What to test with Google Optimize

So you’ve got a brand new tool in your web performance kit – Google Optimize – and now you want to put it to good use. What can you test with Optimize and how does it work? Firstly, what are the different options for setting up an experiment? AB Test Using the in-page editor you can create an altered version of the page you wish to test. This could be a change of text copy, different styling, or swapping in a different image. You can also add new scripts or HTML if you’re familiar with coding. The way this works is Optimize adds a script after the page loads to manipulate the page text, images or styles. I recommend not switching header elements or large images using this method as, depending on your website setup, there may be a noticeable flicker– try a redirection test below. You can create many versions with subtly different changes (C, D and E versions if you want) – but remember you’ll need a large volume of traffic to spot significant differences between lots of variations. You can also limit the test to a certain segment of users – maybe only first time visitors, or those on mobile devices. Multivariate Test Similar to an AB test, a multivariate test is used when you have a few different aspects of the page to change (e.g. image and headline text) and you want to see which combination is most engaging. To get a significant result, you'll need a large volume of traffic - even more than testing many options in AB tests.   Redirection Test This is where you have two different versions of a page – or a different flow you want to start users on. Optimize will split your visitors, so some see the original page and some are redirected to the B version. A redirection test is best when the page content or functionality is very different – perhaps using a whole different layout. The disadvantage is you’ll need a developer to build the B version of the page, which may limit the speed of cycling tests.   Personalisation Personalisation is not officially supported by Optimize right now, but we’ve found it to be a useful tool. You can assign 99.9% of the visitors who match certain criteria to see the alternative version of the page. An example is where you have a special offer or local store in a particular city - see our step-by-step local personalisation example. You can ensure that all the visitors from that city see a different version of the page. Unfortunately on the free version of Google Optimize you are limited to 3 concurrent ‘experiments’ – so it won’t be a good solution if you want to run similar personalisation across lots of cities or groups of users. Next the question is where to start with tests...   Start with the landing pages Landing pages get the greater volume of traffic, and are where small visual changes (as opposed to new product features) make the biggest difference to user engagement. This greater volume allows you to get a significant result quicker, meaning you can move on to the next test quicker. And keep on improving!   So what exactly could you test using Google Optimize? Here are six ideas to get you going.   1. Could call-to-actions (CTA) be clearer? Changing the colour or contrast of a key button or link on the page (within your brand guidelines) usually results in more visitors clicking it. This might involve changing the style of the CTA itself, or removing elements close by on the page – to give the CTA more space to stand out.   2. Are you giving the user too many choices? In Steve Krug’s classic Don’t Make me Think he explains how any small confusion in the user’s mind can stop them making any choice. Every choice the user has to make is an opportunity for them to give up. Try hiding one of the options and seeing if more users overall choose any of the remaining options.   3. Is the mobile page too long? As many sites move to responsive designs that switch layout on smaller screens, this has led to mobile pages becoming very long. User may get ‘scroll fatigue’ before then get to critical elements on the page. Try cutting out non-essential sections for mobile users, or editing copy or images to make the page shorter. You could also try switching sections so that the call-to-action is higher up the page on mobile – although this is harder to achieve without a redirection test.   4. Is localisation important to your users? You may have discussed providing local language content for your users, and been unsure if it is worth the costs of translation and maintenance. Why not test the benefits for a single location? As with the personalisation tests, you can show a different local language (or local currency) version of the page to half the users in the single location (e.g. Spanish for visitors from Mexico) and see if they convert better.   5. Does the user need more reassurance before starting to buy? It easier to build experiments which remove elements to the page, but you should also consider adding extra explanation messages. A common problem on ecommerce stores is that visitors are unsure what the shipping charges or timing will be before adding to cart. Could you add a short sentence at the start of the journey (maybe on a product page) to give an outline of your shipping policy? Or maybe some logos of payment methods you accept?   6. Changing header navigation If your site has a complex mix of products that has evolved over time it may be time to try a radical new categorisation – maybe splitting products by gender or price point rather than by type. For this test, you’ll want to target only new visitors – so you don’t confuse regular visitors until you’re sure it’s permanent. You will also need to make the navigation changes on all pages across the site.   Good luck! Littledata also offering consulting and AB testing support, so please contact us for any further advice.

2017-05-30

Personalising your site for a local event with Google Optimize

Google Optimize (standard edition) will be released publically at the end of October, allowing free access to powerful AB testing and personalisation features. Here’s a guide to launching your first test, assuming you have the Google Optimize 360 snippet installed on your page. Step 1: Create the experiment I want to trigger a personalisation on Littledata’s homepage, shown only to visitors from London, which promotes a local workshop we have running later this month. It’s not a real AB test, as we won’t have enough traffic to judge whether the banner is a success, but we can use the ‘experiment’ to launch this personalisation for a local audience. First, I need a new test (click the big blue plus sign) and select an AB test. I’ll name my test, and set the editor page as our homepage – which is pre-filled from Google Analytics anyway… Since I have Google Analytics linked, I can select a goal from GA as the objective. In this case, the banner will promote the event (which isn’t tracked on our site) so the only sensible goal is promoting more pageviews – but it’s possible it will also increase signups for our app, so I’ll include that as a secondary objective. Next, I need to add a variant, which is going to load my event banner. I’ve named it ‘add yellow bar’. Clicking on the variant row will take me to the editor. Step 2: Edit the ‘B’ version Note: Optimize’s editor works as a Chrome Plugin, so you’ll need to install that in Google Chrome first. It’s easy to select an element on the page to edit or hide, but my variant will load a new snippet of HTML code which is not already on the page. So I’ll select the element at the top of the page (with ID ‘content’) and then go to the select elements icon in the top left. Now I’ve got the right element to use as a building block, I’m going to add an ‘HTML’ change. And set it to insert the HTML ‘before’ the current element. I’ve pasted in the HTML I’ve recycled from another page. Once I click apply we can see the new element previewing at the top of the page. Next, let’s check it looks OK on mobile – there’s a standard list of devices I can select from. Yes, that is looking good – but if it wasn’t I could click the ‘1 change’ text in the header to edit the code. Lastly, in the editor, you may have noticed a warning notification icon in the top right of the Optimize editor. This is warning me that, since Littledata is a single-page Javascript site, the variant may not load as expected. I’m confident Optimize is still going to work fine in this case. Step 3: Launching the experiment After clicking ‘Done’ on the editor, I go back to the experiment setup. Usually, we’d split the traffic 50:50 between the original and the variant, but in this case, I want to make sure all visitors from London see the message. I’ll click on the weighting number, and then set ‘add yellow bar’ to show 99.9% of the time (I can’t make it 100%). Then, we want to set the geotargeting. The experiment is already limited to the homepage, and now I click ‘and’ to add a 2nd rule and then select ‘geo’ from the list of rules. I want the yellow bar to show only for visitors from London. The city is a standard category, and it recognised London in the autocomplete. As the final step, I need to click ‘Start Experiment’. I can’t edit the rules of any running experiments (as this would mess up the reporting), but I can stop and then copy an experiment which is incorrect. Conclusion Google Optimize makes it really simple to set up tests and personalisations, although it is missing a few features such as scheduling. The premium edition (Optimize 360) will allow more analysis of tests using Google Analytics, and also allow the import of custom audiences from other Google 360 products. This is powerful if you want to launch a customised landing pages experience based on, say, a DoubleClick display ad campaign. So try it out, and if you have any questions, contact one of our experts! Get Social! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook and keep up-to-date with our Google Analytics insights.

2016-10-18

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