The month of October came with a burst of new challenges for mobile content publishers. Google has just unveiled its plan to revamp the slow mobile web by introducing the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). The search giant claims it will “dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web”. A fully open-source project, AMP will automatically optimize publisher content for all mobile devices.

How does AMP work?

The ever-rising consumption of news on smartphones and tablets is signifying the need for excellent user experience, which is not the case in today’s mobile web. While webpages take long to load, it is not uncommon for readers to lose their patience and interest in mobile pages altogether. Google’s new project is part of its ongoing mobile-first approach regarding content, which aims at reducing friction for mobile users in finding and accessing information.

AMP’s open-source framework is set to simplify the HTML, JavaScript and CSS page elements to make mobile pages cleaner and faster. Content publishers will thus streamline content templates that include only the most necessary content elements, such as text, images, video and low bandwidth ads. Once a user types in a search inquiry, the AMP module appears on the top of the search engine’s results page (SERP).

A faster and cleaner web for mobile users

AMP debuted with some of the biggest names in the media industry, partnering among others with Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, WordPress, and publishers The New York Times, Vox Media, the Financial Times. The project comes as a no surprise taking into account Apple’s and Facebook’s recent attempts to revolutionize the mobile content. Facebook’s “Instant Articles” takes in mobile content and, instead of linking it with external sites, loads it directly in the Facebook app. However, Facebook’s algorithm questions the openness of content and the effects publishers will face regarding revenue. Apple’s News, which came out last month with the latest iOS 9 mobile operating system, also poses the same problem.

Google’s AMP thus sheds a new light to the mobile web. Its top priority is to make content open, and not lock it inside third-party apps. AMP will significantly speed up the loading of articles. The performance gains are obvious for mobile users, but what’s in it for publishers?

AMP’s impact on publishers

AMP’s faster web page loading comes with a price for content publishers. Because all interactive page elements are stripped down in AMP, interactive content completely falls out of the equation. Also, publishers who decide to not join forces with Google’s latest project will experience less clicks and impressions. What is more, because AMP does not allow any JavaScript-based analytics or tracking, publishers might face difficulties acquiring information about their users.

Mobile apps create immersive user experiences

However, lets not forget one important thing – mobile users spend more time in apps than they do browsing the web. And what they appreciate are immersive and interactive experiences while in apps. This is why Google’s AMP may just be the right trigger for content publishers to present their content in native apps, and do it in an interactive and user-engaging way. With apps, content publishers have the freedom to advance their storytelling techniques, add interactive and gamification features, personalized notifications, and, above all, offer their content offline. Apps provide thorough data about users’ reading habits, allowing for personalized content. These powerful data provide publishers with opportunities to engage with their users not only inside, but also outside of the app, creating immersive reading experiences. Lastly, apps provide easy monetization opportunities, making it attractive for publishers.

All things considered, once the AMP rolls out, it will have the potential to change the overall content consumption of mobile users. Content publishers will therefore have to ascertain ways to provide their readers with the innovative reading experiences they expect.