When it comes to content marketing, every new opportunity is worth being considered, especially when it involves a big data company that influences trends and behaviors all around the world.
Today, I am going to introduce you to such an opportunity to create new types of content based on the newly launched AMP Stories feature by Google.
I imagine that if you are reading this article, you are already familiarized, at least partially, with the AMP feature. I am not going to define it or give you new advice on how to use it here, as we have something else to talk about.
However, I will mention the fact that AMP is a mobile-ready type of format which enables publishers to deliver mobile rich experiences to users fast and without unnecessary scripts, plugins and other types of content that take time to load properly.
With AMP, the users get exactly what they want: content in its purest form.
A. What Are AMP Stories?
Do you know what the biggest problem with AMP was until now? The fact that it lacked in delivering a visual experience to users.
These days, when visual content and storytelling is more popular than ever, it would have been impossible to think that things will not change.
And change did happen, as the Stories format was already announced.
|Therefore, AMP stories fill the gap that other type of AMP content lacks, especially when it comes to creating and delivering a story-based immersive web page experience. Which is, eventually, the main reason why this feature was launched in the first place.|
Some stories are meant to be told with images, and now, they will be.
And if you are thinking about Instagram Stories when you are reading this, you should. AMP Stories are similar, being mobile-friendly and mobile-ready.
What makes them unique, however, is the fact that they have dedicated search results, a feature that’s missing from Instagram and Facebook Stories.
AMP stories have everything Instagram offers and a bit more:
- Instant loading storytelling (on both desktop and mobile);
- Extra exposure as AMP stories appear in Google Images, Discover, Search, and News.
The idea is not new as AMP Stories was announced over a year ago.
However, we had to wait until now to be able to grasp its full potential and observe its full effects on the content we publish.
The big announcement was made over a month ago, on April 17th, at the AMP Conf 2019 that took place in Tokyo.
AMP Stories now appears in a dedicated section in search results for general queries such as “things to do in Tokyo”. It’s a new opportunity to attract users in SEO. #ampconf pic.twitter.com/3oFHflL8FW
— Kenichi Suzuki
鈴木謙一 (@suzukik) April 17, 2019
B. Is There a Difference Between Different Types of Stories?
These Stories will benefit from a dedicated block in search results (thanks Google for that!), and we’ll be able to link to them, embed and share them just like any other web page.
This is a feature that the other social media stories are missing right now, but it’s beneficial for marketers and content creators as it adds extra exposure to each business.
Exposure is essential these days, and every business’ value depends on it as we are constantly bombarded with content in the form of stories and storytelling ads.
But the good news doesn’t end here.
Unlike traditional social media-based stories, AMP Stories will be visible for more than 24 hours. They will not be automatically deleted and, as a consequence, they’ll be available online for as long as the publisher wants.
This means that there will be no difference between AMP Stories and any other web page you publish.
C. What are the main benefits of AMP Stories?
We’ve already discussed the Google search listings which can prove to be quite beneficial from a business perspective.
Here’s a simple example, from mobile search.
Just type in CNN and check out the first results.
As you can see, the AMP Stories are right after the listing of the main page of the website.
Here are a couple more reasons to try AMP Stories right now:
1. Faster, better, more reliable
Nowadays, people are more accustomed to speed than they ever were in human history. Everything happens at a fast pace these days, and the access to a smartphone, broadband internet, and 4G and 5G networks have facilitated this shift.
People want information, but they want it now. They want it to be accessible on mobiles, to load fast and to come in lightweight.
The heavier a web page is, the longer it will take to load and for the user to see the content. This may generate additional costs on mobile plans when there is no free access to WiFi.
AMP Stories are built on the main Google AMP infrastructure, which means that they will deliver a fast and seamless experience to the user. Speed is essential when it comes to mobile user experience and not just since Google search started to favor pages that load faster against those who weigh heavy on the servers.
2. Increased ROI
AMPHTML ads can also contribute to an increased ROI, and we can expect the same thing from AMP Stories when it comes to advertising.
Advertisers can now run sponsored AMP Stories just like they were already able on Instagram but with a twist. They will appear in Google search and behave exactly like traditional sponsored pages.
There are two types of ad formats supported by AMP Stories:
- Single Page Ad. This is a type of ad that appears as a single page inside another story, just like in Instagram Stories.
- Sponsored Story Ad. This type of ad is something new for the advertiser, as it allows the creation of a multi-page Story ad that is standalone.
Here’s a simple graphic that shows you how to deliver ads to AMP story pages:
Also, AMP stories have new bookend capabilities which enable richer component support of visual layouts.
You can add CTA links, text boxes, and portrait and landscape cards in ads.
D. Easy to create and publish
From a technical perspective, AMP Stories are easy to produce and publish. AMP is easy to set and implement as it comes with predefined and flexible layout templates and standardized UI controls.
The content creators, on the other hand, have full liberty to choose their images, and the way they tell their stories.
Other important benefits include:
- Stable and reliable ecosystem.
- Interactive storytelling capabilities.
- Rich visuals capabilities.
- Near-native video performance.
E. How advertisers can benefit from Google AMP stories?
Google search indexes all pages, regardless of the technology used to create or publish them. However, there are some differences in ranking, and, in this case, speed has a significant role in it. Speed is essential for search engine ranking, and AMP is built to deliver it.
Although AMP pages are not treated differently than any other type of web content, they are considered first due to their fast loading speed. And this thing matters a lot, according to Google.
Hence, it is one of the most important features you can benefit from, considering that as an advertiser or a marketer, you need exposure, good ranking and a lot of people viewing and sharing your Stories.
Monetization is also available in AMP Stories via ads served from DFP.
This is a critical feature since advertising is supported on all other social media-based Stories. Also, according to the official reports, the next version will include paywalls, among other exciting and most expected features.
F. Examples of Google AMP Stories
A lot of websites already use AMP new visual features to tell their stories and make them available and ready for mobile devices. Here are some of the best examples I’ve come across lately:
The popular newspaper/website tells a story that incites us to take a holiday trip to Guernsey Island, a British paradise located midway between Great Britain and France.
It’s a rich content concept that comprises of both still images and videos, paired with an insightful call-to-action.
This example comes from People.com, one of the most popular online entertainment sources. It tells the story of the famous British couple, Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan in a full-mobile format.
Here’s another simple, yet powerful example from Fifa.com, a visual story of the most acclaimed star players that played at a World Cup.
This one comes from CNN, and it’s an AMP Story released for Father’s Day which comprises of a series of slides that feature funny dad quotes. Simple, efficient, great material for a piece of content that has the potential to become viral.
I am going to close this list with BBC’s AMP archive, an excellent resource for you to study the AMP Stories idea and to get inspiration for your own creation. The page features all BBC’s visual AMP Stories, from all domains of interest. Enjoy!
While the AMP Stories format is a relatively new addition to the AMP environment, considering the popularity of the mobile content, it is a feature you need to at least consider when planning your content marketing strategy.
With this article, I have tried to pinpoint some of the most important concepts behind this format and give you some valuable insights into what AMP Stories are, why they are worthy of attention and how others use it for their marketing benefits.
What do you think about visual AMP Stories format? Did you use it already or planning to do it in the near future?