Everything you need to know about Google Optimize, the new, free A/B testing and personalisation tool arriving in 2017

Google's new A/B Testing Tool

Everything you need to know about Google Optimize, the new, free A/B testing and personalisation tool arriving in 2017

Attention all who want more money out of their website: Google are releasing a free version of their A/B testing and personalisation platform. Called Google Optimize, it is officially arriving in early 2017 (I’m afraid we don’t know more than this!).

The program will make what was once only available to Google Analytics 360 customers open to everyone. Below we detail and discuss what is expected from Google Optimize, how it compares to Google Optimize 360 and competitor A/B testing platforms.

Let’s jump right in and cover the reasons why Google Optimize will help improve your conversion optimisation strategy, getting you more money, more results, and a far improved online customer experience.


google optimise screen

7 reasons why you should use Google Optimize


1. It won’t cost you anything


Let’s start with the obvious. The fact that Google Optimize is completely free is great, considering that investing in Google Analytics Premium will set you back around £90,000 a year (which is currently the only way to get access to Google Optimize 360). Now price isn’t a barrier, everyone can A/B test and improve their site with this awesome new tool. If you’re already thinking about investing in Google Optimize 360, getting Google Optimize is a great way to trial the product before you invest in the Analytics Premium 360 Suite.


2. A very slick visual page editor means you don’t need coding knowledge


Google Optimize makes creating page variations the easiest ever by including a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) visual page editor. You’ll be able to change page elements with the click of a button, without needing to recode your site (it’s like Optimizely on steroids). If you do want to experiment with more advanced page changes, Google Optimize gives you the option to edit HTML and JavaScript code so you’re not restricted when it comes to creating page variations.


3. It’s fully integrated with Google Analytics


What we believe really sets aside Google Optimize from other A/B testing platforms is that it allows you to make use of an incredibly rich pool of data from Google Analytics, meaning you can create more valuable, informative experiments. For example, you can use goals for your tests which you have already set-up in Analytics (examples of goals for an ecommerce website could include making a purchase or completing a form). This will save you time when you come to setting up a test and will allow you to immediately track all relevant metrics.


4. You can now personalise customer experiences


With Google Optimize, you can apply the following advanced targeting options to aim your tests at specific users and personalise your customer experiences:

Tick Point  Standard page URL targeting: You can set URL rules to run your tests on a specific section of your site. Query parameters allow you to target users depending on the search terms they’ve used and campaigns they’ve been referred by.

Tick Point  Geo targeting: Used to target users from a specific geographical area. Geo targeting variables include city, region, metro and country.

Tick Point  Behaviour targeting: Behaviour targeting allows you to target new and returning visitors, and visitors who arrived to your site from a specific channel or source.

Tick Point  Technology targeting: Technology targeting allows you to target users visiting from a specific browser, operating system or device.

Tick Point  Advanced Client-Side Signals: Client-side functionality allows you to use almost any data that’s on a webpage. You can target logged-in users with a first-party cookie or JavaScript variable. Optimize offers an activation events feature, giving you full control over when your tests run.


But what’s so great about personalisation you ask? It’s because of the strong psychological effects personalisation has on us:


Tick Point  It reduces cognitive load: When it comes to choices, less is often more in the world of ecommerce. For example, too many product choices can be overwhelming, effectively paralysing decision making. Personalising a customer experience means they’ll only see relevant content, reducing the number of product options they see and increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Tick Point  A personalised experience is more relevant: We’re naturally more inclined to engage with content that’s relevant to us. Personalised content provides more value to us, meaning it’s more interesting, engaging and better captures our attention.

Tick Point  Personalisation helps build rapport with your customers: Personalising your visitors’ experiences will make them feel special, showing them you’ve taken the time to consider their interests and values. This helps you develop the customer relationship by building rapport with your visitors, subsequently increasing customer loyalty.

The data speaks for itself when it comes to how personalising the customer experience will benefit you and your business:

Tick Point  It’s Proven to Boost sales: Businesses that are currently personalising web experiences and who are also able to quantify the improvement are seeing increases in sales of 19% on average (Econsultancy)

Tick Point  It’s Proven to Increase average order value: 54% of retailers that use automated product recommendations increased their average order value year on year (Forrester Research/shop.org)

Tick Point  It will help you get ahead of your competition: Over a third of companies do not implement any form of personalisation, according to a report from Econsultancy. Get ahead of your competitors by investing in personalisation using Google Optimize.

Google Optimize will help you move away from a one-size-fits-all approach with personalisation. This is a unique point of value that makes Google Optimize stand out from the crowd when it comes to selecting an A/B testing platform.


5. You can carry out Multivariate, A/B, and Redirect tests


Google Optimize allows you to carry out multivariate, A/B and redirect tests, expanding the insight you can get from testing. The addition of multivariate testing will allow you to test two or more elements simultaneously to see which combination of page elements achieves the best results. For example, you could change a headline, image and CTA at the same time to identify the best combination for a page.


6. Now you can both set pages live which you know will convert and build a growth culture in your business


A/B testing with Google Optimize means you won’t have to encounter disagreements in marketing team meetings anymore over what colour CTA will convert best. You can now base your page designs on data and statistics. This ensures you don’t waste time and money building and setting a page live that doesn’t actually convert. Now you can create a culture of growth and optimisation in your business, meaning your team will learn to highly value testing, learn from it, and see data as more important than opinion.


