Any website page that advertises a product or service is in play to do one thing: turn shoppers into buyers and sell. We call this process conversion. It begins with a marketing message on a page and ends when the buyer adds the item to the shopping cart, fills out a form, picks up the phone, or sends an e-mail request.
Developing a competent conversion process can be a sticky bit of alchemy – figuring out exactly how your marketing message on the page gets visitors to accomplish a specific goal. Fortunately, help from Google has been available and improvements are in the works. The old Google Website Optimizer – a much-lauded multivariate testing tool – is being replaced with the new and improved Google Content Experiments.
Content Experiments by Google is, very simply, a conversion rate optimization tool. Its sole purpose is to provide web marketers with a simplified method for measuring the value or success gained from different versions of their site content. This is a blessing to detail-oriented content developers in that they will no longer have to second-guess their content efforts and the desired outcomes. Would it be more beneficial if I said it this way versus that way or another way?
In the effort to gain more conversions for your products and services, testing the content or layout of one page over another was a tedious (and sometimes costly) process. A versus B just isn’t enough variation. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
The Content > Experiments section of Analytics now allows site developers and content managers to test up to 6 different versions of their pages. It’s easy to set up and run. There’s even a Content Experiments Wizard that can guide you through the set-up.
In the set-up, the original version of your page receives a unique Experiment Code. Each subsequent version of the page is given a unique URL (obviously) and page name that Analytics tracks separately. You can address each page with a goal (such as shopping cart add), as well as what percentage of your site visitors will be shown one of the different versions of your original page. Analytics then kicks out a snippet of page Content Experiments HTML code to be added to your original page. Set-up completion and validation are, as always, Google-simple. Then, depending on how you’ve configured the experiment, X% visitors to the site are shown either the original version of your page or one of the secondary versions. Content Experiments tracks how each group of visitors converts by tracking visits, conversions, conversion rate, and how conversion rates differ from that of the original page. Content Experiments crunches all the numbers inside Analytics and provides the feedback. Results data, like with everything in Analytics, is live.
So, what does this do for content developers? Above all else, Content Experiments allows developers to create different variations of message, or a different call to action that can be thoroughly tested before making changes to the site pages. It is important and worth noting that returning visitors continue to see the original or alternate version of the page every time they visit – ensuring that your marketing message and branding are consistent.
In the end, this is a process and product improvement that is well overdue. The original Google Website Optimizer was an adequate A/B testing tool. Content Experiments allows web marketers, content developers, and site managers to test up to 5 different variations of their original content page (for 6 in total) and decide upon the best variation for their product or service. Additionally, Content Experiments improves site user experience for visitors by delivering direct feedback on activity. Win-Win. Thank you, Google.