Brands that are failing to run controlled website and mobile app experiments in order to understand their customers and convert impressions into transactions are falling behind.
Research from Forrester supports this, revealing that the cohort who embed experimentation into their business will earn 1.8 trillion dollars by 2021 and grow eight times faster than the global GDP.
With much digital experimentation technology being premium, both in terms of cost and complexity, it has often been deemed a privilege which only businesses with deep pockets and a team of internal experts to run the often expensive marketing technology, can afford. That, actually, isn’t the case.
Google Optimize, a free technology, has arguably democratised the digital experimentation landscape.
While it might not have the depth and range of tools that paid enterprise software platforms like Adobe Target, Oracle Maxymiser, Monetate, SiteSpect, Optimizely and VWO do, or allow you to run the same velocity of experiments – it still offers powerful functions and opens the door to businesses which may have avoided digital experimentation due to not having the allocated budget.
What it also does is enable more businesses, particularly those who don’t have the cavalry in-house to run experiments, to access the support of external agencies and experts, as often paying for an agency on top of appropriate analytics/optimisation technology is out of a business’ price bracket.
Before deciding whether to capitalise on Google’s technology, here are a few things to consider and some of its most powerful features.
Understand your needs
While the playing field has been levelled, there are a few things to consider when deciding whether your business is ready for experimentation. For experimentation technology to be effective and worthwhile, one general rule of thumb is that the business must have at least 100K monthly unique website users. What this means is that businesses need to be of a certain size and trajectory for onboarding experimentation technology, free or not, to be worthwhile.
When deciding what technology to choose, think about your needs and budget. Google Optimize is great for those companies which need to run experiments but don’t have the allocated budget to do so, and are happy to keep within limit of five simultaneous experiments at any one time. However, businesses wanting to roll out more sophisticated campaigns at scale might want to look at paid platforms such as Optimizely and Optimize 360 which allow for 100-plus simultaneous experiments to run at any one time.
Google Optimize is easy to get started with so you can learn cheaply and play with the WYSIWG editor (a system in which content can be edited in a form closely resembling its appearance when printed or displayed as a finished product).
Once a business is ready to use it in a large scale production environment, it’s advised that they make sure they have some experienced senior front end developers who know what they’re doing with Google Optimize or have appropriate agency support.
As well as being cost effective and easy to use, Google Optimize has all the features you need from a testing platform: URL targeting, user behaviour and technology targeting, geotargeting, and technical targeting – as well as its most powerful feature: its native deep integration with Google Analytics for automatically importing goals (for measuring the results of your experiments) and segments (for splitting results and running personalisation campaigns tailored to a specific cohort or segment based upon accessible behavioural data from your website).
The native integration with Google Analytics is particularly handy as it can enrichen your analytics and reporting without any heavy lifting or complex coding on the backend.
As well as helping CRO agencies to diversify their offerings and broaden the number of companies they are able to serve, Google Optimize also enables businesses to afford agencies as they can use the budget that would have been spent on a more expensive technology, to hire external experts to utilise the technology to its full potential.
One of Australia’s legacy DVD, CD and gaming stores, for example, which had a relatively small IT budget, was able to engage my company, Web Marketing ROI, a leading Australian CRO agency, to roll out A/B testing with Google Optimize. The results have been remarkable with their monthly E-commerce revenue having increased by 22.30% after less than 45 days of testing.
It has been proven that digital experimentation can help businesses gain huge competitive advantage over those who ignore it, and Google’s democratisation of experimentation technology means that even more businesses can now capitalise on it.
That can only be a positive thing and, as long as businesses understand their optimisation needs and what’s best for the stage of growth they’re at, then there is a piece of the experimentation pie for everyone.
* James Spittal is CEO at Web Marketing ROI