Published on April 6th, 2018 | by Editor0
Google Releases Modern News Format with AMP Stories
Last week, Google released AMP Stories. Some may consider it the ‘Snapchat of News’, which is not an unfair simplification of the project. Regardless, it is undoubtedly the search engine’s answer to mobile optimization of information consumption as well as a solution to its users’ ever-diminishing attention span and craving for image-heavy and bite-sized content.
What are AMP Stories and how are they different from other forms of delivery?
Let’s first break down the name.
AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is a project Google has been working on for years, and for good reason. The ‘stories’ bit, then, comes from a need for shareable and engaging content.
While all-text stories have been valuable historically and still have their place in media today, interactive, quick-to-load-, full-screen, tappable ‘stories’ are more user-friendly. As the name suggests, they’re optimized for mobile devices but are still available on desktops.
Unlike stories that have been available on Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook for years, AMP Stories will be available for (virtually) an unlimited amount of time. By that I mean they won’t disappear after 24 hours.
I’ve mentioned that they aren’t meant to be text-heavy, so what type of articles are Google’s stories ideal for? Lists, timelines, quotes, and teasers, to name a few.
Who’s using them and why?
Google partnered with a short list of publishers to develop AMP stories: CNN, Conde Nast, Hearst, Mashable, Meredith, Mic, Vox Media, and the Washington Post. Keep in
mind publishers like Conde Nast have several publications under their umbrella name including Vanity Fair, Wired, Vogue and Glamour.
These easy-to-build snippets of shareable content have been successfully used by all of the above, in some cases to provide further context in the form of video/sound/animation and others to publish full stories, as The Washington Post did with a timeline of North Korea’s participation in the Olympics.
Google explained the power and usefulness of the new tool, calling it ‘a visual-driven format for evolving news-consumption.’ While a lot of the focus has been on how user-friendly and interactive the news experience is becoming, it’s also important to note how interactive the stories force staff members of newspapers and magazines to become. Reporters, designers, editors, and illustrators are all collaborating to bring relevant, easy-to-consume news to your fingertips.
How to make an AMP Story
While, yes, the tool is being pushed onto far-reaching publications, anyone can create and share an AMP Story for free. See how here.
Aspiring writers, bloggers, or influencers will benefit from making and sharing AMP stories on their own social channels but do be aware that Google isn’t going to publish every AMP story on its own pages. Some agencies provide AMP creation as a service.
What are the issues associated with AMP Stories?
1. Ad revenue: Publishers and Google remain uncertain as to how the stories will generate ad revenue. It’s likely that within stories there will be sponsored content, as is the case with stories on Snapchat and Instagram.
2. Adjusting to the new format: Publishers can’t recycle old content to push out on AMP Stories. Instead, they’ll have to generate ideas specific to the new format, focusing more on news that is easily transferred and understood through photos and videos.
3. Displaying AMP Stories: Google still isn’t entirely sure how the stories will be displayed. Will they opt for a new search bar? Will they display them in bubbles or squares at the top of their existing search bar? Will they create an entirely new app specific to AMP Stories? Publishers are keen to understand how they’ll be shared and to get some sort of guarantee of where, how, and when their stories will be displayed.
4. The future: It’s impossible to say whether this ‘story’ format is a trend or is – actually – the future.
See for yourself!
To see examples of these AMP Stories, visit g.co/ampstories on your mobile phone and search for one of the publisher’s names mentioned above. If you feel engaged and informed after viewing some of the available stories, it’s likely that Google will continue to expand and perfect AMP Stories. Only time will tell how the public and news will continue to interact, but it’s clear that the relationship between the two is evolving.