How to Improve your Website with Google Optimize

google optimize
As a web designer or web developer, you probably had feared when changing some elements or the content of your website. You probably think that those changes will impact your users.

All website development efforts could mean negative user feedback. That means that your efforts made your website worse instead of better.

Google Optimize will help you avoid those mistakes by analyzing the results of different variants of your website. Google Optimize is a testing tool which enables you to experiment with your website. Google Optimize will help you understand “what works” and “what doesn’t work” for your website.

Google Optimize consist of two crucial elements:
  • The visual editor, which enables you to create different variations of your pages.
  • The report suite, which uses data from linked Google Analytics to provide you with stats and metrics on each variation of your page.
There are two variants of Google Optimize called: Optimize and Optimize 360. Optimize is free, while Optimize 360 comes with a monthly fee.

In this article, we will go through the free variant of “Optimize” which is suitable for a small to medium-sized businesses.


Google Optimize Basics

To start using Google Optimize, you will have to choose one of your Google accounts and open: optimize.google.com. There, you just need to click “get started” and follow instructions to set everything up by your preferences. After your Google Optimize account is set, you will need to create a Container.


google optimize

Now, before creating an experiment, it is a good idea to link your Google Analytics account to Google Optimize.

If you use the same Google account for both services, you can just click “Link Property” and choose the property you wish to experiment with. In case you use a different Google account for Google Analytics than simply follow the Google guidelines to configure this (you will find this below “property list” when choosing “link property”).

After you chose a website you wish to experiment with, you will get a message “Add Optimize snippet to your site?”. This is a necessary installation step. Click “get snippet” and then copy the given code for the Optimize plugin into your existing Analytics tracking code. If you are unsure how to do this, we recommend letting professionals do this for you.


Create an Experiment

After you connect your website with Google Optimize, you can choose “Create an experiment” and click “create” on the right side of the interface. Now, simply give your experiment a name and paste  URL of the page on which you will experiment on.

For example, if you wish to test different variants of your “Contact us” page, use the page URL like www.example.com/contact. Then you will be able to select which type of experiment you wish to try.

There are three types of experiments you can choose:
  1. A/B test
  2. Redirect test
  3. Multivariate test.


A/B test

This test enables you to test two or more variants of your page to see which one performs better. This means you can check an original option of your page against new variants. Each variant is served the same amount of times so that its performance can be observed and measured independent of other external factors.

If you change the color or text content of only a few elements of the page, this will allow you to see which variant works better with your visitors. For example, you can change the color of buttons, images or text to get feedback on what works better.


Google Optimize

The variant on which you notice a lower bounce rate, may be a result of longer users sessions or increased number of any user interactions performs better. Logically, you should use the one that performs better.


Redirect test

A redirect test enables you to test the performance of separate web pages against each other. It is similar to an A/B test, but instead of comparing the performance of variations of one page, this test is comparing two or more completely different pages on different URLs.

This is useful when deciding which page will be used for particular goals. Google Analytics stats for this experiment will give you the needed feedback to determine what page to go with.


Google Optimize



Multivariate test

This test is for testing two or more variants of the elements simultaneously to see which combination of elements brings the best results.

Instead of showing which page variant is most effective (as in an A/B test), MVT identifies the most effective variant of each element as well as analyzing the interactions between those elements.

Multivariate tests are useful when it comes to optimizing more different elements of the page.


Google Optimize



Visual Editor

To create a variant of your page, firstly you need to download a Google Chrome Google Optimize extension. This will grant you access to the Visual Editor.

Once installed, you need to click “+New Variant” then name your variant and click “>” button. This will bring you to the Visual Editor where you can create a variant of your page.

The Optimize visual editor consists of three main components:


google optimize

The app bar is displayed on top of the page you are editing.

Main app bar functions:
  • Shows the name of the current experiment
  • Shows the status of your experiment
  • Shows the list of all changes made in the editor
  • Shows the list of variants
  • Allows you to move elements of your page as you like
The editor palette element appears in the lower right of the screen. When one element of a website is selected, it enables you to edit that element.

This includes typography, location, and a dimension editing tool. After making changes in the Visual Editor, you click save in the upper-right corner of the app bar.


Experiment Configuration

After you are done with the variants creation, it’s time for a final configuration. For this last step, you need to set the objectives and targeting. These objectives are either from a present list on Google Optimize or from the goals you have set on your Analytics account.

You can choose only one primary objective and two secondary objectives. So at the objectives tab, you can choose what you wish to track and then proceed to targeting.

The targeting option lets you set how many visitors you wish to target to see your page variant. For example, if you are doing A/B test, you can choose that 30% of visitors see your new page variant while 70% of visitors have your original page displayed.

You can also create a “rule” which determines when users are displayed with certain page variant. This is very useful when you want to target a specific audience with a chosen page variant. After your configuration is completed, you are ready to track the results of your experiment.

Our Google Optimize Test

We conducted a simple Google Optimize A/B test with two different looks on all our pages that include a sidebar. We had two different sidebar variants and set targeting of 50% of visitors to go to each variant.

google optimize
Since we wanted to test one element across all pages that contain that element we set the variants check targeting with javascript value together with all websites “/.”

google optimize

We decided to track the form completion goals on both of these variants to see which variant
s convert more users. To do this, we simply connected pre-defined Google Analytics goals to Google Optimize as shown. 


After some time when our experiment ended, we checked on the results by clicking “Berich in Analytics anzeigen” as shown in the screenshot.

google optimize
This opened a special report within Google Analytics which shows us the performance of both variants. One variant called “Original” had a total of 4,109 visitors and other called “Variante 1” had 3,870. It is clearly visible that “Original” performed better as it converted visitors eight times in total while “Variante 1” did it only five times.

Conclusion

We can conclude that “Original” variant is giving us better results and we should use that sidebar design for better conversion rate.

Google Optimize is a very useful tool when it comes to optimizing your website. Testing different variants of your page like graphical elements, fonts, and colors are more comfortable with integrated Visual Editor. Targeting audiences with chosen page variants will help you get better feedback from your users and give you an idea in which direction you should continue.

Although it is an excellent tool loaded with features, for some users it could be challenging to set up or understand so if you are interested in optimizing your website, feel free to contact us.
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