Twitter Will Send Moments Readers to AMP Pages Any Time It Can

Mobile Users Will Always Land on Lightweight Pages If They Exist

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Twitter Moments aim to connect visitors with live updates on big events.
Twitter Moments aim to connect visitors with live updates on big events. Credit: Twitter

Twitter will automatically take mobile users who click links in its Moments section to sped-up AMP pages every time it's possible, the company said Wednesday, lending momentum to the effort to improve the mobile web experience.

Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP for short, deliver content at near instantaneous speeds by keeping the amount of JavaScript tags on each web page to a bare minimum. Less ad tech means shorter load times. Major publishers including The New York Times, Washington Post and BuzzFeed have been trying out the approach since last month.

"Publishers today publish desktop pages, mobile pages and now, AMP pages," said Michael Ducker, group product manager, Twitter. "The difference between a standard mobile web page and an AMP page is night and day."

To put Mr. Ducker's comments in perspective, a desktop version of a news story can have more than 100 JavaScript tags, and each tracker slows down page loading times. An AMP version of the same story could have a total of 21 tags and load near instantly.

Mr. Ducker said Twitter will now "intelligently" detect whether a publisher supports AMP. If they do, mobile users who click on URLs within Moments will be taken to the AMP verson of that story, even if the link was meant for desktop.

Publishers not building AMP pages won't be penalized, Mr. Ducker said. Non-AMP pages will also still be featured in Moments and operate as they did previously.

"Our end customer consumes a lot of mobile web content and yet the mobile web itself has not caught up to the same speed paradigms that native apps have created," Mr. Ducker said. "Through a lot of reasons there has not been enough constraints on the mobile web to get it run really fast on the mobile browser."

Facebook's Instant Articles and Apple's News, for example, load quickly but keep their content within their own platform. Unlike those, AMP is open source, meaning anyone can modify and implement it for their own use.

The next question for AMP is what happens when consumers get used to fast speeds and click on an ad that takes them to the old, slower mobile web. Mr. Ducker said he's thought about that, adding that he's been in discussions with several brands about creating AMP landing pages for them. "We are in early discussions with brands," he said, declining to name which. "But AMP is an open framework so you should be able to extend that to advertisers in the future."

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