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Google Optimize - An A / B testing tool with numerous benefits

Anyone who has always wanted to know at a glance how their own website is performing best is well served with a testing tool like Google Optimize. As the Google tool already suggests by name, it's about optimizing your websites. You can find out how to do this in this article.

Table of Contents

What is Google Optimize?

Google Optimize is an A / B testing tool that makes things a lot easier for you when it comes to optimizing your website. As part of the Google Marketing Platform, the tool has some advantages over other testing tools that are created through numerous links to other Google products. There is also a free version of the tool that is already broadly based and is completely sufficient for many websites. We'll explain to you later how the paid version differs.

Why should you do website tests?

First of all: What do you even need a testing tool for your website for? A website contains all sorts of elements that users can interact with. To find out how to arrange and present these elements for your target group in order to achieve as many interactions as possible, you test different versions of your website.

With a testing tool, you can show your users different versions of your website and optimize your website based on the interaction data collected. This of course also includes optimizing the user experience. The better the user can move around on your website, the easier it is for them to contribute to conversions.

Google Optimize doesn't just allow you to customize simple designs and content. Suppose you are in the B2B business and want to find out whether you can encourage your users to buy more if you can display the prices without registering. Thanks to the intuitive user interface, Optimize allows you to implement such changes with a little CSS and HTML know-how.

What kind of tests can Google Optimize do?

In Optimize you have different options for tests that you can start. A classic distinction is made between A / B tests, multivariate tests and personalization.

A / B tests

In A / B testing, you compare two versions of your website by adding an edited version to your original page. Some of your users are shown variant A, the other variant B. The division of users who see a certain variant can be adjusted. So it doesn't have to be 50/50. As an example, in the following we assume that 50% of users see website A and the remaining 50% see website B.

In addition to more complex adjustments, such as the B2B story described above, you can change the shopping cart button here, for example. With the test you can find out which shopping cart button variant encourages more users to put products in the shopping cart.

Very simple example: You adjust the color and size of the button and your call-to-action says once "In the shopping cart" and once "Add to the shopping cart". In order to obtain the most reliable figures possible in the evaluation, a period of several weeks is advisable. At the end of the test period, the test results tell us that the users of website A converted better (+ 5%) than the users to whom website B was played.

A / B testing with Google Optimize

Based on these results, you can now adjust the shopping cart button for all users accordingly.

Multivariate testing

With multivariate testing, the combination with the best conversion rate can be identified using several variables in different arrangements. For example, you test a red button on websites A & B, and a green button on C & D. On websites A & C, the button says "Add to basket" and on websites B & D "Add to basket" . This is how you can find out how to ideally adapt your call-to-action button for your users.

Multivariate testing with Google Optimize

personalization

In addition to A / B tests and multivariate testing, you can also tackle topics such as personalization in the next step. You can use Optimize for the different target groups to play out permanent, tailor-made website variants. So it's no longer just about testing itself, but about offering permanent adjustments for different users.

Let us assume that you have defined a target group A that has a lot of purchasing power and likes to move into the "novelties" in your online shop. With Optimize you can put the focus for target group A on the novelties by highlighting them on your website. Target group B, however, are those who drop out of purchases. You could, for example, make the “Sale” category more prominent for this target group in order to persuade them to make a purchase through low prices.

Depending on how you define your target groups, you can play out the most varied of variants for them.

Personalization with Google Optimize

Requirements for using Optimize

Google Optimize can only be used in combination with Google Analytics. In order to be able to use the tool, you must have integrated Google Analytics on your website. You need the Chrome web browser to create Optimize Tests. If you just want to see the results, you can do this via other browsers.

Integration of Optimize

If you already have a Google Tag Manager installed, setting up Google Optimize is child's play. The GTM already offers you an Optimize template with which you can start. But you don't necessarily need a GTM. You can also embed the Optimize Code directly in the source code of your website. Here you can find out how to set up Google Optimize and create the first tests.

Simple A / B tests can be created even without great knowledge of CSS and HTML. The "WYSIWYG Editor" is available for this. A test always has one or more predetermined goals and a fixed period of time.

Advantages over other testing tools

Of course, Google Optimize isn't the only testing tool out there. Nevertheless, Google's tool has some advantages over tools such as AB Tasty, Optimizely or Test & Target.

Link to Google Analytics

Google Optimize scores with its link to Google Analytics. The interaction of the tools allows you to transfer your GA goals as test goals in Optimize. Class? We think so too. In this way, the data that are collected from the tests can be placed and analyzed much more precisely next to the actual goals.

Linking Google Ads

The tool gets the second big plus point through the integration of Google Ads. So you can test the value of the landing pages of your Google Ads campaigns in Optimize. The results of the tests can also be evaluated within Google Ads at the account, campaign, ad group and keyword level.

Testing in Firebase

You can even run A / B tests in Firebase apps. Tests in Firebase Remote Config and Cloud Messaging are possible.

Target groups

Here is one of the great advantages of the paid version and therefore unfortunately not available in the free version: Target groups. With the link to Google Analytics, the target groups defined there can be optimized directly in Optimize and used as target group for the various variants.

For example, if you want to run a campaign with special discounts for a high order value to particularly well-funded users, you can play out the campaign variant adapted for this target group, which you have defined in GA.

Optimize vs. Optimize 360

The free version of the tool already offers you many opportunities to test your website. For everyone who would like to try out the tool for a few optimizations on the website, the free version is more than sufficient.

For more complex tests, Google also offers an enterprise version with Optimize 360 ​​that includes more features. You can find the differences in the table:

OptimizeOptimize 360
Up to 16 combinations in multivariate tests (MVT)Up to 36 combinations in multivariate tests (MVT)
max. 3 pre-configured test targetsUp to 10 pre-configured test targets,
more available after launch
max. 5 tests at the same timeMore than 100 * tests at the same time
FreeMonthly invoice
No integration of target groups from Google AnalyticsIntegration of target groups from Google Analytics possible
Self-Service Help, Community Forum (Certified Partners)Enterprise service, support and SLAs

Those who plan a lot with Optimize and are thinking about a long-term integration of the tool should consider purchasing Google Optimize 360.

In general, it can be said that Optimize is suitable for small to medium-sized companies that are new to website testing. Optimize 360 ​​is ideal for large companies that want to create more complex tests.

Conclusion

Optimize is the perfect testing tool for those who are already working with other Google solutions. Even so, Optimize is an intuitive, useful tool. Thanks to the simple user interface, it offers you the opportunity to make simple adjustments to your website without in-depth technical know-how and to learn from the results. At the end of your test phases you will have meaningful values ​​with which you can optimize your website and achieve your goals better in the long term. The testing tool paves the way for the personalization of websites and thus for the future of online marketing.

Ariane Calis

Ariane Calis is a data development consultant at lunapark. In addition to web / app tracking, the subject of GDPR & ePrivacy is one of her main topics. Before that, she studied media and communication management at the MediaDesign University in Düsseldorf.

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