CRO: Getting Started with Google Optimize

A brief look at a very useful little marketing tool.

CRO: Google Optimise

Conversation Rate Optimisation (CRO) has finally hit the mainstream. Insights Analyst, Angus, takes a closer look at CRO, and specifically a useful tool available to all marketers, Google Optimize.

This year, it looks as though Conversation Rate Optimisation (CRO) has finally hit the mainstream. In the same way Google Analytics popularised web analytics, the launch of Google's free A/B and multivariate testing platform Google Optimize appears set to bring A/B and multivariate testing to a much wider audience. Until this point, CRO has largely been a luxury for companies with larger budgets and resource. In this post, we take a closer look, so that teams of all shapes and sizes can get started on the road to better web experiences through the use of CRO, and specifically, Google Optimize.

What is CRO and why is it so important?

Conversion Rate Optimisation, or CRO as its often referred to, is a set of practices designed to identify issues, opportunities and areas for growth across a website. At its core, CRO is about leveraging data, both quantitative (web analytics) and qualitative (website surveys, user testing), to make better decisions about how to create website experiences that users want. A/B and multivariate testing are core elements of the CRO process as they provide a structured, scientific way of testing variations of a web page against a pre-defined goal.

What is Google Optimize and where does it fit in?

Google Optimize is a free A/B and multivariate testing platform designed to make CRO accessible to marketers and analysts of all experience levels. In simple terms, the tool essentially sits ‘on top’ of a website, making it possible to tweak aspects of a web page and test how these changes impact performance. So what makes Google Optimize different from tools like VWO or Optimizely? Let’s take a closer look.

A free and simple introduction to CRO

 Google Optimize UI


While a paid version of Google Optimize is available, the free version provides access to a powerful set of testing features, including a robust set targeting options built around the Google Analytics framework. Installation of the tool is also very simple and is achieved simply by installing a small snippet of code into your website.

Within a matter of clicks, Google Analytics can be integrated with Google Optimize to provide access to deeper reporting and segmentation. This can be especially useful if your team is already making use of Google Analytics as it allows you to view test results in the context of the rest of your website data. This integration also means it’s possible to apply ‘segments’ to your test data, allowing you to view how certain sets of users react to a specific version of a page. This type of granular data can be invaluable in helping you optimize both campaign and landing page performance.

Test simple website changes within minutes

With its intuitive visual editor, simple changes can be made to a webpage’s text, imagery or positioning of on-page elements. The what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor means simple changes can be made within a matter of minutes, enabling you to launch a campaign quickly and easily. This is a huge plus if you’re launching a new landing page and want to generate learnings and identify opportunities for improved performance early on. In the same vein, Optimize can also be used to and hone the performance of well-established landing pages to boost performance, however we would recommend drawing on the experience of a designer or developer for larger scale page changes.

Easy to read reports, actionable insights

Thanks to its intuitive reporting dashboard, you don’t need to be an expert in Bayesian statistics to understand whether your test has been a success or not. Optimize takes the hard work out of evaluating campaigns by providing a simple overview of performance of the test to date, indicating the likelihood of improving conversion rate against a page’s baseline performance. This data can also be viewed over time, giving you a more granular idea of how other factors might influence campaign performance.


Google Optimize 2


Moving forward with Google Optimize and website testing

With Google Optimize, website testing is no longer the reserve of large companies – it’s open to everyone. To make the most of tools like Google Optimize, data needs to play a central role in your website and marketing strategy. Important stories about your customers, their preferences and motivations live within your website data. Unlocking these stories through careful analysis, testing and measurement can enable you to create website experiences than not only delight users, but benefit your bottom line.

If you’d like to improve your website performance but aren’t sure how to get started, Dog’s Insights team have years of experience optimising websites of all shapes and sizes. Get in touch if you’d like to chat about improving your website conversion rate and user experience.