Earlier this month the news broke that Google is officially 'sunsetting' its Optimize and Optimize 360 products. There had been speculations near the end of 2022 that Google was planning to cancel the Optimize services, and that turned out to be the case. Google Optimize (GO) will no longer be available after 30 September 2023. Experiments and personalisation campaigns will stop running after that date.
Google explained the reason behind sunsetting Optimize by stating “Optimize, though a longstanding product, does not have many of the features and services that our customers request and need for experimentation testing. We therefore have decided to invest in solutions that will be more effective for our customers".
In addition, Google clarified that it is still committed to supporting A/B testing by stating “We launched Google Optimize over five years ago to enable businesses of all sizes to easily test and improve their user experiences. We remain committed to enabling businesses of all sizes to improve user experiences and are investing in A/B testing in Google Analytics 4".
What does this mean for customers?
The Optimize platform is still accessible up until the sunset date. Google recommends that customers download the historical data from their accounts before the sunset date. The raw data is also available through the Google Analytics Data API, but you will not be able to access your experience inference results or your historical Google Analytics 4 raw data once the platform has gone offline.
Customers of Firebase A/B Testing will be glad to hear that there are no plans to stop this service – even though it's using the same infrastructure as Optimize. Google is committed to continue its support for this service.
The next few months will see businesses transition to other capable web experience platforms. Scoping out the field to find the right fit can be exhausting, and we will help our clients by providing the information they need to make a calculated decision. In the next section we will recommend some of our favourite web experience platforms.
What are good alternative platforms?
There are a number of capable platforms available that offer similar, or even better, web experience features to Google Optimize. When searching for the right platform to fit your needs, it's helpful to understand the migration process required to transition from Google Optimize to another platform. Some platforms also offer exclusive discounts and migration services to support customers in the transition – particularly now that Google Optimize is nearing end-of-life. We work with a number of experimentation focused platforms such Optimizely Experimentation, AB Tasty, Visual Website Optimizer (VWO), and also digital experience platforms that provide certain experimentation features such as Optimizely CMS, Kentico Xperience, Sitecore, and Uniform.
The leading platform in the industry is Optimizely Experimentation. It started its A/B testing and personalisation journey in 2010 – proudly presenting itself as the first ever web experimentation platform. Its wide range of features and high-performance delivery network enable you to run A/B tests, content personalisation campaigns, analyse user behaviour, and even deliver recommendations using artificial intelligence. The platform has integrations available for multiple Google products, such as Google Analytics 4 and Google Ads, and the release of a Google BigQuery integration is planned for later this year. The platform is also available in the Google Cloud Marketplace – making the migration easier for customers that are looking to replace Google Optimize. Customers that are transitioning from Google Optimize are also offered a one-time-only platform discount as well as a discount on the migration support services.
Leveraging your DXP
If you are already using a DXP platform to support your content management and online marketing, then you may not need to switch to another dedicated experimentation platform. A lot of DXP platforms actually have built-in experimentation features such as A/B testing and personalisation. It may not be enough to entirely replace Google Optimize, especially compared to an experimentation-focused platform, but it could still meet your requirements for certain use cases. It can be worthwhile to try out the features in your platform of choice to see if it can be used effectively – or even if it can be used temporarily while migrating to a web experimentation platform. The list below links to pages on the platform websites that describe the capabilities of each feature.
- Personalisation and A/B testing in Kentico Xperience
- Personalisation and A/B testing in Sitecore
- Personalisation and A/B testing in Optimizely CMS
Finding the right alternative to suit your needs can be a challenge. We help our clients by gathering enough information for them to make a calculated decision. If you are in this situation and need help, send us a message.
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