Optimization testing is an essential part of analytics. But for years it seemed like only ecommerce and retail companies appreciated the value of such testing. These companies typically had a ton of data to experiment with, so testing became a vital part of improving their customer experiences.
Skip to today, when more companies — including B2B firms — are recognizing the value of optimization testing. Google Optimize is one test platform to use in efforts to improve customer experience.
Getting Optimization Test Basics Right
Google first introduced Optimize in the advanced version of Google Analytics, GA 360. A free version launched in 2016. You can read about some of the basics in my coverage of its launch.
Since its introduction, Google has refined Optimize to offer a number of standard tests in both platform versions. A/B testing is the most typical choice, where a business compares a control element and a test element. A control element is the default feature or choice — it represents the current state on your website page, app, page or landing page. The test element is a design change you want to measure response to.
In addition to A/B tests, users can also conduct multivariate tests, in which you test a set of changes, or redirect tests, to compare two pages.
Related Article: How Conversion Rate Optimization Improves Online Sales
How Google Optimize Works With Google Analytics and Google Ads
To set up a test, you add Optimize tags to the page in question. You then create a related experiment container in your account and assign it a name (up to 255 characters). The experiment is the editor where you set up the test flow for your A/B, multivariate or redirect test. Add the page URL that will contain the control element as a default, then select your test type. Variant cards will display your test elements — one for A/B, multiple for multivariate. Optimize allows users to preview a variant before running a test. For example, you can see how a landing page will appear in a smartphone, tablet or desktop device to make any layout corrections before launching.
It’s possible to link to a Google Ads or Google Analytics account to create a coordinated test environment based on account parameters. The Google Analytics sync will allow you to set tests according to the audiences measured in the analytics account. This can help in cases like planning an email drip campaign and want to test the difference between conversion rates of two landing pages. One note: the aforementioned redirect test requires a Google Analytics tag on the test pages.
The Google Ad synchronization provides testing based on campaign signals, such as keyword groups or location. Here is where you test personalized experiences from an ad campaign. Other tests here include search and shopping campaigns, as well as search traffic in the search display network.
The Google Ads and Google Analytics integrations give Optimize a workflow environment to review metrics and enhance test functionality. For example, you can schedule your Optimize test to run concurrently with your ad campaigns, seeing how your tested improvements work in real-time conditions. You can duplicate an experiment if you decide to apply the same tests on other campaigns.
Related Article: Usability Testing: 7 Metrics to Assess Ease of Use
Expect More Tests as Ad Spend Increases
Tests are an essential conversion rate optimization process, especially given the large shift in online customer behavior occurring across industries. B2B ad spending increased 50% and is expected to reach $3.5 billion by the end of 2021 according to eMarketer. That implies B2B firms will increasingly turn to A/B and multivariate testing to determine how well the intended customer receives an ad message.
Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana, a small business digital analytics consultancy. He reviews data from web analytics and social media dashboard solutions, then provides recommendations and web development action that improves marketing strategy and business profitability.