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Goodbye, Website Optimizer… We Hardly Knew Thee.

In a recent announcement from Google, the Website Optimizer tool in AdWords is being retired. Google is constantly evolving and shaking things up to try and make things more logical & useful to advertisers & webmasters. This is intended to streamline the systems a bit.

So, what is Website Optmizer, you say? In a nutshell, Website Optimizer was an awesome tool that allows webmasters to be able to quickly serve up dynamic content to a website visitor & measure which change had the greatest impact on conversions & therefore sales. For instance, say you have a “Lead Generation” landing page for, let’s say veterinary medicine, and you want to see if photo #1 (a happy, little Jack Russell) or photo #2 (a sad & lumbering Irish Wolfhound) would cause more people to fill out your contact form. You could set up the test to show half the visitors photo #1 & the other half would see photo #2. Once the test was completed, you could see which photo led to more conversions & decide whether or not to make the change for all visitors. Pretty cool & an amazing resource for landing page optimization.

So why is it being retired? Well, here’s the letter from Google:

An important note about the future of Website Optimizer
Dear Website Optimizer User,

We’re saying goodbye to Google Website Optimizer. Many marketers and publishers have improved the web by using insights from Website Optimizer to create better experiences for their users. To elevate website optimization and provide one fully integrated tool for testing, content optimization will now have a new home within Google Analytics. The last day you’ll be able to access Google Website Optimizer will be August 1st, 2012.

If you’re looking to start a new experiment, please use our new tool, located within Google Analytics called Content Experiments. We’ve put a great deal of effort into providing this tool that makes testing as easy as possible. Content Experiments comes with a simple set up wizard, identifies the statistically significant best variation, and provides insightful reports on your website engagement. This is just the first step we’re taking to simplify website testing, and we’re looking forward to adding more experimentation features into Google Analytics.

If you’re not a Google Analytics user, we invite you to sign up now to get access to the new Content Experiments tool, which is available to all Google Analytics users. To learn more about the new Content Experiments tool, read our blog post or check out this video. Make sure you’re a Google Analytics user now to ensure uninterrupted experiments when Website Optimizer is shut down on Aug 1, 2012. If you would like professional assistance in designing, implementing, or interpreting the results of a test, simply go to the Google Analytics Partner page and select “Website Optimizer” from the Specialization menu.

We hope you enjoyed using Website Optimizer and that you will find a lot of value in our new Content Experiments tool. Thank you for helping to make websites better.

Google Website Optimizer team

Ok, so it’s not really dead… It just moving to another location and I think this actually makes sense. While Website Optimizer is a tool for advertisers, it more of a tool for webmasters, in general so it makes sense that it would be part of analytics. And it’s being revamped, as well. According to Google Analytics Support site, in the new “content Experiments” tool:

You’re not testing just two versions of a page as in A/B testing, and you’re not testing various combinations of components on a single page as in multivariate testing. Instead, you are testing up to five full versions of a single page, each delivered to visitors from a separate URL.

It will be interesting to see just how this new tool works out. As soon as I get some time to play around with it, I’ll try to get a write-up about it.

And since we are talking about changes that make sense, I personally would like to see Webmaster Tools integrated into Google Analytics as well. Why do I need a completely different site & experience to see the top search queries & rankings or submit a sitemap? It would be so much nicer if it were part of Google Analytics.

So, here’s the link to the new content experiments tool and hopefully you will have some good results. Let me know if you find anything that really stands out about it.

Thanks for reading.

Kelly Myers

Ballistic Websites is an Internet Marketing Company based in Knoxville, TN. Our Mission is to help small to medium sized businesses leverage the internet to increase revenue, and stay competitive in today's economy

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