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The Definitive Guide to Google Optimize

Google Optimize Guide

Optimization is vital for reaching the maximum potential of your marketing funnels and campaigns. However, each tweak and A/B testing process on a given website won’t mean that you’ll have an immediate increase in your conversion rate.

Entering Google Optimize, one of the most effective tools available for A/B testing and website personalization. Since its Beta version in 2016, it immediately sparked excitement in the marketing optimization niche. Today, everyone can utilize the tool to run A/B tests and experiments that deliver the maximum results from marketing campaigns.

Hence, in this definitive guide to Google Optimize, we’ll dive into all the details about the benefits of using the tool for your website, and the types of tests that you can conduct to uncover valuable conversion rate opportunities.

What Is Google Optimize?

Optimize is Google’s answer to A/B Testing! It’s a high-end tool that can help you make website enhancements and grow your conversion rates. Even the slightest changes in your page layout have the power to improve your conversion rate. Therefore, every website owner must use the Optimize tool to:

  • Improve the UX or conversion rate of the website.
  • Run A/B tests and redirect tests on single landing pages.
  • Run multivariate tests for higher trafficked sites.

Who Should Use Google Optimize?

Google Optimize is suitable for anyone that works in content and web development and wants a better web experience and campaign ROI. Marketers can run experiments on landing pages for better conversion rates. Publishers can analyze how to separate site layouts that affect user behavior. Social media managers can experiment with sharing tactics, and web designers can analyze different designs.

Google Optimize Prerequisites

Before you can begin with Google Optimize, you’ll need several key things.

First and foremost, you must have a functional Gmail account. Next, you need to link your Google account to the Google Analytics property. When the aforementioned simple tasks, the next step is to have a correctly integrated Analytics script on your website site.

Next, it’s time to go to to generate your first container!

If that goes without a problem; the next thing that you need to do is to install the Optimize extension for Google Chrome, and you’re good to go! For more information on how to start with the tool, read Google’s instruction for deploying Optimize.

Google Optimize vs. the Rest

Of course, there are other optimization tools in the marketplace, such as VWO and Optimizely. But, how does Google Optimize stack up against these tools? Above all, Google Optimize is free, and that’s an immediate advantage over the paid versions of the aforementioned tools.

Common Characteristics

The common features that Optimize shares with tools such as Optimizely are:

  • Easy Integration: The set-up process is really simple, and it usually involves inserting lines of code to all the pages of your site. With Google Optimize, the code is incorporated with the Google Tag Manager, so setting up Optimize is effortless because you won’t need the code at all.
  • Visual Editor: The top optimization solutions all have intuitive visual editors to help you establish the variations that you want to test. Optimize allows you to download and install a Chrome extension for the visual editor on your Google Chrome browser.
  • Experiment Previews: The aforementioned tools allow you to sample your variations throughout different devices and make sure that they look exactly how you’ve imagined before the testing process.
  • Test Types: With the tools above, you can run split tests, A/B and multivariate tests.

Advantages of Optimize

an excerpt of Google Optimize interface

Image Source: Google Support

The biggest advantage of Google Optimize is in the effortless integration with Google Analytics. In essence, Google provides you with a unified platform where you can track the performance of your site and assess A/B testing results at the same time.

Optimize also allows you to choose your testing goals according to your Google Analytics goals which you’ve previously set up. This makes the testing process more straightforward and convenient.

The other key leverage of Optimize is its cost of entry. It’s free! Of course, from a financial perspective, this is perfect for you, but it is excellent for Google as well.

Google constantly works on innovation and improvement of its products. Therefore, with the rise of AI and machine learning, Google Optimize will become even more sophisticated in terms of page optimization. In the future, it might even start optimizing and running experiments automatically for you.

Drawbacks of Optimize

There are several drawbacks with Google Optimize’s free version that can be fixed if you opt for the paid, Optimize 360 version:

  • Limited Free Simultaneous Experiments: Optimize’s free version limits you to only 3 simultaneous experiments. If you’re just getting started with the tool, those 3 experiments might be enough for your business to begin with. But, if you’re getting serious about CRO, you need to run as many experiments as possible and exceed the potential of your pages.
  • Limited Free Experiment Goals: Optimize restricts the goals that you want to quantify for your experiments to 3. However, in most of the cases, measuring 3 goals is enough for you to gauge the winning combination.
  • Limited Free Multivariate Tests: The free version of Optimize restricts multivariate tests to 16. This is excellent if you want smaller multivariate tests, however, it’s not enough for greater tests where several page elements are involved.
  • No Real-time Data: With the experiments that you run in Optimize you don’t get real-time data reports. If you receive high traffic, it can get troublesome if you’re not capable to make decisions at the right moment regarding your experiments.
  • No Heat and Scroll Maps: Google Optimize depends on Google Analytics for insights and uncovering problems. Although this combination is excellent for getting a grasp about the cross-site experience, it’s not perfect for more in-depth on-page analysis. Tracking tools such as Hotjar provide features such as heatmaps, scrollmaps, and form analysis, something that is yet to be available in Optimize.

The Benefits of Using Google Optimize

google optimize insights result in beautiful website design

With Optimize, you can compare and test different website designs, layouts, and content with a subgroup of your target audience. As opposed to guessing what is the best layout for your page, with Optimize, you can run experiments that examine several designs with real-world users and get insights that you can clearly understand and implement.

Optimize uses Analytics data to analyze your experiments and turn your Analytics targets as experiment objectives. Furthermore, you can serve experiments to Audiences that you’ve previously defined in Analytics. Coupled with Google Analytics, Optimize helps you to target the experiments for a particular audience segment, enabling you to enhance the UX and boost your conversion rate.

In a nutshell, Google Optimize 360 provides you with the following benefits:

  • Quicker and recurrent A/B, multivariate, or redirect tests.
  • Winning experiment and test variants that can be applied quickly.
  • Having defined goals and audiences that can be utilized for running site experiments.
  • Working with detailed insights that can help you improve UX, marketing campaigns and overall ROI.
  • Operating with a visual editing interface which straightforwardly makes text and image modifications.
  • Advanced experiment targeting that helps you develop custom audiences.

The Type of Tests That You Can Run With Google Optimize

With Google Optimize, you can run the following types of experiments:

A/B Tests

A/B tests or A/B/n test, are random experiments that use two or more versions of the same page (A and B). The A version is the original one. Versions B to Z can have at least one altered element, for example, a differently shaped CTA button or variations in colors and graphics. In some experiments, the X version might even be a completely new version of the page.

Redirect Tests

A redirect test, (split test), is an A/B test that you can utilize to test individual pages against each other. With redirect tests, the page versions are recognized by the URL as opposed to an element(s) on the specific page. These tests are beneficial if you want to compare two completely different landing pages, or an entirely redesigned version of a page.

Multivariate Tests (MVT)

A multivariate test (MVT) tests at least two elements of variants at the same time and discovers the combination that brings the most potential. The MVT tests don’t show you which version of the page is the most effective one like the A/B test does. Instead, MVT determines the most beneficial variants of the respective elements, together with testing the interactions between those elements.

Wrapping Up

Google Optimize can help you to better educate your team about the design and the solutions that your website presents. In lots of cases, even the smallest modifications to elements can have a beneficial impact on your ROI!

If users engage more with the modified elements, you can proceed with the development process in that direction. But, if you detect that the alterations decreased the engagement, you need to test again to discover the right combination for better conversion rates.

Remember that in conversion optimization, there’s always room for insightful data and improvements. There’s always room for learning new strategies that can help you achieve your website goals. Thus, you should always be aware of the user behavior on your site and ensure your pages will stay ahead of the competition.

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