With the launch of Google Optimize, Conversation Rate Optimisation (CRO) has finally hit the mainstream. In the same way Google Analytics helped bring web analytics to the fore, it seems likely Google's free A/B and multivariate platform Google Optimize will open up CRO to a whole new audience. In my experience, CRO has often been the reserve of companies with big budgets and a tonne of resource.
Now, I believe that’s set to change. So, in this post, I take a look at how site owners and marketers of all types can leverage CRO, and specifically, Google Optimize, to improve their websites and marketing efforts.
What’s CRO, and why should I care?
This might be a simplified explanation, but it's one I feel works. Conversation Rate Optimisation, or CRO, refers to a specific 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 informed decisions about how to improve website performance. A/B and multivariate testing are both key to a successful CRO strategy, as each enable you to conduct structured, rigorous testing with a clear hypothesis in mind.
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. Put simply, the tool essentially sits ‘on top’ of a website (similarly to Google Tag Manager), enabling you to edit web page elements easily and intuitively.
Google Optimize: a low barrier to entry
Although a paid version is available for enterprise level sites, the free version of Optimize provides access to a powerful set of targeting and segmentation options.
Installation of Google Optimize is painless, and is achieved simply by adding a small snippet of code into your website – either hardcoded into the page or by Google Tag Manager.
Within a matter of minutes, Google Analytics can also be integrated with Google Optimize allowing you to massively widen the scope of your reporting and analysis. This integration means it’s possible to apply any Custom Segments you might have to your data, allowing you to analyse 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.
A/B test copy and layout changes within minutes
With its what-you-see-is-what-you-get editor, simple changes can be made to a webpage’s text, imagery or positioning of on-page elements incredibly quickcly. 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 hone the performance of well-established landing pages to boost performance, however I'd normally recommend utilising a designer or front-end developer for larger scale page changes.
Easy to read reports, actionable insights
Thanks to its intuitive 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 a lot of 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.
Getting started with Google Optimize and CRO
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.
I wrote a version of this article over on the Dog blog, a great resource for digital marketing insight and news.