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The demise of Google Optimize could be the best thing to happen to your CRO program

Matt Lacey
Matt Lacey
Director of Data, CRO & Insights
5 min read
20 April 2023

Earlier this year, Google announced that its optimization platform Google Optimize would be sunsetting. While everyone flipped their lids and entered a state of denial, we sat back and exhaled. 

The sunsetting of Google Optimize is nothing to worry about. 

Here’s why. 

At the end of the day, most businesses were not seeing value from Google Optimize. This is due to a number of reasons, but mainly because organizations weren’t investing in the right things to make the CRO tool work.

The 10/90 rule

Over a decade ago, Avinash Kaushik estimated that for every $10 you spend on technology, you need roughly $90 to extract value from the technology. He said, “A part-time person or your admin can’t help your management make actionable decisions.”

While this sentiment remains true today, we’ve found four factors that go into extracting value from tools. They are, in order of importance: 

  • Your people
  • Their processes
  • Having a culture of innovation and experimentation 
  • The tooling itself 

The exact ratios of each could be debated, but from our experience, your team’s people, processes, and culture (or lack thereof) will ultimately decide your success. 

Back to Google Optimize.

Over the years, we’ve seen countless marketing teams attempt conversion rate optimization. Few are successful. 

Because of Google Optimize’s freemium status, many marketing and product teams push the technology but fail to invest in resources to extract value from it. Stretched too thin, teams experiment without the correct research inputs, test in sporadic ways, or don’t have access to the right skillsets to conduct analysis–and therefore come to the wrong conclusions. 

The tool is rendered useless. 

With Google Optimize sunsetting, teams will be forced to think about their CRO programs. In some cases where CRO and experimentation aren’t viable, we hope teams will refocus on methods that add more value. Too many businesses have concluded that CRO doesn’t work when, in reality, they haven’t approached it in the right way.

Google Optimize alternatives

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. If you’ve been using Google Optimize until now, chances are a free alternative, or an affordable entry-level plan will be good options for you to continue with your efforts.

Which tool to choose depends heavily on the features you require, the amount of traffic on your website, and your use cases. We recommend gathering your experimentation and personalization requirements so you can find the best possible alternative tooling solution for your needs.

For those that want to dive deeply into alternatives, we have a complete guide to Google Optimize alternatives. For those that want some quick ideas, here are our top picks. 

Best for mid-market to enterprise: Optimizely 

Optimizely is the world’s leading digital experience platform offering enterprise-targeted content, experimentation, and commerce solutions. It has a visual editor for marketing teams and a code editor for developers. A full-stack product is available. 

Experiment types 

  • A/B Testing
  • Multi-Page Testing
  • Multi-Armed Bandits
  • Multi-variate Testing
  • Personalization
  • Advanced types (exclusion groups)

Analysis available 

  • Stats Engine
  • Analytics & Heatmap integrations
  • Segmented result analysis
  • Initial partner for native GA4 integration

Best for growing marketing teams: VWO 

VWO is an experimentation platform consisting of several different products, such as Testing, Insights, Personalize, FullStack, and more. It has a free plan available for up to 50k visitors/per month. If you find success and grow into the tool, you can easily expand to an enterprise level. 

Experiment types 

  • A/B Testing
  • Split URL Testing
  • Personalization (not in the free version)

Analysis available 

  • Segmented analysis available
  • SmartStats statistics (Bayesian)
  • Initial partner for native GA4 integration

Best for price-conscious teams:  

Convert is an A/B Testing tool that labels itself as offering enterprise-grade A/B Testing features at self-service pricing. Convert is passionate about providing a sustainable alternative, the tool itself being carbon neutral and the company offsetting their emissions.

Experiment types 

  • A/B testing
  • Multivariate testing
  • Multipage experiments
  • Split URL testing
  • Personalization/deploys

Analysis available 

  • Advanced post-segmentation
  • Google Analytics integration

While the sunset of Google Optimize may be disappointing to some, it is ultimately a good thing for the industry. We believe it will encourage innovation, competition, and growth, which will ultimately benefit more users in the long run. Take this opportunity to explore new options and re-evaluate your optimization strategies to stay ahead of the curve.

The CRO market needed a shakeup, and we’re glad to see it finally happen. 

Download our guide to Google Optimize alternatives