Google Optimize is Google’s attempt at merging marketing tech. In the last decade, we’ve seen an overabundance of marketing tools hit the scene.

There were tools for measuring website traffic, for testing URLs and broken links, for reporting and for dozens and dozens of other tasks, and while most of them worked fine – they didn’t work together.

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And that made it hard to truly assess a campaign’s efficacy and figure out how to tweak and optimize it for success.

What is Google Optimize?

Enter Google Optimize.

This A/B testing tool integrates with Google’s own AdWords and Analytics platforms, allowing you to create and test landing pages tied to specific keywords, ad groups, conversion goals and campaigns.

You can also use it to test web page variants and other customized content to see which fares better with your audiences.

google optimize

Here’s an example of what you could do with Optimize: Say you ran a restaurant. You could create two landing pages for the search term “San Diego Mexican restaurants,” one with a picture of your best enchilada plate and another with a group of friends laughing on the patio with a margarita.

With the analytics-backed power of Optimize, you’d be able to see which of those fared better, as well as drilled-down details about the audience, geo location, devices and more for each page.

In AdWords, you can even check out landing page data like:

  • Bounce rates
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Conversions

 
Basically, Optimize lets you create highly optimized, customized customer experiences based on the drilled-down insights you already have through Analytics and AdWords.

That means reaching more of the right people at the right time in the buying funnel – and more sales as a result.

Google Optimize vs. Optimize 360

There are two Google Optimizer options you can choose from: the free version (Google Optimize) and the paid, “premium” version (Google Optimizer 360).

google optimize

The biggest difference between the two is that the free Google Optimizer platform doesn’t allow for Google Analytics audience targeting, meaning you can’t use your already-determined audience segments in Analytics to power your testing campaigns.

It also limits your variant testing to 16, and your number of concurrent tests are capped at three.

If you’re an individual or a small business with only a handful of campaigns on your hand, you can probably get by with the free version. But if you’re managing dozens of efforts and are testing strategies left and right, you’ll probably want to pay the extra cash and upgrade to Google Optimizer 360.

The audience targeting alone is worth the added costs.

The Google Optimize Visual Editor

One of the coolest parts of Google Optimize is that it lets you create landing pages without knowing a lick of code.

Using the tool’s visual editor, you can simply drag and drop buttons, blocks of content, images and more, and your page is finished in minutes. There’s no HTML and no need to call in a developer for help.

Don’t fret though, if that seems limiting. If you’re more advanced, you can also edit raw HTML or add in CSS or JavaScript code to customize the experience even more. Do as little or as much tweaking as you like.

google optimize

URL Targeting Capabilities & URL Testing

Optimize’s URL targeting let you “experiment” on a variety of your site’s pages.

If you made a change to verbiage on your homepage, for example, you could use URL targeting to deploy that wording change throughout the entire site, so you can compare conversions, sign-ups or user behaviors with other wording you may be testing out.

Through this, you can determine which strategies deliver the best results in accordance with your goals.

There are 4 URL targeting variables you can use when building your experiments:

  • URL, an exact URL you want to deploy your changes on.
  • Host, which you can use to deploy a variant across all pages on your site
  • Path, which deploys changes across only a portion of your site (yoursite.com/XX)
  • URL fragment, a portion of an exact URL
  •  

Once you’ve built out your experiment, you can then use Google Optimizer’s built-in URL tester to see what visitors, under what conditions will be able to view your variants.

Pro-Tip: Keep in mind testing your variants is only the first step toward building a more effective user experience. Fortunately, Google Optimize makes measuring and comparing those tests simple, too.

The tool offers easy-to-understand summary cards on each of your tests, so you can quickly discern what needs changing and what requires more testing.

Google Optimize: What do the experts think?

Google Optimize has been around but this is the first time it’s being integrated with Google AdWords.

search network with display select“As someone who manages accounts, we all wish we had a better ability to optimize landing pages and test landing pages because we can only do so much,” Lewis Brannon, Paid Search Manager at CPC Strategy said.

“We can target users with the best ad copy possible and we might have a great click through rate and response rate from users but once they get to the website – there’s really not a whole lot we can do.”

“I think the Landing Page Solution is a good development and is something that PPC marketers have wanted for a while, but I am also skeptical.”

“In my experience with Google-created collateral, like expanded text ads or automated sitelink extensions, the quality and clarity has been questionable, so I would advise users to put the content under high scrutiny.”

We will continue to monitor Google’s latest tool. Check back soon for more on Google Optimize & Optimize 360, or email tara@cpcstrategy.com.

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About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.