Those of us who once had to book time at university computer labs to log in to a new-fangled communication method known as “electronic mail” might experience a bit of temporal shock at the idea that it’s now the grand dame of messaging, but there’s no denying its exalted status. Before in-app messages or web push or Content Cards, or any of the other web- and mobile-focused channels of today, brands were using email in their marketing campaigns to successfully reach, engage, and convert recipients. With some 293.6 billion messages sent via the platform last year, one can’t argue with its penetration, but it is email’s ROI that sets it apart—an average of $42 for every $1 spent on email campaigns, making it perhaps the most impactful channel at a marketer’s disposal.
In recent years, this messaging powerhouse has only grown stronger—thanks to innovations like AMP for Email. Developed by Google based on its Accelerated Mobile Pages format, AMP for Email allows brands to take what is, at root, a static form of communication and turn it into a two-way conversation with their customers. To find out how, we chatted with CRM expert Nick D’Amelio to get his take on how adopting AMP can take email programs to the next level.
Understanding AMP for Email
We’ve all received our share of standard promotional emails: There’s text, imagery, and links on which to click, and...that’s about it. AMP changes all that by allowing the use of interactive elements users can engage with inside the message itself, all without leaving their browser or email app.
“We’re using it to build emails that are more than just things users are meant to click out of,” says D’Amelio. “We’re trying to deliver a full experience directly to a user’s inbox. Some ways we’re doing this are creating scrollable carousels, sidebars with content from our blog, forms with which users can sign up for deals and discounts, and firing code to send the user a text message linking to our app. The opportunities to increase engagement and retention are really huge here.”
As D’Amelio points out, AMP for Email is a flexible platform that can be used to create a variety of different interactive elements. “I’m just a big fan of things users can play with, especially in a channel that’s traditionally extremely static. So, things as simple as popping out blog content in an AMP Sidebar, expanding an AMP Accordion to reveal a deal or promo code, or scrolling through imagery in a carousel can do a lot to just make email fun.”
Getting Amped for AMP
Nobody’s going to argue with fun, but if you’re going to implement AMP for Email at your company, there’s some legwork to be done first. D’Amelio lays out the steps he took as follows: “Getting set up wasn’t all that difficult. The requirements are fairly standard—you’ll need to be SPF, DKIM, and DMARC certified. After that the next step was to get certified with Google, which basically involved sending a test email with some AMP elements to an inbox on their end. We repeated this process with Microsoft to certify us to display AMP in Outlook.com or Hotmail. All in all the implementation process was relatively painless!”
Of course, as there’s a certain amount of technical work involved getting AMP email templates up and running, it might be a good idea to get by with a little help from your friends—that being teams in the development and engineering space. “My recommendation here is to lean on engineering as much as possible to build out the AMP elements,” says D'Amelio. “And then have design resources add the extra layer of polish.”
Final Thoughts: AMP for Email Delivers
Put the pieces together, and you end up with a next-level email messaging experience that creates a much more compelling brand-customer conversation. It’s a whole new way of looking at a venerable—by technology standards, anyway—messaging channel, and opens up opportunities for creative marketing teams to reach audiences in exciting, distinctive ways. Plus, all that excitement comes with something even better: Concrete results. “At a prior role, we saw product review collection increase by 55% when we pivoted to interactive email,” says D’Amelio.
For more on what AMP for Email can do, check out the case of Babylon, the leading-edge health tech company that saw a 20% increase in engagement when they launched an innovative campaign using the feature.