Is AMP for Email Making a Comeback?

Marketers can look toward some potential changes that will help AMP for Email gain momentum.

When it was officially launched in 2019 by Google, AMP for Email promised to bring standards-based interactivity and real-time content to inboxes, allowing brands to bring landing page and app-like functionality into their emails. Allowing product carousels, live forms, and checkout functionality, the potential payoffs for marketers and consumers were huge.

However, reaping those benefits require big changes in the email marketing ecosystem.

Google aggressively promoted AMP for Email, looking to expand support to other mailbox providers like Yahoo and to convince email service providers (ESPs) to make the platform changes necessary for marketers to send AMP-powered emails, since they’re sent as a separate MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) part. At the same time, they worked to convince marketers that it was worth their time to learn how to code AMP emails and create them.

Swirling Winds of AMP for Email

And then the winds shifted, and it suddenly seemed like the timing was all wrong for AMP for Email:

  • The pandemic hit. That led to marketing layoffs and massive changes in customer behaviors, which caused marketers to focus on the basics, not “extras” like AMP for Email.
  • Microsoft halted its AMP for Email pilot, which surprised many and stopped AMP for Email from gaining support in another major mailbox.
  • Google stepped back from AMP for Email, wanting the standard to stand on its own and not become synonymous with them. However, as a result, promotion of AMP for Email became much quieter.
  • Google also dramatically deemphasized AMP for webpages, which caused confusion about AMP for Email as people proclaimed, “AMP is dead!”
  • Apple launched Mail Privacy Protection, which has focused marketers on preserving their email programs, not on adding new capabilities like AMP for Email. 
  • The Great Resignation strained teams, which has brands looking to do more with smaller staffs by streamlining their email production, not growing it by adding a new MIME part.
  • And that’s in addition to… major social and political unrest, disrupted global supply chains, a generational high for inflation, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine — all of which have brands operating conservatively.

Whew! Those are some mighty headwinds for sure. And as a result, adoption of AMP for Email is much lower today than many expected.

Related Article: 5 Ways to Generate More Loyalty and Email Signups

The Current State of AMP for Email

To better understand industry sentiment for AMP for Email, the Email Sender & Provider Coalition (ESPC) surveyed its email service provider (ESP) members from March 23 to April 4. This first-of-its-kind survey shows that only 22% of ESPs have made the necessary changes to their platforms to support their users sending AMP for Email campaigns. 

Among those ESPs who don’t currently support the standard, 71% said the biggest reason they don’t is because of a lack of interest in AMP for Email by marketers. The ESPC members whose platforms support AMP for Email said that less than 5% of their users routinely send messages that use AMP for Email. That low usage is consistent with existing levels of usage of CSS-based interactivity and real-time content, and certainly supports the claims by the non-supporters that interest from marketers is low.

However, despite this low interest, the vast majority of these ESPs are open to potentially supporting the standard in the future. When asked to rate their likelihood of their ESP to support AMP for Email in the future from 1 (“highly unlikely”) to 5 (“highly likely”), the median response was 3 (neutral) and the average response was 3.4, indicating a slightly positive likelihood.

What Will Change AMP for Email’s Trajectory?

At the ESPC’s spring meeting last month, I moderated a panel on AMP for Email that tackled that question, among others. My fellow panelists included Marcel Becker, senior director of product management at Yahoo Inc.; Nicholas Einstein, VP product marketing and global head of analyst relations at Netcore Cloud; and April Mullen, senior director of brand and content marketing at SparkPost. Yahoo is among the mailbox providers that supports AMP for Email, and both Netcore Cloud and SparkPost are among the ESPs that do.

According to them, here are some of the potential changes to look out for that will help AMP for Email gain momentum: