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On Friday, January 20, 2023, Google announced that it would be discontinuing its Optimize product. The announcement comes after months of speculation that Optimize, Optimize 360 and all Optimize integrations will no longer be available after September 30, 2023.
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what’s going on?
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By the end of 2021, Google announced that Optimize would no longer be commercialized as a standalone product and plans were made to integrate Optimize into Google Analytics 4 (GA4).
However, just recently instead they announced the official end of Google Optimize and Optimize 360 as of September 30, 2023. From an experiment provider to a machine learning and measurement platform, that is a key strength and focus area of Google Analytics. This new role will enable Google to integrate GA4 with A/B testing data to drive better customer experiences.
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Since launching five years ago, Google Optimize and Optimize 360 have been beloved testing products among practitioners and marketers. They provided small businesses and enterprise solutions with the ability to test and deliver superior digital experiences to their customers. Over the years, our Google Certified Experts have written numerous articles on how to enhance and deliver engaging customer experiences through personalization and A/B testing through optimization.
Many companies using Google Optimize will need to consider what comes next, so we’ve consolidated what we know about the Google Optimize sunset announcement from what we’ve heard from our experts and marketing and analytics leaders. We’ve asked for your thoughts, and we’ve identified a number of steps to take to begin what you think is going to happen next.
Key Facts on Google Optimize 2023 Sunset Optimize is currently available for free for UA360 customers through an Optimize 360 contract and for GA4 customers through an integration Both the Optimize 360 product and the integration in GA4 will expire on September 30, 2023 . This will allow Google to focus engineering efforts on the GA4 migration and improve the way A/B tool users analyze their experiments in GA4 through the new exception process on UA360 for those upgrading through H1 2023 Will be able to upgrade to Optimize 360 with a contract end date for Optimize 360 on or before September 30, 2023. Google will update in 2023 that Optimize 360 orders that proceed after this date will be blocked Clients using GA4 will have access to Optimize on all GA4 connected containers until September 30, 2023 Existing UA360 Clients who have signed a GA4 agreement will be able to continue using Optimize 360 linked to UA360 for free until September 30, 2023. Customers will need to keep their Optimize containers linked to UA360 assets; Optimize containers can only be linked to UA360 or GA4 properties – not both, and UA360 is being retired on July 1, 2023.
“I believe Google’s decision to phase out Optimize is a part of Google’s global product strategy, in which other Google products, particularly GA4, will play an integral role in how Optimize is used by customers.” How the experiments will be rolled out. Google is moving forward. Plans to release more information as the sunset date nears – The Bounty CRO team is doing its best to help customers navigate this transition process as smoothly as possible. Well equipped.”
Senior Analytics Consultant
What will happen next?
For many organizations, this is an opportunity to evaluate the maturity of their optimization program and understand its value, keeping in mind the overall business goals and objectives. Knowing full well that in the next few months, there is a potential need to consider a new tool, it is important to start thinking about what the transition plan should look like and what it will take (in terms of time, resources, and budget). To enable this transition.
Our Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) experts have been successfully helping clients of various sizes with this type of transformation. Whether it’s helping select and implement a new tool, training clients on the tool, and helping them lay the foundation for a CRO program through strategy planning and execution, we’ve helped companies have partnered with to guide them through this kind of change and feel. Value from a reoriented focus.
“Whenever a major partner like Google announces a change like this, it can be overwhelming for our customers and their marketing teams. They often ask things like, ‘What does this mean? Where am I? start? Who do I call? How does this affect my current programs? Are my planned 2023 initiatives at risk? What do I need to budget for this type of change?’ Our approach to meet with customers as quickly as possible, break down the changes being made, identify risks and opportunities, align on the vision going forward and deliver against a roadmap to ensure any transition or Switching across platforms is as easy and seamless as possible, with as little disruption to their marketing delivery, programming and conversion rate results as possible.”
SVP Customer Marketing
Choosing a New A/B Testing and Conversion Rate Optimization Tool
Once a decision has been made to potentially purchase a new product, it is important that the key stakeholders involved in the process come together to chalk out a transition plan. A clear transition plan should be drawn up to ensure teams are working toward the deadline.
The process consists of several steps, the first of which is to assess the equipment for its capabilities and features. There are tons of optimization tools available for marketers today to choose from. It is very important to understand and compare these tools against the business requirements during this process (more details on this below).
Once the tools have been selected, the next step is to outline the implementation process and involve the right stakeholders to ensure successful and timely implementation.
Upon completion of implementation, any existing or planned customizations may be converted to the new tool. It is important to note that there may be a need for a freeze period where no new customizations are being performed to ensure a seamless transition to the new equipment before resuming business as usual.
Factors to consider when selecting new equipment
As you tackle the investigative process and decide which tools to evaluate and how to choose, be sure you’re bringing the right stakeholders to the table. Personalization, A/B testing, and conversion rate optimization are big initiatives, usually with stakeholders from different teams. Too often though, teams are siled and may not include all that is needed to not only make decisions, but to ensure that implementation is successful, and the tool provides value.
This is a great opportunity to reset and bring on the right people from the start. Consider whether an impartial third-party agency or consultant might be helpful in navigating difficult conversations or recommending the best tools for evaluation.
Current marketing techniques play an important role in selecting the right customization partner. Although increasing conversions and positively impacting a business’s bottom line is the main goal of the tool, it is not the only goal. The success of the tool depends on how well it integrates with the many other systems within the marketing tech stack.
Time and again we’ve seen customers face issues like:
The tool is not well integrated with content management systems that host the content and images for testing, and does not have a seamless integration with the main analytics platform that is responsible for reporting on the success of use cases (which all test and personalization) not having a relationship with the audience and data management (CDP) system that enables targeting and personalization.
It is also good to check if this tool can enable testing on other marketing channels like social, email etc. This helps keep all the optimization capabilities in one tool (keeping in mind the governance) and reap the benefits of cross channel optimization for integrated marketing campaigns. , Thus, it is important to ensure that the existing and planned technology architecture is taken into account when selecting an optimization tool.
It is imperative to clearly outline and define the business objectives to help you understand the type of optimization tools needed. In our experience, we’ve seen customers use customization tools the most for the following three scenarios
Strong personalization and experience orchestration requires a tool that has the ability to do this across multiple channels/touchpoints providing unique experiences, as an alternative CMS tool to implement features on digital properties that take time are sensitive to and cannot rely on the CMS development cycle. Implementation can take months Assist UX team in testing features before rolling out to entire digital property
Every organization has its own unique set of goals and objectives that need to form the basis for any optimization program or tool.
“For the past 5 years Google Optimize has played a vital role for our CRO team and customers and has been a trusted product in the GMP program.
The CRO landscape is constantly changing and as one door closes another opens providing exciting opportunities. This next chapter encourages brands to look at technology not only from a CRO perspective but at an enterprise level to help lay the foundation for customer-centric value creation.
As it turns out, Bounty’s CRO program and team of practitioners not only ensure awareness of these big picture goals and outcomes, but also strive to be at the forefront of innovative solutions.”
Associate Director CRO
Implementation and Migration
The implementation of this new tool on digital assets is the next step in this process. In this phase, it becomes important to include the right team members such as the Dev and Engineering teams who are responsible for the actual implementation work. In large organizations, many times these teams need to be involved much earlier in the process as they can operate in an agile environment that requires months of planning and preparation. Engineering teams in smaller organizations can be more flexible with their process. Implementation and integration with other technologies like CMS systems, analytics platforms, etc. are of utmost importance and are vital for the successful operation of the tool.
Once the tool is implemented, any existing optimization/AB tests in the existing tool (Google Optimize in this case) need to be migrated to the newly implemented tool. This migration needs to be carefully planned so that there are no issues with the user experience and that the tests do not stop in the middle of their run time. Once the migration is complete, teams can start using it as per their plans.
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