A/B Testing with Google Analytics’ New ExperimentsJune 21st, 2012 at 3:16 pm by Ereika
For longtime users of Google Website Optimizer, a big change is on the horizon – Google has announced plans to scrap Website Optimizer as a separate service, in favor of integrated Content Experiments that can be set up and executed from within Google Analytics. The rollout has already started and for those looking to take advantage of the new functionality right away, here’s what you need to know to get set up:
The Experiments feature makes use of the Goals and Events already supported within Google Analytics. Any goal or event you create is available to track within Experiments, with two notable exceptions: average visit duration, and pages per visit. While you can track these metrics for each page in your experiment elsewhere in Google Analytics, you cannot use these as metrics within the Experiment itself.
For Goals, you can set specific page URLs, such as a thank you page for a contact form or newsletter sign up, or even a confirmation page for an order form, if you have one consistent URL that can be tracked across all purchases.
Tracking Events requires a little more effort to set up, and is used to track specific actions on a page. For example, you would set up events tracking to see how many people click to download a whitepaper, or to play a video on your landing page. You can also use Events for form submissions when there is no separate “thank you” page by tracking clicks on the submit button.
Like Website Optimizer, you’ll need to create a separate page for each variation you want to track, and you’ll need to have those pages coded and live on your site before you are ready to begin.
Once you have these pieces set up, you’re ready to run the Content Experiments wizard, which will take you through setting up tracking for each page on your experiment. To begin, make sure you’re working underneath the Regular Reporting tab, click on the Content section in the left menu bar, and then click “Experiments”.
Steps to Take when Transitioning from Website Optimizer to Content Experiments
- Set up Goal and Event Tracking for Conversions within Google Analytics
- Ensure all tracking code is live on the webpages you wish to test – this means Google Analytics as well as any Goal or Event tracking code.
- Decide on the amount of traffic to dedicate to your test.
Google Website Optimizer preferred to have 100 conversions before deciding on a winner, so determining how much of your traffic is needed to get that number of conversions is a good place to start.
While the new integration hasn’t been enabled in all Google Analytics accounts yet, being prepared for the new changes will make for a smoother transition in your A/B testing and conversion optimization efforts.