AB Testing in Google Optimize

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There are a lot of very powerful, very expensive CRO solutions out there. But if all you want to do is move a button, test a new colour, or other simple changes, Google Optimize might be the best option for you. Optimize (with a ‘z’) is Google’s free Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) tool. In this blog, we’ll show you how to set up Google Optimize, and one simple experiment you can adapt for your own website.

AB Testing in Google Optimize

Setting up Google Optimize on your website

Firstly, you’ll need to set up Optimize. It’s simple but you’ll need to be familiar with your Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager setup, and you will need edit-level access to those accounts as well. You might need to reach out to a tech/dev team member to assist.

This video from the Google Optimize team is an easy to follow guide. If you prefer reading, we’ve outlined the instructions below as well. 

1. Go to optimize.google.com.

2. Click Create new Account.

3. Enter an Account name – this should typically be named after your company.

4. Enter a Container name – how you name the container should depend on how you plan on structuring your experiments. If you need to run experiments on one domain without affecting other domains, create a single container for each domain. Since we’re only using one domain for now, let’s just create one container.

5. Agree to the Optimize Terms of Service.

6. Click CREATE.

7. Click on the container you’ve just created, and then click the info button on the right hand side of the page.

8. Scroll down the sidebar that appears, and drop down the “Link to Google Analytics” section. You will need to have access to the Google Analytics property you want to experiment on for this to work.

9. Once you’ve done this, Google will give you the snippet to install on the website. You will need to copy the code, and install it in a way that is appropriate for your Google setup. Google has instructions for this here.You might need help from your web developer to get this set up.

Setting up a Google Optimize Experiment

Now you’ve got everything set up, it’s time to start your first experiment. You can test almost anything but let’s start with a simple, practical idea first.

This experiment is going to show you how to test a different layout for a form fill page, to see if you can improve your form conversion rate and get more leads. If you’re not trying to gather leads, you can skip this one and go to the next experiment idea.

When you’ve clicked in to your Optimize account and then clicked on the container, you should see a button to create your first experience. When you click this button, this lightbox will pop up:

Make sure you select “A/B test” for this experiment. We’ll only be working with AB testing right now but we’ll be releasing more information on personalisation and multivariate testing later this year.

Google will prompt you to add a variant to this test URL. Once you do that, Variant 1 (or whatever you’d like to call it), will show up in the list of variants at the top of the page. Click “edit”, and Optimize will open up that page within the Optimize Editor. You should see something like this:

It will help to know a little bit of HTML here but if you don’t, it’s not the biggest deal. For this experiment, I wanted to move our contact form above the fold. The simplest way to do that is to grab the bottom of our header and drag it up. I then removed the text that was sitting in the header, so it didn’t overlap with the form text. The gif below shows how I did it.

Obviously, your site won’t look exactly like ours. If you’re not too familiar with HTML, make sure you have the settings toggle set to “Move Anywhere” – this will let you move items around the page more easily, without accidentally breaking the page order.

Make sure you double check how your changes look on the phone – click the dropdown next to “standard” at the top middle of the builder.

Once you’re done, just hit “Save” and “Done” in the top right hand corner of the builder. Optimize will take you back to the experiment page. There are a lot of items on this page but if you just want a simple experiment where anyone landing on this page has a 50% chance of being served the variant, you can leave everything on the standard presets.

The one thing you will need to do is choose an objective. If you click on the dropdown next to “Add Experiment Objective” and select “Choose from list”, there is likely to be an option that suits you. For this experiment, we are going to set out objective to form fills, so I will select our Thank You Page goal from GA.

Now your experiment is ready to start running. At the top of the page, make sure your variant weights are set to 50-50. Down the bottom, make sure that 100% of traffic is eligible for this experiment. You can change these options but for the purposes of a simple experiment, we won’t. If 8 people visit this page, we want 4 of them to see the original, and 4 to see the variant.

That’s it! Hit Start and your experiment will begin. You can also click the little clock icon next to the start button to schedule your experiment to start and end at certain times.

If you’re having trouble setting up an experiment, please feel free to reach out to us at hello@metriclabs.com.au, or comment on this blog. We’d love to hear about what kinds of tests you’re running on Optimize.

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