7. Your customer’s information is kept private


Because Google Optimize is completely integrated with Google Analytics, this means that your customer information will not be shared with anyone and kept within the Analytics platform.


Is Google Optimize as good as the paid version?

Now, you may be thinking Google Optimize sounds great but will it be as good as the paid version? Of course, Google Optimize 360 does have features which Google Optimize doesn’t (like any free version of a full-priced product) however, Google Optimize is still well worth getting, including the following great features:


Tick Point  Complete integration with Google Analytics

Tick Point  Advanced targeting options to deliver stronger, personalised customer experiences

Tick Point  Run optimisation tests easily and quickly

Tick Point  Run several experiments simultaneously

Tick Point  Deploy experiments with Google Tag Manager

Tick Point  Multivariate testing feature

Tick Point  The mobile web editor allows you to configure mobile experiments to different devices, ensuring that your test variations display clearly on all models and screen sizes

Tick Point  Access to customer self-service help centre and community forums

Tick Point  Easily create page variations (no code knowledge needed) with the visual editor

Tick Point  The option to create more advanced page variations using HTML and JavaScript code editing

Tick Point  Bayesian statistical methods model the real-world performance of your experiments, allowing for more accurate results

Tick Point  An experiment summary feature gives you clear, action-oriented results so you can find out if your page variant outperformed the original and if a clear leader was found

Tick Point  Manage your experiments easily with an activity log which keeps a chronological history of changes made, preview mode so you can see how the variant you’ve created looks on different platforms and devices, and the option to manage user permissions


There are a few things of note that Google Optimize 360 offers that Google Optimize does not. Here are the ones you should be aware of to ensure you get everything you need from your A/B testing:


No Analytics Audiences: Though you’ll be able to use advanced targeting with Google Optimize, unfortunately you won’t be able to use Analytics Audiences. To make sure you target only relevant users in Google Optimize you’ll need to make use of a combination of the other targeting options previously discussed.


Limitations on goals, experiments and multivariate testing: You’re limited to 3 objectives/goals per experiment. You’re also limited to running 3 experiments at a time and 16 types of multivariate test. If you’re a larger enterprise who really wants to invest in A/B testing and implement an intense conversion strategy, Google Optimize 360 may be more suitable for you. However, If you’re a small business these limits shouldn’t be a problem and you will still be able to run powerful, valuable A/B testing with Google Optimize.


Google Optimize process

Why Google Optimize outperforms other A/B testing platforms


There are a lot of A/B testing tools out there aside from ones offered by Google, meaning that it can be overwhelming when trying to choose one which best fits your business needs. We’ve evaluated Google Optimize against the competition (as far as we can considering it has yet to go live) including:


one Visual Website Optimizer

two Adobe Target

three Optimizely

four Unbounce


From our research, we’ve concluded that Google Optimize is far superior compared to competitors in the following ways:

  1. Personalisation and testing in one package: With Google Optimize, you get both personalisation and testing in one platform (with other competitors, the two come separately).
  2. Native Integration with Google Analytics: This speeds up you’re A/B testing set-up and helps you generate richer results. This isn’t a feature offered by competitors which really makes Google Optimize stand out from the rest.
  3. Advanced targeting options: You can target experiments for a great number of variables meaning you can truly personalise the customer experience.
  4. Easily deploy experiments: With Google Optimize, there is no need to rely on tech teams to create, implement, and deploy the website variations.
  5. Privacy is integral: your customer’s information won’t be shared with marketers.
  6. It’s completely free. You could potentially save 100s of £’s monthly on your optimisation costs.


In our opinion, it’s a no brainer that Google Optimize is the testing and personalisation platform to use seeing as it offers many of the features that competitor products do and it has features such as personalisation and analytics integration which others don’t.

How you can make sure you’re prepared for the launch


Google Optimize is expected to arrive this year, though an official release date isn’t available yet. In the meantime, we feel it’s a good idea to get yourself and your team prepared so you can get the best out of it.


  1. Clean up your analytics: We advise that you check your Google Analytics implementation is clean because discrepancies will impact the results you’ll get with your Optimize experiments (this is something we can help with). 
  2. Think about what to test: Start coming up with ideas for your testing now and get ahead of the game. Think about specific customers you’d like to personalise your site for. Investigate which pages on your website are underperforming by looking at key performance metrics using Analytics (this is also something we can help you with), so you can get started with A/B testing as soon as Google Optimize becomes available.

We believe Google Optimize is going to be a big competitor in the A/B testing field and we’re super excited for it to go live. The fact it so seamlessly integrates with Google Analytics, will include a visual editor and has personalisation capabilities makes it an ideal testing tool for us.  What are your thoughts on Google Optimize and what do you plan to test? Let us know in the comments section below and we’ll be sure to answer.


Written by Indiana Cheetham

Indiana is a Junior Conversion Optimiser at Neuro Web Marketing. She holds a degree in psychology and conducts research to identify why site visitors aren't converting. Indiana has a deep interest in the application of psychological principles, behavioural economics and persuasion within conversion optimisation.

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