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Email Marketing | Coding

We Sent Our First AMP Email: This Is What You Should Know

As we've predicted in 2017, one of the future trends in email marketing will be interactive emails. Today this can be achieved with the help of AMP technology.
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is Google's technology that was developed to speed up the page's loading time on mobile devices if the connection is slow.
AMP slightly differs from ordinary pages:
  • HTML format is replaced with AMP HTML, where part of the tags are replaced with AMP tags and some HTML tags are forbidden entirely;
  • only certain javascript libraries can be used, they are placed in the Google CDN;
  • Google's search system caches the AMP pages and shows them to the user from its servers.
In February of 2016, the AMP HTML technology became available for everyone. Two years later, in February of 2018, Google announced AMP4Email. This technology has a bit of a different purpose - it is used to make the emails interactive and dynamic.
We got used to the fact that javascript cannot be used in emails, which is why they tend to be very static. Google suggested making a letter in the new AMP4Email format that supports Google's Javascript components. The number of components is not big yet, but it already allows the addition of animations, image carousels, and forms to emails.
From the point of view of email marketing, in theory, it's all simple. But as we know, an email can be in two formats simultaneously: in text and HTML formats. If your email client supports HTML you will see the email in HTML format. If it doesn't - you'll see the text variant. Google has suggested adding another format into an email - AMP4Email. If a user can't see the dynamic email because of any reason, they will see it in HTML format.
Google's guide has quite a detailed description on how to write an email in AMP format. But how can you send it? How can you add the third display variant to it?
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No email messaging platform had such an ability when we tried to send our first email—in May 2019. Even the Gmail web client wouldn't let you send an AMP email. At that time AMP emails could be sent to yourself only via sandbox.
Note: now you can check the list of ESPs and email clients that support AMP in the specs.
Fortunately, the nodemailer program library has already been supporting AMP4Email and we've even written our own mini-program to send such an email. It is very simple and it's no use to place its code here.
However, it wasn't enough. We've been sending AMP emails and the addressees have only seen their HTML versions.
To send the dynamic letters to Gmail inboxes you'll need to get permission from them. And to do that you need to comply with the terms and fill out the application form. We did it and now we can send you AMP emails.
We've also asked Mail.ru for permission to send dynamic emails. Their terms are not so strict and they answer within a day. Here are the terms (if you have some audience from CIS this algorithm can be useful for you, if you don't - just skip it):
  1. Add the AMP part to one of your existing letters.
  2. Make sure that it can pass the SPF, DKIM and DMARC tests.
  3. Send us the email address you use to send your emails so that we can add it to the whitelist.
After all of this, we could send a dynamic email and it looked nice in the new Mail.ru web client - Octavius. However, not every Mail.ru user had it set up by default. On mobile devices, it still was displayed in HTML format, but the Gmail mobile client displays the dynamic emails.
 countdown email
So, what is the result? It's difficult to start using the new technology yet, so it is used really seldom. Maybe, in the future, when you won't need to get permission from Gmail or Mail.ru and other terms for dynamic emails will be removed or changed, everybody will enjoy dynamic, interactive emails. As for now, it is a toy for anyone who likes to try something new.
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