On Tuesday, Google officially unveiled AMP for Email, an extension of its Accelerated Mobile Pages project that aims to deliver for email recipients “an interactive, real-time experience that also keeps inboxes safe.”

Here is what email marketers need to know about it.

AMP for Email promises to make emails dynamic and interactive

Google’s AMP for Email site explains, “The AMP email format provides a subset of AMPHTML components for use in email messages, that allows recipients of AMP emails to interact dynamically with content directly in the message.”

AMP for Email offers a variety of components, such as carousels and accordions, as well as form interactions that can, for instance, allow email recipients to perform actions such as respond to questionnaires and RSVP for events without clicking on a link to visit an external website.

AMP for Email also supports greater personalisation by allowing content to be refreshed in real-time by calls to external services.

Google says that AMP for Email offers “a whole new world of possibilities for content engagement” and will help companies running promotional and subscription-based email lists “improve customer satisfaction through hassle-free feedback and subscription management all within [a customer’s] inbox.”

AMP emails don’t require a separate delivery solution

AMP for Email relies on a new MIME part. In non-technical terms, this means that AMP emails can be sent as part of normal HTML emails. If the recipient’s email service does not support AMP for Email, the message will be rendered as a standard HTML email.

Put simply, AMP for Email functions as a part of the current email infrastructure and marketers using delivery solutions that support the standard will not have to send emails separately based on a recipient’s ability to receive AMP emails.

Major email providers have pledged support

For recipients to even have the option of interacting with AMP emails, the email services and clients they use will need to support AMP for Email.

In addition to Google’s email service, Gmail, the search giant says that other major email services, including Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com and Mail.ru, will be adding support for the new standard. For obvious reasons, the adoption of the technology by major email providers is critical. Without it, marketers will have a harder time justifying an investment in creating emails that use AMP for Email.

Equally important is the support of vendors that supply tools for email delivery. Here, a number of providers, including Amazon SES, SendGrid, SparkPost and Litmus, either already support AMP for Email or say they will do so soon.

Marketers will probably want to see how consumers respond before betting the farm

As Google’s Aakash Sahney, a Gmail product manager, wrote in a blog post, “Over the past decade, our web experiences have changed enormously—evolving from static flat content to interactive apps—yet email has largely stayed the same with static messages that eventually go out of date or are merely a springboard to accomplishing a more complex task.”

But are consumers looking for email to change substantially? How much AMP for Email revolutionizes email will depend on whether or not consumers embrace it as email provider support grows.

Until it becomes clear that consumers are buying into Google’s vision for what email should become, marketers willing to give it a try would be wise to move slowly as investments in sending AMP emails might not produce meaningful results for some time.

AMP for Email is somewhat controversial

While usage of AMP has grown substantially, the project has its critics, some of whom argue that while AMP is technically “open”, it is really managed by Google primarily or exclusively for Google’s own benefit.

In light of these criticisms of AMP, it’s no surprise that MP for Email has had detractors since it was first announced a year ago. In addition to the general concerns about AMP, some worry that by making email more interactive, AMP for Email, if widely adopted, will be the end of what email is and was intended to be.

Such concerns might seem academic and irrelevant to marketers tasked with growing a business using whatever tools work, but given Google’s involvement, marketers might want to spend a little time considering the long-term implications of an email ecosystem in which AMP for Email plays a
prominent role.

Learn more

With Econsultancy’s excellent Email Best Practice Guide.