As the mobile web has overtaken desktop as the primary way people access content online, the way publications designand display webpages has taken on increasing importance. Mobile is a notoriously tricky platform. Limited data plans, fickle networks, and slower processing speeds mean that website owners need to be especially conscious of how their pages are built and displayed. Especially on mobile devices, poorly designed or slow-loading pages can dramatically increase bounce rates and result in lost ad revenue.
In 2015, Facebook and Google introduced initiatives designed to improve the mobile web experience for users. Both share the goal of making pages that load faster and use less data than desktop pages. In this article, we’ll look at how Facebook Instant Articles and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) compare, so you and your content team can be prepared before you make any changes to your mobile content strategy.
WHAT ARE THEY EXACTLY?
At their most basic level, both Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP are designed to help content (specifically static content, like words and pictures) load faster on mobile devices than a typical web page. In the specifics of their design and execution, though, there are some real differences.
First, let’s look at how users access each type of page. Facebook Instant Articles works inside the Facebook app, allowing brands to publish articles directly into Facebook’s News Feed rather than relying on outbound links. That means users can open and read entire articles within the Facebook app. For Facebook, this is a huge advantage, as it gives users one less reason to leave the app while also potentially generating ad revenue for Facebook.
Google Accelerated Mobile Pages work a bit differently. Where Facebook Instant Articles only appear inside the Facebook app, AMP articles appear inside your mobile web browser on Google search results pages. That makes them feel less like a whole new experience than an optimized version of traditional mobile web pages. The only thing that distinguishes them from typical search results is that they appear in a carousel at the top of the search results page and feature publication logos and thumbnail images that help them stand out. In order to spur adoption of the AMP standard, Google is also encouraging other sites, like Twitter and Pinterest, to support embedding AMP pages on their services as well.
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