Google Optimize vs Unless: how do they compare?

Looking to up conversion rates on your website? You’re not alone. Everyone struggles with this. Luckily, there are several tools out there that make Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) easier – or at least more manageable. In this article, I will compare two favorites: Google Optimize and Unless.

Google Optimize

Google Optimize has been in the works for some time but has yet to reach the mainstream adoption enjoyed by other tools in the Google Marketing Platform, such as Google Analytics. Optimize, for short, was previously known as Google Content Experiments. A beta version of the tool was released in 2016. The solution has moved beyond the beta since, offering a good set of features for A/B testing and personalization, a WYSIWYG editor and a UI that will feel very familiar if you’re used to working with Google products. Optimize comes with native integrations for Google Analytics, Google Ads and AdSense. Results are automatically fed into Google Analytics, making it easy to report on your tests.

Google Optimize has a free plan available, making it an attractive choice. The free plan has its limitations though: you don’t get support, you get a limited amount of experiments, and you don’t get mobile tests.

Implementation is easy. You only need to add an extra line of code to your Google Analytics script. If you’re using Google Tag Manager (GTM), you can use the Google Optimize tag template that’s already built-in and available in GTM. Measuring results is a breeze, given the native integration the tool has with Google Analytics.

What makes Google Optimize great?

You can start using it for free.

What’s the biggest disadvantage of Google Optimize?

Limited support options. You’ll depend on forums or third-party agencies to troubleshoot.

Unless

Unless was founded in 2016, making it the new kid on the block. It’s a personalization platform for websites that focuses on “contextualization.” In practice, this means that the tool helps you tweak your word choices, images, and social proof (among other things) to appeal to different visitor segments. The system is packed with features. Your visitors can get a unique user experience across multiple web pages or even subdomains – all the way from your landing page to your checkout, for example. Multiple personalized content snippets may fire on the same web page, allowing for very detailed personalizations. They released a library of “smart add-ons” which allow you to display a CTA bar and popups to your audiences. Their WYSIWYG editor is very easy to use and their UI is cleaner than the Google Optimize UI.

Like Google Optimize, Unless’ implementation is fairly simple. You need to add a script to your site. If you want to start personalizing before your developers do that, you can submit your website URL and start personalizing from within the Unless dashboard. Once the system detects that the snippet is properly inserted in your website, it will automatically move your changes to the live view.

What makes Unless great?

Its super responsive customer service.

What’s the biggest disadvantage of Unless?

The solution is very specific and focused on personalization. It’s not meant to be used for A/B testing and doesn’t come with the feature palette offered by the likes of Optimizely or VWO.

Which one should you use?

I’m afraid there’s no simple answer here. It depends on your business and what you’re looking to accomplish. If you’re looking for a quick takeaway, I’d say:

You should use Google Optimize if:

  • You’re already an experienced user of Google products, but a beginner when it comes to CRO.
  • You’re looking to get started quickly with multiple CRO techniques, such as A/B testing, multivariate testing, and personalization.
  • You prefer a free solution, even if it means that you’ll get no dedicated support.

You should use Unless if:

  • You’re looking to become an expert at personalization and really squeeze the juice out of this CRO methodology using a wide breadth of data sources and features.
  • You don’t mind paying in order to get good support.
  • You are looking for a technology vendor that will make GDPR compliance easy.

I hope this helps you choose the right tool. If you’re interested in learning more about these solutions and the features they offer, read our reviews for Google Optimize and Unless.

Read more about these tools

Google Optimize Review

4.0

Optimize is an offering as part of Google's Analytics and Analytics 360 platform. It allows you to

Unless Review

4.0

Unless is the new kid on the block, but making its mark on the industry already. It’s a