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AMP for Email 101: Everything You Need to Know

Amna Bajwa

Are you looking to design emails that stand out, get conversions, and are pure pieces of art that your audience would love to interact with? Then look no further because the answer to your hopes and dreams is here: interactive emails.

According to research, 60% of recipients will likely engage with an interactive email. And more than 50% say they like it when they can interact with content directly within the email without being redirected to a new page.

But how do you actually include interactivity into your emails? Simple: AMP for email.

What is AMP for email, how does it work, and why should you even bother - these are all very valid questions we're going to answer right here. Let's get started.

What Is AMP for Email?

AMP for email is a framework that enables you to add interactive AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) components, such as carousels, accordions, etc., inside emails to create rich content that your recipients can interact with directly in the message.

With this dynamic email format, your message offers app-like functionality that we are otherwise used to seeing on dynamic websites or mobile devices.

The History of AMP for Email

In 2015, Google first developed AMP as an open-source technology to improve loading speeds on mobile devices by eliminating unnecessary code and scripts.

Over time, AMP evolved from just speeding up sites to providing other interactive elements in mobile results, such as carousels, AMP-based survey forms, and much more. The next natural step in this progression was to extend AMP to one of the most common communication channels - email.

That is precisely what Google did in 2018 when it announced AMP for email. Now, users can enjoy interactive email experiences without leaving their inboxes.

How Many Marketers Are Going to Use AMP for Email?

According to research by Litmus, out of the 55.6% of marketers who know what AMP for email is, 55.4% said they are “somewhat to very likely” to use it.

The remaining 44.4% admitted to not knowing what AMP for email is.

55.4% of marketers are ready to use AMP for email

6 Benefits of Using AMP for Email

Adding AMP elements in emails makes for a richer experience for all. It allows you to be creative and experiment with new designs and enables your readers to engage with your content in a completely new way.

These are just some of the benefits of using AMP emails. Let's dive deeper and examine six more reasons you should use AMP.

1. Keeps content up to date

With AMP elements, you no longer have to create new email designs every time you want to send your recipient's updated information, such as the latest job listings.

Instead, the dynamic content used in AMP for email ensures that your email content gets populated with live updates every time your reader opens it. This automatic content refresh is made possible using dynamic data via API calls.

Using such dynamic content eliminates the need to send newer, more relevant messages for each update, freeing up your recipient's inbox from excess clutter.

Think about the endless possibilities this brings you. All pricing, products, stock levels, content, and articles highlighted in your emails can always stay relevant now.

2. Provides a web browser experience within an email

Static emails just don't cut it anymore. If you want engagement, you need to provide a more interactive experience.

What does this interactive experience entail?

Providing your users with the ability to experience web pages right from their inbox. And that experience is made possible with AMP for email. Using AMP elements, you can allow your readers to complete actions within the email, similar to how they would in the browser.

For example, readers can perform tasks such as submitting multi-step forms, adding items to carts, etc., without having to leave their inbox. Pinterest even allows users to add pins to their boards instead of opening a new tab to do so.

Pinterest uses AMP emails to lets users add pins to their boards right from within their inbox

3. Improves engagement

The whole point of sending emails is to increase customer engagement and conversions. But if you're sending boring old emails, there's no way anyone will pay attention to them. However, send a fun email, and lo and behold, your users won't be able to take their eyes off it.

What does that mean for you? Better email engagement, of course. With AMP for email, you can include exciting visual elements and other creative content to engage your audience better.

Plus, better engagement also shows the email clients that you are an authentic and trustworthy sender. This helps add to your sender reputation and lowers the chances of you ending up in the spam folder, thereby improving your email deliverability.

4. Achieve conversion and sales goals

The longer your potential customer contemplates your email, the lesser the chances of them converting.

With AMP emails, you can reduce your audience's contemplation time by allowing them to finish the required action or transaction from within the email. This ease greatly helps in generating leads and converting them into customers.

5. Benefit from improved security

AMP for email doesn't allow any third-party advertisements in an attempt to limit security issues. This way, AMP can provide greater security and privacy for its users, protecting their information from any breaches.

Moreover, dynamic emails such as AMP are subject to more rigorous security protocols to protect your sensitive data and ensure privacy. Following are the protocols and certifications a sender is required to pass to prove their authenticity and be able to send AMP emails:

  1. Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC)
  2. Sender Policy Framework (SPF) authentication
  3. Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) authentication
Different protocols and certifications an email sender must pass to prove their authenticity

Once you obtain these certifications, only then can you register with your email client to whitelist your domain for sending AMP emails. This is an added step put in place simply to prevent any cyber crimes.

6. Great competitive advantage

Even though AMP for email has been around for a few years now, introducing interactivity into your emails still isn't something every email marketer is doing. So you can easily get ahead of the curve by adopting a technology others are still trying to figure out.

At the very least, simply being an early adopter will work as a great competitive advantage, highlighting how experimental and unique your emails are.

The Hurdles of Using AMP for Email

AMP emails open up the door to endless possibilities for creativity and experimentation. Having said that, we can't disregard the fact that it comes with its flaws, too (don't we all?). Let's look at the not-so-glamorous side of using AMP for email:

1. Unclear how to track performance

It's easy to track traditional emails. We already know what email marketing metrics to study, and every click and action performed can be precisely measured and followed.

