The Email is being AMP’ed

2 min read

Google launches AMP for Emails

A bright future lies ahead for all online marketers as email becomes more dynamic and interactive with the introduction of Google’s AMP technology for emails. The year 2019 has good chances to one day be considered the year in which the email was reinvented.

So far, quite frankly, emails have been everything but interactive. Marketing emails usually include links that direct their readers away from the email content. The recipients are forced to perform interactions on a separate landing or shopping page and are implicitly forced to leave the scope of their email clients. Marketing emails have been primarily seen as a referring tool leading to platforms with interactions performed there rather than inside the email. If you want to add interactivity, it has to be kind of simulated with means of animated GIF images, externally embedded images or even programmed with interactive-like elements, which is a lot of effort, and ultimately only implemented for very important, very carefully crafted emails that in the end would still only work on a small number of supported email clients, effectively limiting the impact and success of such a comprehensive campaign.

HTML rendering the only major innovation in email history so far

You may ask yourself – why aren’t emails more interactive? And you’re absolutely right to raise that question. Over time, however, email has evolved very slowly from text-based in its early days (still popular and used today are terminal-based email clients like Pine and Mutt) to finally allow image and table-based HTML rendering in the late 90s (Desktop-based clients like the early Netscape Messenger and today still popular Microsoft Outlook). The shift from text-based to HTML rendering made the email to become popular very quickly. Today, almost a quarter century later, we are still using (more or less) the same email technology that was already present back in the late 90s with no big innovations ever since.

2019 is the year in which the email is being reinvented

And it is Google, a Web pioneer, who makes the first step towards a big email revolution since the late 90s. Google’s web framework AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) which was originally intended to speed up websites, now introduces enhanced capabilities for email as well. For example, AMP’ed emails now allow the implementation of changing text content, image carousels or even forms that can be filled out directly within the email client’s inbox. After text-based and HTML-based, emails are now AMP’ed. It is quite safe to say the year 2019 has good chances to one day be considered the year in which the email was reinvented. Really an innovation? Yes, indeed, but please judge for yourself:

Dynamic email built using AMP by Ecwid showing interactive image carousels without opening another website, live in action. (Source: Google)

According to Google, AMP support will initially be provided in Gmail and the Gmail mobile app. In order to be one of the first to see AMP for emails in real action, you have to be a Google G-Suite customer. However, Google promises that this will be possible for all customers within the next few days.

Doodle shows how a dynamic email built using AMP and interactive forms works: you can easily accept a meeting without opening another website. (Source: Google)

Although support has presently been announced for Gmail only, third-party mail clients and services such as Outlook, Yahoo and Mail.ru have already confirmed they are working on supporting AMP as well. And for everyone who is scared about implementing something that is only supported by a few clients yet, here’s the comforting news for you: If a client doesn’t understand the new AMP’ed format, it will just display the non-interactive version (using regular HTML) instead.

AMP to become the de-facto standard for interactivity in emails

One thing is for sure: We are going to see online marketing jumping on the interactivity email train forcing Google and all other AMP early birds to bring even more improvements and capabilities into AMP for emails. And, with every additional third-party mail client also offering AMP rendering, interactive emails will become the new de-facto standard for email marketing and newsletter services. It has been a long wait to get this far, but it will open up a channel that has been pure and simple to finally allow for interaction that many email users have been longing for in almost a quarter century. That’s an email revolution that has just begun.

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