Developing Mobile Sites

 Developing mobile sites: What is the alternative to AMP?

 publishers are continuing to move away from AMP, how can they maintain site performance?

The verdict is: Publishers are leaving Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Many media outlets, including Search Engine Land, are moving away from it, without significant impact on traffic or search standards.

Since the launch of AMP in 2016, technology, and the needs of Google itself, have moved forward. Now that it no longer needs to be included in Google News or Top News, the usefulness of AMP is increasingly being questioned, especially as other technologies may offer improved flexibility in terms of customization and monetization options.

Despite these limitations, however, AMP remains an easy way to produce fast, easy-to-use mobile pages with few advantages. AMP pages are five times more likely to comply with Google's Core Web Vitals (CWVs) than standard mobile web pages, which means not only a better user experience but also a positive impact on search ratings.

So, as publishers think about AMP, how can they ensure that they retain its benefits while freeing it up to its limitations?

The solution for every publisher - no matter how old you are

Although larger publishers, such as Vox and BuzzFeed, have the resources to invest in and develop their own unique AMP methods, not everyone has the means to do so. At Click, we have created our own alternative - Prism - a cloud-based mobile template that can be easily installed by publishers large and small.

Based on these activities, we recommend that publishers focus on the following areas:

1 - Prepare Core Web Vitals

Another way to ensure that your webpage continues to perform well in both search and user experience levels is to comply with Google's CVW metrics, effectively replacing AMP as a decisive factor for top stories. The first step is to set up a real user alert, so you can check your real CVW scores in real-time, investigate the problems and take immediate action.

When we created Prism, we created our Core Web Vitals Monitoring tool, as shown below, which allowed us to explore the impact of designs and settings for different pages. Often seemingly insignificant changes can cause a sudden drop in one or more CVs, so it is important that you keep this in mind.

If you want to upgrade your CWVs, one of the most important requirements is to make sure your pages load faster. Using a full site caching and content delivery network (CDN) will ensure that pages load faster for your visitors, wherever they are, through multiple data centers around the world. This returns some of the benefits of having to Google a repository of your AMP pages but gives you more control. It can be expensive for individual site owners but it brings additional benefits - such as increased security and reliability. In the case of Clikio, we use Cloudflare Enterprise, which all Prism Publishers can benefit from for free.

Next to that, we also spent time extracting unnecessarily complex code and long JavaScript functions, as well as enhancing images, and adding lazy uploads. This ensures that images are only visible as the user scrolls down the page, reducing loading time and avoiding structural shifts that can cause negative CLS effects. As a result of such measures, 92% of Prism sites meet all the requirements of CWVs - performing much better than the global average of 36%.

2 - User interaction and engagement

A good user experience does not stop at instant loading times. If publishers want to keep their place above the search results and increase advertising revenue, they need a platform that keeps their readers busy. With Click Prism, we have addressed this side of things by integrating features into page design that improve interoperability and ease of interaction. These include:

Endless scrolling - continues to load additional articles as users scroll down the screen

Quick swipe - allows readers to jump right to the next topic with one swipe per page, similar to multiple apps

Related Articles - Display a carousel of other stories on the same topics within the article

Features like these make it easy for users to navigate publisher sites and get more out of their favorite content. In fact, visitors spend an average of 45% longer on Prism sites compared to the regular version.

3 - Additional monetization options

Since advertising is an integral part of any publishing activity, a platform that supports a high number of wanted partners is essential. AMP can limit the options available to publishers and make it difficult to use title bidding - perhaps not surprising when it competes with Google's advertising offering. Prism, on the other hand, supports both open bidding and title bidding through Prebid.js and makes it easy to track revenue from various sources and ad units within the Click platform, as shown in the screenshot below.

Although AMP only allows stated ad formats, Prism gives publishers more freedom to integrate unconventional formats, such as smart attachments and banners. At the same time, Prism incorporates flexible formats that can automatically adapt ad placement depending on user type of device and connection speed, as well as the length of specific articles. This makes a real difference when it comes to revenue, resulting in a median increase of 59% in the RPM session.

4 - Easy setup

Another advantage of AMP, and the reason why many publishers continue to use it, is its simplicity. While it is possible for almost any site to set up AMP pages, without much technology or expensive upgrades, Prism also retains this advantage. Simple mobile templates can be set up with a WordPress plugin or integrated with Clickio's CDN. In addition, while the installation process is straightforward, new Prism publishers are also guided by a dedicated account manager who can help ensure that everything is done correctly. After initial setup, new users are offered free A / B testing against their existing mobile site to see what difference Prism will make. Here is an example of such a test by a UK publisher, which took two weeks.

In this case, the fast loading time and the instant swipe launch, and related articles encouraged users to spend more than 40% on the site, looking at 20% of the pages. As a result, they also looked at other ads, which helped to increase revenue by more than one-third.

Progress on AMP

AMP has been a necessary component in web development, placing user information front and center. But, as with everything else, more advanced and designed solutions have emerged over time. By using tools, such as Prism, which is compliant with CWVs, improves user interaction, and provides greater flexibility, publishers can ensure that their mobile sites continue to promote a good user experience, even outside of AMP.

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