Is Google Optimize the Best New Solution to Website Testing?
At Adept, we believe design choices should be based on actual performance and user behavior, not gut instinct. We recently tested out Google Optimize, and here’s what we thought.
At Adept, we believe in the power of testing and experimentation. It’s no longer a question of:
Which new website design change should we roll out?
It’s a question of:
How many different design variations can we test over time to maximize performance?
By using various testing platforms and technology based on our clients’ needs, we seek to make design choices based on actual performance and user behavior, not simply on gut instinct.
Ultimately, we know website testing drives better decisions. And better decisions drive improved performance.
Where Google comes into Play
Google also recognizes the crucial need for website designers, developers, and marketers to test their design ideas, and has recently entered the website optimization market. They’ve launched an end-to-end solution for experimenting on website experiences called Google Optimize.
Screenshot of Google Optimize
At Adept, we got early beta access, and we’re currently evaluating its viability to complement our other testing platforms like Optimizely, Visual Website Optimizer, and Unbounce. Here’s a brief look at some of what we’ve learned.
The most obvious benefit of Google Optimize is the ability to target any audience you build in Google Analytics (GA). Imagine the value of being able to target design experiences to advanced segments of users already created in your primary website analytics platform.
Some potential segments created in Google Analytics might include:
- Users with ecommerce transactions
- Visitors of particular pages
- New or returning visitors
- Returning visitors with a high lifetime value
- Individual user IDs
Even selecting goals to track against can be as simple as selecting those created in GA.
In addition to the data integration benefits, the consistent UI and account management experience across other Google products improves efficiency and general usability. Whether in Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, or Data Studio, you can expect a similar user interface, set of tools, navigation, etc.
Multivariate and A/B Testing Options
Similar to our other testing platforms, we can perform the following types of tests in Google Optimize:
- A/B/n: Test multiple versions of a web page, section, or elements to determine the best performing version
- Multivariate: Test multiple elements of a page to determine the optimal combination
- Redirect: Test completely separate web pages against each other using different URLs
Small Business and Enterprise Plans
Google Optimize currently allows even smaller companies to do website testing and optimization. Some limitations compared to the Enterprise level are:
- Inability to run experiments with advanced GA segments
- A limited number of concurrent experiments
- The number of targeting metrics
- Access to support
Unlike some other platforms, Google Optimize allows you to implement tagging with Google Tag Manager. Additionally, you’ll need to use a Chrome browser and Chrome extension to create your experiments. Most importantly, however, you’ll need to be sure Google Analytics is set up properly to accurately run reports, create audiences and set up testing objectives.
Overall, Great, but not without Imperfections
From our latest review of the platform, its limitations include:
- No ability to run multi-page experiments
- No ability to schedule start and stop times for tests
- No ability to perform testing across other platforms, like mobile apps, or within server-side application logic, e.g. search algorithms, recommendation algorithms, pricing & fees, site architecture, outbound marketing campaigns, transactional messaging, or product rollouts
Despite any shortcomings, we’re excited about the opportunity and future that Google Optimize is offering marketers, web developers, and our clients. And as Google and other technology and service providers help to usher in the future of website optimization and personalization, we’ll be ready.
Have you had a chance to test Google Optimize? If so, let know what your experience was like in the comments, or tweet at us. We’d love to hear your thoughts!