The Death of Google Website Optimizer: Long live Google Content Experiments?

16 August 2012Will Garbutt

Will Google's new approach aid or hinder conversion?

As of this month, Google’s multivariate test (MVT tool) – Website Optimizer tool, is no longer available. Google have taken the logical step of integrating their testing tool into Google Analytics, a move which should make it accessible to more users and make analysing tests much easier.

Improvements on the past

Before, using Google Analytics to assess Google Website Optimizer tests to a level over and above looking at a single website conversion metric was relatively development heavy and time-consuming mix of custom variables and advanced segments. However, that has all changed and A/B tests, which examine different versions of the same web page, can now be run with ease from with the Google Analytics interface, and analysis on each page variation can be done to your heart’s content.

Unfortunately, that might be the only bit of good news.

New Google Content Experiments

One of the key components of an effective testing platform is the ability to carry out MVTs – splitting the page into sections and testing all the different combinations to find the true best performing variation – functionality which has been strangely dismissed by Google in this initial release.

Google’s new Content Experiments is a different approach to A/B or multivariate testing. Content Experiments works on an A/B/n principle, where up to five full versions of a single page can be tested, rather than testing various combinations of components on a single page – not much use if you have a page with four sections, (such as: headline, image, copy, call to action), where only two variants of each of these sections would create 16 different variations of the page!

There is currently no news on when MVT functionality will be available to users within Content Experiments, which means a fair proportion of Google Website Optimizer users have to look elsewhere for their MVT needs. We are currently looking at a number of alternative tools to use with Summit’s clients.

If you’d like to know more, let me know. Contact me on email will.garbutt@summitmedia.com or call +44 (0)1482 876 876.

Will Garbutt

Will joined Summit in 2010 as a Conversion specialist. Will holds a masters degree in eBusiness from Lancaster University and is inspired by problem solving & seeing his ideas come to life on client websites.

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