AMP for Email: The Present & Future of the Standard

April 22, 2024 | 4 minute read
Chad S. White
Head of Research, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
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When AMP for email was officially launched in March of 2019 by Google, it promised to bring standards-based interactivity and real-time content to inboxes, allowing brands to bring landing page and app-like functionality into their emails. With AMP for email components allowing marketers to create forms, carousels, accordions, drilldown menus, and much more, the potential payoffs for brands and consumers were huge. Indeed, some marketers using AMP for email have seen their engagement rates more than double.

However, most brands have found that reaping those benefits are impossible given the current barriers. Let’s talk about what those are and how they might be overcome. 

Headwinds for AMP for Email

While it promises big rewards, AMP for email asks big changes of email marketers and of the email marketing ecosystem.

First, AMP for email requires marketers to code a separate MIME part, using a different code base than they use for their standard HTML MIME part. While the AMP for email code isn’t particularly hard to learn, it does require additional training.

Second, marketers’ email service providers must support sending that AMP MIME part. According to the Email Sender & Provider Coalition (ESPC), a 2022 survey of its members found that only 22% of ESPs have made the necessary changes to their platforms to support their users sending AMP MIME parts.

Among those ESPs who don’t support the standard, 71% said the biggest reason is a lack of interest in AMP for email by their customers. The ESPC members whose platforms support AMP for email said that less than 5% of their customers routinely send messages that use AMP for email, which certainly supports the claims by the non-supporters that interest from marketers is low.

And third, support for AMP for email by inbox providers in the US is low. Currently, it’s supported by Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Russian email client Mail.ru for senders that maintain a good reputation. Microsoft piloted AMP for email after its launch, but shortly thereafter halted it. But the more important holdout is Apple, whose Mail app is used to open the majority of emails in the US, according to Litmus data

With some of our B2C clients, upwards of 75% of their subscribers are opening their email campaigns in Apple Mail. On the other hand, some of our B2B clients see fewer than 20% of their opens happening in Apple Mail, but in those cases Microsoft’s Outlook is making up much of that difference. Either way, the vast majority of brands can’t address the majority of their subscribers with AMP for email, which has seriously dampened their enthusiasm.

Beyond those important technical issues, AMP for email adoption was also hindered by:

  • The pandemic, which hit the year after AMP for email launched. That led to marketing layoffs and massive changes in customer behaviors, which caused marketers to focus on the basics, not “extras” like AMP for email.
  • Google stepping back from AMP for email, wanting the standard to stand on its own and not become synonymous with them. However, as a result, promotion of AMP for Email became much, much quieter.
  • Google dramatically deemphasizing AMP for webpages, which caused confusion about AMP for email as people proclaimed, “AMP is dead!”

For all of those reasons, adoption of AMP for email is much lower today than many expected.

What Will Change Its Fortunes?

Several changes could spur greater adoption of AMP for email, including more “no code” tools to make it accessible to non-developers and a rebranding to something other than “AMP,” which is now tarnished.

However, the biggest and most important change needs to be greater inbox provider support. Microsoft’s support would bring B2B marketers on board, while Apple’s support would bring B2C marketers on board, as well as some B2B brands. We know this would make a big difference in brand usage because there are markets today like India that have much higher inbox provider support for AMP for email and see greater usage and success.

However, in the US disillusionment has grown so much that some have called for AMP for email to be shut down. But success in Asia shows that it’s not the standard that’s the problem. It’s inbox provider support. Hopefully that will change over time.

It’s not unusual for email marketing trends to take a long time to mature. For example, the mobile-friendly email design movement was kicked off by the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, but wasn’t really fully adopted until Google started to prioritize responsive mobile sites in their search results in 2015. The SPF and DKIM email authentication standards were introduced around two decades ago, and yet Google and Yahoo just this year mandated them, along with other things in their list of deliverability requirements.

So, while we don’t see much of an opportunity for US and European brands with AMP for email today, that could change. However, for the foreseeable future, it’s difficult to see inbox support changing in order to make it widely viable, unfortunately.

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Need help with your email designs? Oracle Digital Experience Agency has hundreds of marketing and communication experts ready to help Responsys, Eloqua, Unity, and other Oracle customers create stronger connections with their customers and employees—even if they’re not using an Oracle platform as the foundation of that experience. Our award-winning specialists can handle everything from creative and strategy to content planning and project management. For example, our full-service email marketing clients generate 24% higher open rates, 30% higher click rates, and 9% lower unsubscribe rates than Oracle Responsys customers who aren’t.

For help overcoming your challenges or seizing your opportunities, talk to your Oracle account manager, visit us online, or email us at OracleAgency_US@Oracle.com.

Now completely updated, this blog post was originally published on April 23, 2019 by Chad S. White.

Chad S. White

Head of Research, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Chad S. White is the Head of Research at Oracle Digital Experience Agency and the author of four editions of Email Marketing Rules and nearly 4,000 posts about digital and email marketing. A former journalist, he’s been featured in more than 100 publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Advertising Age. Chad was named the ANA's 2018 Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year. Follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Mastodon.


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