Optimizely vs Google Optimize: how do they compare?

A/B testing has long been the staple of conversion optimization practitioners. Provided you have enough visitors for your tests to reach statistical significance and clearly defined goals, this CRO technique can really help you make systematic performance improvements to your site or mobile app. There are several A/B testing solutions out there, but Google Optimize and Optimizely are among the most well-known. Both have considerable advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see how they compare.

Optimizely

Optimizely is basically synonymous with A/B testing and, in many ways, has set several standards for CRO. With a wealth of experience built over 10 years, they have honed their product to service different professionals, including product managers and marketers, and have made several pivots along the way. For one, they have expanded their product functionality beyond A/B testing to encompass data-driven personalization. This makes their product feature-rich. It allows you to run multivariate tests, run different recommendation algorithms, and perform advanced audience targeting. They also offer integrations for other analytics and heatmap tools, helping you back-up your results with other data points.  

Optimizely customers can create experiments and personalized experiences across websites, mobile apps and connected devices. This is especially useful for large companies with lots of channels. The tool doesn’t come cheap. In fact, it went from being free to becoming a lot pricier than most CRO tools, but it competes well with Adobe Target and other enterprise-level testing solutions. Another thing to note is that it requires some technical expertise. You will likely have to work with a developer and a specialist to get a bang for your buck.

What makes Optimizely great?

It’s a solid product with a great set of features to run multiple CRO experiments.

What’s the biggest disadvantage of Optimizely?

It’s costly and better suited for large enterprise companies.

Google Optimize

Google Optimize has been in the works for some time. It was previously known as Google Content Experiments. A beta version of the tool was released in 2016. The solution has moved beyond that stage 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. Although customer reviews say Optimizely offers better dashboards. You get advanced targeting with both Optimizely and Google Optimize.

Unlike Optimizely, Google Optimize has a free plan available. 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.

Implementing Optimize 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.

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.

Which one should you use?

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 Optimizely if:

  • You want to use an industry-leading tool that allows you to experiment with A/B tests and data-driven personalization.
  • You’re prepared to pay a considerable amount for a CRO solution with good support.
  • You have technical resources and CRO specialists who will justify the investment and help you get the most out of the tool.

You should use Google Optimize if:

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

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 Optimizely and Google Optimize.

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

Optimizely Review

5.0

Optimizely started off as an A/B testing tool and is seen as the leading experimentation platform.