However, the same doesn't hold true for AMP emails. If your customer can complete an action without leaving their inbox, how do you accurately track their activity?

Moreover, some AMP elements include hover-based interactions. In such cases, measuring your user's performance using conventional methods becomes challenging since there's no trackable clicking involved.

2. Limited support from ESPs

Right now, not all email service providers (ESPs) and email clients support AMP emails. So if you're using Gmail and sending an AMP email to someone on their Apple address, they won't be able to view it properly and make any sense of it.

List of the email clients that support AMP emails so far

Let's look at some of the main ESPs that support AMP for email:

3. Time-consuming to create

Even though AMP is an open-source framework for all, it still requires much time to learn and implement. There are no standard coding practices for AMP emails, so you have to figure it out on your own and learn a new language to do so.

If you want to give AMP emails a try but don't have the time to learn about them yourself, the next best option is to hire someone with coding skills to do it. Plus, there are a bunch of prerequisites as well that you need to follow to use the language.

The Prerequisites to Start Using AMP for Email

Unlike sending out regular emails, AMP emails come with more baggage. You need to meet a few prerequisites before you can get the go-ahead to use AMP for email. Here's everything you need.

1. Build your AMP email

Since not a lot of ESPs support AMP emails, you'll have to build your email by coding or working with email template builders that let you add AMP elements.

2. Handle authentication requests properly.

AMP emails often require authenticating the user. However, all HTTP requests made inside AMP emails within Gmail are proxied and stripped of cookies to protect user data. To authenticate requests made from AMP emails, you may use access tokens.

3. Fulfill security requirements

We've previously talked about dynamic emails being subject to greater security requirements. Ensure that you, the sender, pass the necessary protocols and certifications (i.e., SPF, DKIM, and DMARC) to prove your authenticity.

Apart from these safety protocols, you must also use TLS (Transport Layer Security) to encrypt the AMP email. This is necessary to ensure that the email is encrypted in transit.

4. Meet email testing requirements

To verify the contents of your AMP email, you can test it before sending it. There are two options for AMP email testing:

  1. Gmail's AMP for email playground lets you draft, preview, and send your AMP emails to your account for testing
  2. In the developers' settings of your Gmail account, you can whitelist an email address to then use for sending you dynamic emails for testing purposes
  3. Register with your chosen email client

Finally, when you're ready to send out AMP emails, you must first register with your selected email client. Registering is necessary to whitelist your domain and show that your emails are safe enough to bypass the spam filters.

7 Best AMP for Email Marketing Elements to Know About

AMP introduces several interactive and dynamic elements you can add to your emails. Here, we'll look at the top seven features that all email marketers need to know about.

1. AMP form

Previously, your forms might have seen minimal responses because no one wants to be directed to a new page to fill one out.

With AMP forms, you can collect feedback directly in the email. Incorporating this specific block into your emails will help increase response rates since you're saving your readers from the added step that would otherwise drive them away.

Here's how Doodle uses the AMP form element to create email polls for their users:

Shows how Doodle uses AMP forms in their emails

2. AMP accordion

The accordion feature organizes content in a more structured manner, helping you pack a bunch of information in your email while saving space. Accordions are a great way to showcase FAQs, menus, product information, etc.

3. AMP image carousel

Want to display multiple images but are short on space? AMP image carousel is a great solution, allowing you to showcase several images in a visually appealing manner.

4. AMP list

The AMP list block shows your readers refreshed content in real-time. So not only will your emails be informative, but they'll also be long-lived.

Here’s another example by Pinterest showing how AMP lists show new content after every click:

Shows how Pinterest uses AMP lists in their emails to provide up-to-date information

5. AMP sidebar

The sidebar is a collapsible slide-in element for temporary access, best used for navigation, menus, etc. Users can open or close the sidebar with a tap without disturbing the main email content under it.

6. AMP selector

With the AMP selector, your users can select multiple options in a form. For example, the selector tool enables users to choose the shoe they like, pick their size, and the color they want - all without leaving the email.

7. AMP lightbox

The AMP lightbox might just be the most complex of all these elements. It is a visual block that pops out and covers the email after a click. Users can then see a zoomed image on the pop-out or get a message as a result of their actions.

While this feature sounds great, in practice, it was super buggy. That is precisely why Gmail announced that they are dropping this AMP element altogether. So if you see it pitched anywhere else, don't fall for it.

Interactive Email Templates That Convert

Save the effort of creating beautiful, mobile-responsive emails.
Email Templates

Save Time by Using Unlayer's Email Builder

Instead of coding AMP emails yourself, an easier option is to choose an email builder that lets you add AMP elements. Look no further because Unlayer's user-friendly email builder does the job. Here's how Unlayer helps you easily add an image carousel to your emails. Here’s what it’ll look like:

Unlayer’s AMP carousel can be used in emails to highlight different images

Are You Going to Use Amp for Email?

To AMP or not to AMP - that is the question. AMP definitely does bring new levels of innovation to email. If used properly, it can skyrocket your customer engagement and truly set you apart from the competition.

However, remember that limited support from email clients means not everyone on your email list can enjoy your creativity. There's a lot to consider before diving into AMP for email. If you do try to give it a go, we can't wait to see what unique emails you create.


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