How Google Optimize improves your small business website

Though not exactly new, Google Optimize is among the most recent, and most seldom understood, additions to Google’s marketing analytics suite. A powerful marketing asset, Google Optimize offers you the ability to test two different versions of your website against each other and see which one gets better results.

However, like many digital marketing tools, it can take some getting used to.

Google Optimize: the basics

Google first released Optimize in 2016, as a means for bringing A/B testing methodologies to small and medium-sized websites. A/B testing is a powerful tool for website optimization. It allows you to test two different versions of your website against each other, to see which one produces better customer interactions.

Here’s a simple example:

Say you have a product page, on which there’s a “Buy Now” button. When customers mouse over the button, you want there to be some sort of animation that draws their attention and compels them to click. But you can’t decide between an animation that changes the button’s color and an animation that causes the button to flash.

You can guess which one will be more effective, or you can consult a designer, but there’s no way to actually know which one will be more effective. This is where A/B testing comes in.

By setting up an A/B test, you can serve some of your visitors the color animation and some the flashing animation, then see which animation results in more clicks.

It used to be that setting up an A/B test required extensive work with developers, who would program the test parameters and the appropriate routing. Google Optimize democratizes this process by bringing A/B testing capability to the moderately techy masses.

Google Optimize example

How Google Optimize can help you out

When Google originally released its Optimize product, they intended it solely for use by large businesses, which would run multiple, complex experiments simultaneously, most likely with developer support. However, as of March 2017, Google began offering a stripped-down version of Optimize to small and medium-sized businesses, free of charge (note: if you’re still looking for “bells-and-whistles” version of Optimize, Google offers that as well as part of its Analytics 360 suite).

Google Optimize offers three main features that will help you get up and running with A/B testing:

  1. The ability to run three experiments at the same time
  2. A WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) editor that allows you to set up your experiments either by dragging-and-dropping page elements or using simple HTML and CSS
  3. Seamless integration with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, so you can put your insights to use

When combined with Google’s other analytics tools, Optimize provides a fantastic means for using customer data to your advantage. It allows you to easily set up experiments in Optimize, observe user behavior in Google Tag Manager, then crunch the data using Google Analytics, so you can make the best decisions about your web presence.

The variety of experiments Optimize allows you to make are pretty impressive. You can do everything from changing the font that visitors see on your site, to altering the URL, to changing the site design completely.

Optimize then feeds this data to Google Analytics, so you can have real-time access to information about how your customers are interacting with your site.

Looking for a good way to get started? Either head over to Google’s Optimize homepage, or watch the video series below for a deep dive into how Optimize can work for you.

Management consultant and brand strategist for small teams. Fan of dark tea, thick books, peace, and unity.

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