Google Website Optimizer replaced by Content Experiments

If you’re looking to increase sales via your website, then you’ll know that driving traffic to your site is only half the battle, you then need to optimise the landing page in order to convert the visitor. Sometimes it can be something as simple as the positioning of an action button, or the colour of the button that can make all the difference.

Google announced during the week that they were saying goodbye to Website Optimizer and replacing it with Content Experiments.

If you haven’t used Website Optimizer, it was a tool that could be used to test out various versions of a landing page to see which would yield the best results. Visitors would be randomly served one of the versions of the landing page when they visited your site, and over time, you would be able to permanently switch to the best version of the page. The tool was originally released with support for multivariate testing, and then the easier to configure A/B split testing.

The new Content Experiments can be accessed via the Content menu in the Standard Reporting section of the Google Analytics dashboard.

Clicking on this menu item brings up the starting dialog. Upon entering the name of the page you want to test, you can “Start Experimenting”!

While the experiments are generally supposed to be used to test different versions of the same page, we decided we would test whether it would be better to send visitors to our site to the video page or to the blog page.

On the next page of the wizard, you get the opportunity to link the test to one of your Goals within Google Analytics (in our case, the goal is signups to our Beta).

The next bit involves adding some code to the pages (Javascript is used to redirect visitors to the correct page when they land). You can add it yourself, but if you need to get someone else to do this, Google have made it very easy for you! They’ve built an email into the wizard that you can send to your developer or webmaster. This bit is so much easier than the old Website Optimizer.

When you click Next, Google validates that the new code is installed properly on the site, but you can also skip this step if you need to wait for your developer or webmaster to make the changes.

Finally, you get to run the experiment!

It really is that easy (so much easier than Website Optimizer). All you need to do next is wait for some traffic to hit your site in order to assess which page is best. We’ll follow up with a post reviewing the results of our experiment.

Real-Time Google Analytics

We’ve been giving the new Real-Time version of Google Analytics a test run for the past few weeks. Before the new version, as announced on the Google Analytics Blog, users had to wait 24 hours to get their analytics data, unless they went for one of the many paid real-time analytics services instead.

We can’t quite remember what life was like without it. Now it’s possible to check in real-time that everything is working when we’re setting up analytics on a site. You could do what we’ve done and set up a dedicated monitor in the corner to display analytics for your site, but then you’d never get any work done!