be done without the need for images, as the updated data can be contained in the text of the message (which is not the case with current techniques).

- AMP makes it possible to create an email as if it were a mini-site/catalogue: tabs, accordions, sliders, forms (with management of data submission and display of a confirmation message directly in the email) will make it possible to offer an interactive experience directly within the messages.

What are the benefits of using email AMP?

Sending dynamic emails offers multiple advantages. Indeed, interactivity with the consumer or prospect is more and more sought after in marketing. It brings them closer to the brand. The dynamic email allows for a more direct exchange with the recipient and to further personalise the content of the email in order to improve your deliverability. Indeed, getting a better user engagement rate is the key factor of deliverability. It is also possible to have new metrics on the email concerning for example clicks and interactions.

Another advantage of this new AMP technology is that it allows for a complete differentiation from the competition. Personalisation connects the loaded data to a recommendation engine that sends relevant data for each user. It is still not widely used, but it is increasingly proving itself. Although social networks are more trendy than emailing, the latter is still more effective for selling. Dynamic email can therefore become your new competitive advantage and will be very useful in your BtoB cold email prospecting campaigns.

Finally, the fact of not making the customer or prospect leave the email increases the conversion rate. In fact, 36.75% of prospects abandon their purchases because of a payment path that is too long and 44% because of pages that do not load fast enough. Here, the checkout process will be reduced to a few clicks without even needing to open a new page in the browser thanks to the dynamic email.

AMP technology applied to digital marketing and the email tool is therefore promising. With dynamic email, Google announces that its partners obtain an increase of up to 60% in the conversion rate and a click rate twice as high!

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