Google Optimize VS Optimizely: Comparing A/B Testing Tools

InsightWhale
Apr 3, 2020 · 6 min read

If you’ve been employing Conversion Rate Optimization for a while, you’ll know the two most popular A/B testing tools on the market today are Optimizely and Google Optimize.

And if you’ve heard a little more then just names, you know that these tools are quite different and similar at the same time, and there are no clear one-size-fits-all winners in the Google Optimize vs. Optimizely debate.

That’s why we gathered a list of the most crucial points to look out for, so each company can decide what’s best for them in their particular case — let’s take a look!

Source

Setup

In order to let the A/B testing platform gather and analyze data from your website, you need to install the tracking code into the theme of every page you’d want to test. The A/B testing tools like Optimizely or Google Optimize will generate the unique code automatically in the process of your setup.

This process won’t take more than half an hour for any conversion specialist, web developer, or data enthusiast who’s really into analytics. So on the setup front, both of the platforms are getting a strong A+.

Now, in order to use the Google Website Optimizer all you have to do is signup. It’s absolutely free. When it comes to Optimizely, things get a little more complicated — and costly.

You’ll have to choose between 3 options:

  • Optimizely Web
  • Optimizely Full Stack
  • Optimizely Web & Full Stack

Each of the Optimizely payment plans is aimed to fulfill different needs. While Optimizely Web with it’s three plans — Essentials, Business and Enterprise, is created to be used by marketing teams, Optimizely Full Stack is a handy (and according to the Optimizely, only) solution for product development teams.

You can’t access the prices for any of Optimizely services, and in trying to do so are immediately redirected to a “Contact Sales” form. Why? Well, since the 2014 shutdown of its free trial, Optimizely has been focused on medium to large enterprises, which obtain high traffic and are serious about their A/B testing.

That’s why the price you’ll hear on the other side of the phone line will be fully customized based on your business goals and the services you require. For those wondering what to expect from that phone call, prepare to hear a price starting from $36,000 a year for Essentials.

Variations

While both of the platforms — Google Website Optimizer and Optimizely — allow their users to create A/B tests, multivariate experiments and redirect tests, Optimizely also enables multi-page experiments and third-party integrations with heat mapping technology which is missing in Google Optimize.

If you do feel very strongly about Google optimization tools, here’s a great article on How to Run an AB Test in Google Optimize.

When it comes to the variations development process and the quality of these variations, Optimizely wins by a far margin. Google Optimize contains a large number of bugs and imperfections in all areas, including HTML, CSS, and Javascript, which are almost completely absent with Optimizely AB testing.

Goals

The process of setting up conversion goals is quite similar within each platform. Optimizely does not limit you in the number of goals, allowing you to have as many as your soul desires, while Google Optimize gives you only 3 goals per experiment.

Source

With Optimizely, you can track conversion goals for clicks, page views and any custom goals you might want to analyze. With Google Optimize you can set up objectives (that’s what they call goals) based on bounces, page views, session duration, create custom objectives, or import them from Google Analytics.

Source

When it comes to goals, Google Website Optimizer wins by offering more convenience to those using Google Analytics for analyzing their websites. Here you can simply import objectives that have been already setup and tested previously, bypassing the need to create and test objectives again.

Tracking

Overall, when comparing Optimizely vs Google Optimize on the account of tracking, the latter looses by quite a few. Google Optimize presents a large number of bugs and limits, which include a maximum of 5 experiments for both mobile and desktop at the same time, a limited scrip length of 10240 characters, no image upload possibility, and the A/b test preview which is incredibly annoying and prolongs the test creation process.

But there’s also a plus side. If you have your analytics data residing in Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, you will have a much faster and simpler native integration with Google Optimize than any other A/B testing platform.

If that’s not the case, tracking functionality in Optimizely is a clear winner.

Reporting

And lastly, reporting. Optimizely and Google Optimize count your website users very differently. Google Optimize uses the Bayesian approach and creates reports that are session-based, meaning you can count the same user that had different sessions a number of times.

Source

Optimizely, on the other hand, utilizes Frequentist methods and is unique visitor based, which guarantees it won’t calculate the same visitor or conversion twice. When considering reporting for A/B testing, Optimizely get’s a huge A+. It tracks your visitors and their interactions with your website in real-time, which gets reflected in your reports within a few minutes of a performed user action.

Source

Google Optimize does not show any stats in real-time and takes a 12-hour delay when it comes to displaying statistics in your reports. This can be a huge minus for those conversion specialists who are looking to test their A/B experiments before rolling them out to the public.

Conclusion

There is no one-fits-all solution in an Optimizely vs Google Optimize debate. But here’s a rule of thumb. A small to medium company that is using Google products and is not in a need of advanced A/B testing capabilities will greatly benefit from choosing Google Optimize.

A medium to large enterprise that has high traffic and is really serious about their conversion rate optimization should definitely go with a comprehensive Optimizely A/B testing platform.

Now that you know about Optimizely and Google Optimize differences, learn more about A/B testing with our free expert articles:

Originally published at https://insightwhale.com on April 3, 2020.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Join The Startup’s +799K followers.

InsightWhale

Written by

Fully remote team of professionals providing Digital Analytics, Conversion Rate Optimization and Business Intelligence services for clients around the world.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +799K followers.

InsightWhale

Written by

Fully remote team of professionals providing Digital Analytics, Conversion Rate Optimization and Business Intelligence services for clients around the world.

The Startup

Get smarter at building your thing. Follow to join The Startup’s +8 million monthly readers & +799K followers.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store