Announced on the 23rd of January, Google is set to end services of Google Optimize and Optimize 360 by the 30th of September 2023.
Launched over 5 years ago, Google Optimize was a webpage analytics and testing tool that has been used by CRO and web designers to optimise their website to improve user experiences and to ultimately increase conversions.
Why is Google sunsetting Optimize and Optimize 360?
The official statement from Google on the sunsetting of Optimize and Optimize 360 states:
“We remain committed to enabling businesses of all sizes to improve your user experiences and are investing in A/B testing in Google Analytics 4. We are focused on bringing the most effective solutions and integrations to our customers, especially as we look toward the future with Google Analytics 4.
Optimize, though a longstanding product, does not have many of the features and services that our customers request and need for experimentation testing. We, therefore, have decided to invest in solutions that will be more effective for our customers.”
However, for CROs and web designers, the facilities offered by Optimize and Optimize 360 are similar to other A/B testing tools, such as VWO, Optimizely, Convert and more. This includes variate and control a/b tests, visual editors and audience personalisation.
But, the downside of Optimize was that despite being free for anybody to use, it was significantly limited in what it could do, for example, users could only run up to 5 experiments and had restrictions when it came to audience segmentations and reporting of data. However, Optimize 360 is estimated to cost roughly about $150,000 annually. This price point may be more suitable for enterprise-level businesses, but for small to medium sized businesses there are tools out there that offer the same experience at a lower price point.
Alongside Google’s decision to integrate A/B testing tools into GA4, other reasons why Optimize may have been sunsetted was due to its inability to remain competitive due to its limitations for the free version and the cost of Optimize 360.
However, this refocus to move A/B testing tools into GA4 is likely to be because GA4 will not be compatible with Google Optimize as that runs through Universal Analytics, which is to be sunset too. Google may yet create a new version of testing software as experimentation is something the tech giant encourages, but the other option for Google to keep a hand in testing and experimentation is by partnering with or acquiring one of the big players in the testing/CRO market.
In direct response to Google sunsetting their Optimize platform, VWO announced their free plan on 22nd January 2022. The VWO Starter Plan is free for up to 50k tested visitors a month, though if you need more traffic for your needs, you can spend $199 a month to increase that to 100K monthly tested visitors.
There are several benefits to this plan as opposed to what Google Optimize has to offer, for instance:
- There are no limitations on the number of experiments you can run
- It can easily integrate with your tech stack (including GA & Google Ads)
- You can utilise VWO’s support team to troubleshoot problems regarding your experiments
However, it also has limitations where each test has only 3 variations, up to 5 goals and minimal targeting/segmentation capabilities.
WebTrends Optimize also offers a free plan for growing websites. You’re eligible for this if you have less than 10K sessions each month. One of the great things about this option is that there are no limitations to the functionality of the free account. Users get the same full testing capability for free as they offer with their paid version, but access is limited by 12 months.
Upon initial viewing, these are some viable alternatives. However, it’s important to do your own research, ensuring that whatever free tool you use offers the functionality that your business needs.
What about Google Optimize 360?
If you are a large, enterprise business paying for Google Optimize 360, various industry-leading A/B testing tools are currently offering special one-time-only discounts for users of Google Optimize to migrate into their platform. Some of these include 1:1 migration services, making the transition to a different platform much less daunting.
Before you make the switch, we recommend moving to a platform that’s right for your business according to your needs. Make sure to consider the cost and scaling implications, whether the platform is easy to use for your team, what integrations are available, reporting/segmentation capabilities and how much support is on offer when selecting your new platform. Choose the right platform for you and enjoy the benefits of this special one-off discount and migration service.