Okay, we will be honest here – this is not one of those “that is a definite minus, but look – here’s a plus” articles. This is going to be a raw, honest review on Google Optimize Advantages and Disadvantages from the conversion specialists who actually use the platform.
We are tough but also thoughtful, so you won’t hear the song and dance, but by the end of the article, you’ll know if you want to be utilizing Google Optimize advantages or better off searching for another conversion optimization tool due to its shortcomings.
Google Optimize Advantages
We’ll describe Google Website Optimizer or for short – Google Optimize – advantages in each section, which will help you decide if Google A/B testing is right for you.
Sooo, Google Optimize AB testing is free. Absolutely free. No hidden fees, no in-app purchases, all their functionality is up for grabs for anyone who has a Google account or is willing to create one.
And while being free, Google Optimize AB testing also offers a variety of conversion optimization tools, such as A/B tests, multivariate tests, redirect tests (also known as split URL tests), personalization for targeted visitors and even a premade COVID-19 banner so your users know what’s your take on the world pandemic.
Ease of use
Google Optimize is very easy to use. Literally, a child over 12 years of age can figure out how to set up an A/B test experiment in Google Optimize in less than 20 minutes. And that’s while knowing nothing about Conversion Rate Optimization (we assume 6th graders don’t, otherwise – oops, and sorry to all 12-year-olds reading this 😋).
Once you’ve inserted a link to the website you want to optimize with Google A/B testing and named your variants, you’ll be asked to download a free Google Chrome extension that allows you to edit your website in live mode. Here’s a full guide on How to Run an AB Test in Google Optimize, by the way.
By applying free Google Optimize Chrome Extention you can play around and change the colour, size, placement, opacity and other parameters of each element during your website testing without any code needed. For those who might need more customized options, Google Optimize does include a code editor along with a visual WYSIWYG editor you just saw.
Here’s another among Google Optimize advantages – Google Analytics native integration. A Google Optimize progress bar at the top of the page of your A/B testing process does two things – help you navigate your Google A/B testing much easier, and hint that you’ll need to link your Google Optimize account with Google Analytics at some point.
An outstanding Google Optimize advantage is the ability and ease with which you can analyze reports in greater depth using Google Analytics. Having data from both your optimization and analytics tools in one place allows you to obtain a broad, comprehensive perspective on the status of your business.
And while data in your reports does not update in real-time, and will take up to 24 hours to appear in your dashboards, with Google Optimize you receive a luxury of high-quality reports at absolutely no cost.
Google Optimize Disadvantages
Now that you met Google Optimize advantages, it’s time to meet its shortcomings so you have a fair perspective on this popular Google A/B testing tool.
Okay, this is a weird disadvantage, which is nonetheless quite powerful. Since Google Optimize is a free tool, it doesn’t store large amounts of data, which means there is no way you can upload new images to be used in your A/B tests within the Google Optimize platform.
And considering you can’t upload images to Google Optimize servers, you’ll need to use your own server or a third-party tool. The best way to combat this Google Optimize disadvantage is to upload an image directly into the website’s CMS and link to that internal file in your A/B testing.
Another Google Optimize disadvantage – inability to utilize Google Analytics segments. Segments are quite important when it comes to quality A/B testing. After all, you’d want to use that personalization functionality to make your customers feel loved and special, which is only accessible to those having a Premium Google Analytics 360 plan. A plan that costs around $150,000 yearly.
But, on the bright side, you can use Google Optimize Audience targeting, which allows you to narrowly target people who will see your experiment by their device, country, the ad they came from and even their behaviour.
The last one on the list of Google Optimize disadvantages is there well-known and well-hated limitations. While performing your Google Optimize AB testing, you can only run 5 tests at the same time, both mobile and desktop. You can only have up to 3 goals, the number of variables in multivariate testing is capped at 16, and if you’re using code editor, the code length is limited to 10240 characters.
To remove this limitation you’d have to upgrade to Google Analytics 360 or switch to another A/B testing platform. So here’s a warning – Google Optimize is not really scalable, so if you plan to get more serious about conversion optimization and run way more A/B tests in the future, we advise you to go with another platform from the get-go.
Google Optimize is a great A/B testing platform. Really. It’s free, it easily integrates with your Google Analytics reports, and its interface is as user-friendly as it gets. But it’s not great for everyone.
If you are a medium to large company that is serious about growth and is looking to optimize its website exponentially more in the future, Google Optimize is not your best bet. Google Optimize limitations make it hard to test high traffic and turnaround of an ever-growing business.
But if you are a small company that’s just looking to start out and all of your data is already stored in Google Analytics, Google Optimize is a God’s gift to mankind for you. Here are other astonishingly great articles that will help you choose: