In January 2023, Google announced its decision to phase out Google Optimize, its A/B testing tool. As of September 30, 2023, this popular experimentation solution for digital marketing will cease to function.
For several years, Google Optimize was a great go-to A/B testing platform for Google Analytics users. It offered a robust free version, installation was easy, and—most of all—it seamlessly connected to Google Analytics.
Alas, those days are coming to a close, and many marketers are scrambling to find an alternative to Google Optimize that is both robust and cost-effective. After all, even if Google is throwing in the towel, conversion rate optimization (CRO) isn’t going anywhere.
So how do we replace such a handy tool? Where should we look to next?
Let’s discuss what makes A/B testing so valuable, examine a few competitor options, and explore some features we’ll need to replace.
If you aren’t familiar with Google Optimize, or the purpose of A/B testing tools in general, here’s a quick introduction:
At a high level, these tools facilitate the testing of competing designs on your website or mobile app. A/B testing allows you to directly compare how a specific landing page, user experience, or call-to-action performs against a second (or third, or fourth, or fifth) design.
Most tools come with a plethora of targeting options. This allows you to test experiences by various criteria, including by campaign or source.
Wondering where to start your search for a Google Optimize replacement? Google itself suggests a trio of companies it’s “collaborating” with on integrations:
Among these options, Optimizely and VWO stand out as the most prominent players in the field of optimization. These tools offer comprehensive A/B testing suites and more. And the development collaboration with Google is expected to address the loss of perhaps the most significant Google Optimize feature—seamless integration with Google Analytics.
Naturally, the selection of an alternative to Google Optimize involves numerous factors that can significantly differ. Several critical considerations include the size of the company, the volume and complexity of traffic and tests, as well as any additional peripheral tools you may wish to incorporate.
If you were using the free version of Google Optimize to dip your toe into the A/B testing world, your needs may be significantly different than a company that was paying for Optimize 360 and running multiple concurrent tests.
What are some key features to look for in a Google Optimize replacement? Here’s a few elements to consider:
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of free options with which to replace Optimize. But there are a wide variety of price points.
Aside from the companies that focus only on enterprises, most tools offer a range of features. All are priced based on your site’s traffic volume or the number of visitors you plan to enroll in tests.
Most A/B testing tools have a calculator you can use to approximate pricing based on traffic. Keep in mind that if your company has additional needs, like a redlined contract or requirements for data storage, some tools may require you to opt into an enterprise plan.
Not all tools offer both A/B and multivariate testing at all feature levels. While the dream of a multivariate test is alluring, we recommend sticking to A/B tests unless you have a solid understanding of the reporting involved and, most importantly, a very large sample size.
In our opinion, you may be better off getting valuable data quickly from an A/B test than letting a complicated multivariate test run for months.
In our experience, personalization is a key feature for many clients and is a frequent feature on most (but not all) tools.
Personalization is most commonly used to roll out successful test variants to your full user base. But it is also a useful feature for streamlining the presentation of unique experiences based on targeting criteria—made easily available within an A/B testing tool—such as a campaign, traffic source, or device type.
Many tools state that you can test your mobile apps. If this will be a focus of your testing, however, you should look at tools that specialize in mobile app testing. Be sure to thoroughly review this feature on any web-centric platform.
When implementing a new testing tool, the ability to analyze and interpret results correctly is crucial. Optimize stood out thanks to its direct link to Google Analytics, which utilized existing analytics setups for test analysis. Unlike other tools that historically required tracking interactions separately within the A/B testing tool, Optimize streamlined this process.
Tracking interaction can be a cumbersome headache or relatively low effort. Without going too in-depth, this really depends on how your analytics are configured. In not-so-cleanly-implemented scenarios, you run the risk of increased overhead costs and inconsistent data between platforms.
Alternatively, you can display your AB test variation in your analytics tool and conduct analysis externally, but this means forfeiting the use of any proprietary “secret sauce” statistical significance calculations embedded in the testing tool.
The integrations Google is creating with the companies listed above will hopefully alleviate some of these challenges. It was Optimize’s main selling point!
Since BrainDo has a firm “tool agnostic” stance, we don’t directly endorse any of these tools. But we are happy to help clients assess a tool that should serve their A/B testing goals.
That said, based on recent experience, VWO consistently stands out for its competitive pricing, exceptional customer service, and adaptable approach to meeting client needs. If budget allows, it’s a solid starting point.
We encourage you to explore your options and find the vendor that best matches your needs. And if you need help with A/B testing considerations, or any other business intelligence needs, the web analytics and data science experts at BrainDo can guide you toward the right solution. Get in contact today!