This month, eBay became the first major non-news website to begin widely showing AMP results. Here’s why this is a good sign for content marketers.

eBay is using Google AMP – and you should too

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We’ve been excitedly covering Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project from its announcement to its release to its iOS debut. Google’s pursuit to make the mobile web faster and easier-to-use has been delighting mobile users and rewarding news publishers who adopt the framework. But the elephant in the room for content marketers has always been the question of how AMP will benefit publishers outside of the news industry.

We might finally have our answer – last weekend, eBay became the first major non-news site to begin widely appearing in AMP results. It looks like this might be the sign content marketers have been waiting for, and if you aren’t up to speed on what AMP offers, and how you can use it, now’s the time to catch up.

Not just a beta test: Browsing in AMP is the future

eBay is not just testing AMP out – they already have about 8 million pages live using the format. And it’s helping. The online auction giant launched AMPs because mobile web is their fastest growing sector, and according to VentureBeat, they now even plan to borrow and migrate elements from the AMP layout to their desktop and app experiences.

Of all the friction in the browsing, reading and converting processes, the easiest barriers to avoid should be the most obvious, and the most human: stubby thumbs, glazed-over eyes and slow-load boredom. That’s where AMP will come in – not just for eBay, but for all other sites, from B2C stores to company blogs to B2B services.

Compare the slickness and simplicity of the AMP-enabled page on the left with the clunkiness of the traditional mobile site on the right. They both contain essentially the same information, but the AMP page is much easier to navigate – especially on a smaller screen.

eBay's amp page (left) is cleaner, quicker, and easier than the traditional mobile page (right).

Other brands will (and should) follow eBay

AMP’s layout is simply a reflection of what your users already respond well to in a website. Its principles are natural. As eBay’s Tech Blog put it: “One of the good things about AMP is that at the end of the day it is a bunch of best practices for building mobile web pages… This made our approach towards AMP more organic, rather than a forced function.”

Mobile use is not just growing among eBay customers, but among people across the globe. More than half of all searches take place on mobile, and according to Business Insider, 45 percent of all e-commerce will happen on mobile by 2020.

Speed is crucial for driving traffic & making a sale

The auction site’s confident leap into the world of the accelerated mobile experience proves that fast-loading, neatly formatted, easy-to-use content is the best way to drive conversions and sales. Not only does Google penalize slow pages, but according to JeffBullas.com, one added second of load time can decrease traffic by 11 percent, and four seconds of load time can cause 25 percent of users to jump ship. 

Site performance and speed are such high priorities for users, it is no surprise that both competition and adapted uses of the format have arisen. Facebook and Apple have their own versions of fast-loading formats, and each are working to expand the potential uses.

Google makes the rules, and you need to adopt them

Not only is mobile use growing, but Google wants it to continue trending upward. Currently, AMP is in the featured box in a mobile Google SERP, and the only way for your content to be in that box is for it to be AMP optimized. The format has already expanded to Google News and the iOS Google app, and recipes are also starting to show up as AMPs.

The best way to find success with Google is to understand exactly how they think – this is becoming one of my favorite mantras. In this case, that means using the product that they are rewarding and featuring in search results. In fact, Google’s advice for AMP has been quite clear: At SMX Seattle in June, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes flat out advised us to “pay attention to AMP. It’s going to be really big.”

AMP is no longer just for National Geographic or The New York Times. It’s time for your brand to start testing the waters along with eBay. We see now that Google allows, and encourages, non-news brands from getting in on AMP, so dive in and see how you can optimize your site.

Ben Silverman
Ben Silverman is a former marketing writer for Brafton. His writing experience dates back to his time reviewing music for The UMass Daily Collegian at UMass Amherst. Ben comes from a background in marketing in the classical and jazz industries.

Thoughts?

  • http://bit.ly/11F2eas Philip Cohen

    “There are a lot of questions out there and I don’t have any of the answers,”—eBay CEO Devin Wenig, Goldman Sachs Technology And Internet Conference, 10 Feb. 2016.

    Fortunately, it’s otherwise always been easy to tell when an eBay spokesperson is being disingenuous—their lips are moving …

    And, notwithstanding the constant stream of disingenuous and delusional nonsense that flows from eBay/PayPal, the share price history of these two clunky operators demonstrates the reality:

    Aug 2007: (pre John Donahoe) EBAY ~$40; AMZN ~$40;
    Jul 2015 (pre eBay-PayPal split): EBAY ~$66; AMZN ~$480;
    Jul 2015 (post-split): EBAY ~$28; PYPL ~$37; AMZN ~$530;
    Recently: EBAY ~$24; PYPL ~$37; AMZN ~$743—LOL …

    PayPal is still standing still, and eBay has for years been effectively going backwards—at a steady rate of knots.

    Notwithstanding the “spin-off” of PayPal from eBay, eBay and “PreyPal” remain effectively joined at the hip—for at least the next five years—and anyone that thinks otherwise is simply uninformed; and, thanks to a continuation of most of the destructive policies introduced over the eight year reign (2007–2015) of the “Pain from Bain”, John Joseph Donahoe II, the eBay marketplace is continuing on its slow journey down the toilet; nevertheless, during Johnny Ho’s occupation of the eBay corner office, this cretin and his gang of hand-picked Keystone Kops still managed to obtain for themselves massive, unearned, “performance” bonuses—while the company’s shareholders received not one penny.

    PayPal’s one-time adoptive parent, eBay, is likely the most unscrupulous commercial entity operating on this planet; but, have no fear, eBay is an equal-opportunity fraudster; demonstrably, they will knowingly aid and abet the defrauding of buyers by unscrupulous eBay merchants who bid on their own auctions, and, conversely, of honest sellers by unscrupulous buyers—as long as there is a financial benefit in such fraud for eBay.

    eBay’s auction format has been atrophying ever since 2008 when the cretinous Johnny Ho further anonymized bidder IDs to better hide, and further aid and abet, demonstrably rampant shill bidding fraud on consumers by unscrupulous sellers. As time has passed, fewer and fewer people remain naïve enough to still believe that, contrary to its claims, eBay has ever had any intention of protecting consumers from such rampant auction fraud—from which eBay profits. eBay is not concerned about “fraud” unless it directly impacts eBay; eBay has only ever been interested in their FVF, regardless of whether or not the transaction is a fraudulent one. And, a few years ago, eBay raised their final valuation fee (FVF) to 10%, and also removed the fee tiers that moderated the fee paid on higher value items. And so, eBay as a whole has likewise, and deservedly, continued to atrophy.

    In early January eBay invited consumers to auction their unwanted Xmas gifts on eBay. And, if you didn’t know what your unwanted gift may be worth, eBay’s advice was to start the auction at 99c and watch the fun—as your item likely sold for 99c—always presuming you weren’t bidding on the auction yourself (and assuming that you or anyone else was able to find the listing in eBay’s manipulated search), in which case you would likely finish up buying it yourself; but that’s OK with eBay too; they don’t mind whether the sale is real or faux, as long as they get their final valuation fee.

    And now, “Having a rough day? Users with similar health profiles to yours typically feel better after purchasing product A, which is available nearby”—eBay Patent App. Additionally, eBay has patented a system to stop the spread of diseases—LOL

    The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the unscrupulous, the malevolent, the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid. …

    For a detailed analysis of the ugly reality of eBay’s demonstrable, calculated, facilitation of endemic shill bidding fraud on consumers on its auctions marketplace, Google “Shill Bidding on eBay: Case Study #5″