We all know now that simply having a website isn’t enough. To maximize conversions and drive growth, you need to test and iterate regularly.
Website testing and optimization is all about hypotheses. “If we change this button from blue to red, then we hypothesize more users will click on it.” We can speculate that our hypothesis is correct, but we won’t really know until we test it with real users.
Our prospects often ask us about testing. Most are aware that it’s an option (especially A/B testing), but many don’t have the experience or time to do it themselves. While there are many great testing tools out there, we recommend Google Optimize. It’s free, it’s powerful, and it integrates with other tools within the Google Marketing Platform like Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google Search Console.
What is Google Optimize?
Google Optimize is a free website optimization tool that allows you to test variables and see which performs better. These learnings empower you to make data-driven optimizations that improve your user experience and conversion rates.
What can you test with Google Optimize?
Using Google Optimize and Google Analytics, you can run an experiment (e.g. A/B testing) within specific audience segments to see how different types of users interact with specific elements of your website. This allows you to refine content for your target audience to drive more conversions and better-qualified leads.
You can experiment with all kinds of variables within Google Optimize, including:
- Button text
- Button colour
- Button placement
- Body copy
- Page layouts
- And more
Types of tests
A/B testing is the most common type of website testing. You can test one or more elements on a web page (Variant A, the original) against other variants (Variant B, C, D, etc.) on the same web page.
The original web page (Variant A) uses a blue CTA button. We can test this against Variant B (the same page with a red button) and Variant C (the same page with a green button). You can A/B test multiple variants at the same time, however, this can pose challenges for evaluating results. If you change a headline and the button colour, you won’t know if the results are driven by the copy or the button. This is where multivariate tests come in.
Multivariate Tests (MVT)
Multivariate tests are all about combinations. Test elements A and C to see if they get better results than A and B. Google Optimize will show you the combination that each element performs best in.
We can test two images with two different headlines. This allows us to test four different combinations and see which pairing is most popular with users.
Redirect tests are quite different from A/B testing and multivariate testing and provide valuable intel on landing page strategies or webpage redesigns. Instead of testing elements or combinations within the same web page, redirect tests pit an original web page (A) against an entirely different web page (B). Users are randomly sent down one path or the other to see which page performs best.
If the URL of our original landing page (A) is www.tillerdigital.com/landingA, the URL of landing page B might be www.tillerdigital.com/landingB.
How long should you run Google Optimize tests?
Because website traffic can vary from day to day, Google Optimize recommends running tests for at least two weeks, or until one variant has reached a 95% probability of winning. It’s important to run the test long enough to capture the ups and downs and avoid having results skewed by weekends or holidays.
Other tools for A/B testing and more
Google Optimize is our teams’ go-to testing tool. The seamless integration with Google Analytics makes it easy for our team to run tests and evaluate the results in context of our target audience. But Google Optimize isn’t the only website experiment software out there. If you want to explore other website optimization tools, check out these great options:
- Crazy Egg
Test, optimize, repeat
It can be easy to assume we know what our audience will engage with – but we don’t. Google Optimize takes the guesswork out of website optimization and gives you the hard data you need to update your website with confidence. And get better results.