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Getting started with Google Optimize

Google Optimize

What is Google optimize and is it worth it.

Are you using Google Optimize? If not, read on to discover how you can get started with this platform.

What is Google Optimize?

Google-Optimize-logo

It’s Google’s solution for A/B testing and personalization and is part of the broader suite of Google Marketing Platform products.

Why should you use Google Optimize?

You’ll have all your data in the same place, which means you can:

  • Set up A/B testing easier 
  • Set up more advanced targeting
  • Use more advanced and insightful reporting
  • Apply what you learn quicker

Now, the chances are that you’re already using an A/B testing platform. Admittedly, there are some amazing platforms out there, but Google Optimize could be a gamechanger.

Why?

  • If you already use Google Marketing Platform tools, Google Optimize brings a familiar user interface
  • Your data will be integrated across platforms, helping you become a more effective marketer
  • It’s free (but has a paid option, too!)

Speaking of which…

Is Google Optimize 360 worth it?

Google Optimize 360 is the paid version of Google Optimize.

Which version works best for you will depend on your marketing needs.

As a general rule:

  • Google Optimize (free) should be fine if you’re a small or medium-sized business or are just getting started with A/B testing
  • Google Optimize 360 (paid) will be better if you’re a bigger business or have sophisticated testing requirements

The image below highlights the differences in features between the two.

Google-Optimize-360-tabel

How to set up Google Optimize

  1. Getting Started
    Go here and click “Start for free.”
  2. Linking Google Optimize and Google Analytics
    Like other Google platforms, like Ads, Optimize will try and take you immediately into setting up your first test.

    Before you do that, link your Optimize and Google Analytics accounts.

    To do this:
    1. Click “Settings” in the top right
    2. Hit “Link to Analytics”
    3. Choose the property you wish to link to from the drop-down menu
    4. Click “Link”

  3. Installing the Google Optimize snippet
    Below where you linked to Google Analytics, you’ll see a section for doing this. You can use Google Tag Manager or manually add it to each page you want to test.

Installing the Google Optimize snippet with Google Tag Manager

To do this:

  1. Open Google Tag Manager and create a new tag
  2. Choose “Google Optimize” as the tag type
  3. Enter your Analytics and Optimize IDs
  4. Choose your triggering options – you can choose selected pages or the entire site
  5. Save, preview, and debug, and you’re ready to go

Installing the Google Optimize snippet without Google Tag Manager

Follow these instructions. 

What types of tests can I run with Google Optimize?

Google Optimize calls the different types of testing “experiences.”

To create one, click “Let’s Go” on your screen. You’ll then get asked what experience you want to create. Your options are:

  • A/B test. Test two versions of the same page to see which performs better. You’ll often change one specific part of a page, like a Call to Action.
  • Multivariate test. Test multiple versions of multiple elements to see which performs better. This might be different Calls to Action with varying button colors, for example.
  • Redirect test. Like A/B tests, but you test two different pages against each other. However, these might have the same information, just presented differently.
  • Personalization. Show different page elements to users based on things like their location and past browsing behavior.
A-B-test-google-optimize
A/B test
multivariatie-google-optimize
Multivariate test
omleidingstest-google-optimize
Redirect test

Setting up variants

Once you’ve set up your experience type, you need to set up a variant to test against the control page.

This is easy with Google’s WYSIWYG visual editor.

Simply add the Optimize browser extension if you wish to use this. If you typically use your developers to create test pages, you can continue doing this, too.

Configuring your experiences

Next, to configure your experience.

Objectives

First, you need to choose your objectives. These can be the usual things like pageviews bounce rate, but what makes Optimize amazing is that you can also select any of your Google Analytics goals.

Targeting

There are two parts to this.

First, you need to decide how many visitors will see each page. For an A/B test, for example, you may simply decide on a 50/50 split.

Next, you decide how to determine which visitors are part of the test you’re setting up.

For example, you can choose:

  • URL targeting – all visitors to a specific URL
  • Behavior targeting – new or returning users, or people from particular referral sources
  • Google Ads targeting – users who click your Ads, either overall or by campaign, ad group, or keyword
  • Geographic targeting– users from a specific location, available down to city level where Google has data
  • Tech targeting – users on a particular browser, device, or OS
  • JavaScript variable – a specific variable in the page’s source code
  • First-party cookie – users with a cookie from your site
  • Custom JavaScript – based on a returned value
  • Query parameter – particular pages or sets of pages
  • Data layer variable – key values in the data layer
  • UTM parameters – specific pages with utm_campaign tags

As you can see, Google Optimize enables you to get super specific with your targeting and understand what works for your visitors.

Using Google Optimize reports

You have many options for analyzing your data, but Google Optimize’s reporting interface is clean and simple to understand if you’re just getting started or are running simple campaigns.

From the reporting screen, for each experience, you’ll be able to see:

  • A summary header. This shows you a summary of your test results, the improvement of one variant versus the other, and the probability that each variant will be the best.
  • An objective card. This highlights the performance of your variants against the objectives you selected earlier. Don’t read too much into this in the early stages of your tests. Like any data collection process, you’ll have a wider confidence interval (more uncertainty) at the start, with this narrowing and being more definitive over time as you gather more data.

Have you tried Google Optimize yet?

If not, then what are you waiting for?

You’ve got nothing to lose by trying the free version. If it doesn’t work for you, you can simply continue using your existing A/B testing solutions!

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