Content Experiments in Google Analytics Replace Google Website Optimizer

    June 1, 2012
    Chris Crum

Google announced the launch of Content Experiments in Google Analytics, as a way for webmasters to test different versions of pages to see which ones convert the best. It is replacing Google Website Optimizer, as it carries out much of the same functionality.

“Over the last 5 years, it’s been great to see how many marketers and publishers have improved the web by using insights from Google Website Optimizer to create better site experiences,” says Nir Tzemah on the Google Analytics team.

Website Optimizer will be going away on August 1.

“Content Experiments helps you optimize for goals you have already defined in your Google Analytics account, and can help you decide which page designs, layouts and content are most effective,” explains Tzemah. “With Content Experiments, you can develop several versions of a page and show different versions to different visitors. Google Analytics measures the efficacy of each page version, and with a new advanced statistical engine, it determines the most effective version.”

“Content Experiments is a somewhat different approach from either standard A/B or multivariate testing,” Google says in a help center article. “Content Experiments is more A/B/N. You’re not testing just two versions of a page as in A/B testing, and you’re not testing various combinations of components on a single page as in multivariate testing. Instead, you are testing up to five full versions of a single page, each delivered to visitors from a separate URL.”

Content Experiments will let you test up to six variations of your page. It includes a setup wizard to walk you through the process, and uses Google Analytics tags so you only need to add one more tag to the original page.

Daniel Waisberg at MarketingLand did a good enough job of pointing out the advantages of Google Analytics Content Experiments over Website Optimizer, that Google Analytics endorsed his bullet points in a Google+ post:

Google Analytics
Google Analytics   12 minutes ago Check out +Daniel Waisberg's post over at +Marketing Land on our just announced content experiments.

Daniel outlines the advantages of content experiments over website optimizer, such as:

Only the control script will be necessary to run tests, the script that redirects the traffic from the original page to the variations.
Google Analytics advanced segments and page metrics will be available along with optimizing goal conversions based on your test pages. 
Improved statistical engine for analyzing experiments, which will help making decisions faster about the winning/loosing pages.
Dynamic Traffic Allocation functionality: traffic will be shifted away from low-performing variations, over to higher performing ones.

Be sure to read the whole post for even more detail. 

Google also suggests reading what Cardinal Path has to say about A/B testing with Content Experiments:

Check out @CardinalPath‘s take on A/B testing and Content Experiments:
2 minutes ago via TweetDeck · powered by @socialditto
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Google says you should start any new experiments in Content Experiments, as opposed to Website Optimiser, given its pending demise. The feature will be rolling out to Google Analytics users over the next few weeks.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.