Your website could be better. You know that quick, incremental changes could dramatically improve the effectiveness and buyer experience of your website. But where to start? Luckily, identifying, prioritizing and implementing those changes just got easier.
On June 1, Google announced that it was rolling most of the functionality of its Website Optimizer (a standalone Google product that is being retired) into Google Analytics. The new feature will be called Content Experiments. The net effect of this change is that Google has integrated the tools to test, measure and optimize your site into one easier-to-use location.
Content Experiments lets you test and compare the effectiveness of different variations of web pages in real-time on your live site. This makes it easier to examine how differences in page design, layout and content can help you better achieve your goals, whether you want to increase traffic, boost leads, generate more sales or improve engagement.
A simple-to-follow wizard walks you through the setup and will have you up and experimenting fast. (And because Content Experiments uses the same page tags Google Analytics uses, you don’t need to reinvent or re-create your site to get started.) You simply design up to six variations of a web page, and Content Experiments exposes a random sample of your visitors to each variation. You define what percentage of visitors is included in the experiment, and the experiment continues until there’s a clear winner based on your goals (in as little as two weeks) or until you decide to call it quits (up to a maximum of three months).
Here are some of the ways that Content Experiments differs from Website Optimizer.
- It uses the goals you outlined in Google Analytics (e.g., increase leads, improve conversions, etc.), so you don’t have to key in the information in twice.
- Content Experiments compares whole pages; Website Optimizer let you run more in-depth analysis on the importance and impact of individual page elements (for instance, the position of the “buy now” button or the size of your corporate logo).
- You are limited in the number of experiments you can run at once and the number of page variations is capped at six.
No doubt, Google will work to overcome the limitations while improving the overall experience – or perhaps some of these features will end up in a premium version. And, of course, you’ll still need to do some thinking, designing and building to conduct your experiments, but Google has made the actual testing easy and accessible.
Have a look at Google Analytics blog page and watch the short video. It’s straightforward and informative.
Personally, I’m pretty excited about this initiative from Google. Overall, I’d say that Google just knocked down some of the annoying barriers that hindered website optimization.
Are you running A/B or multivariate tests to optimize your website performance? What tools do you use and how do they limit or enhance your ability to make improvements? Join the conversation and tell us what you’re trying.