Google Optimize vs Optimizely

Optimisation tools can be what differentiates your organisation from the competition. Google Optimize and Optimizely both have powerful CRO capabilities suited for enterprise-level standards. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses between the two can help you determine which tool is best for your business.

Google Optimize sunsets September 30, 2023 and Google has named Optimizely as the recommended technology for users to continue their experiments and personalisation. If your organisation is currently using Optimize, then this comparison of Google Optimize vs Optimizely aims to uncover more about the similarities and differences you can expect after Optimize ceases to be available.

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Content experimentation

Both tools share similarities in their  experimentation capabilities. Both have easy to use page editors and are intuitive for digital marketers to carry out testing without any need to get development support. Although Google Optimize supports different types of experiments, this is limited to A/B testing, Multivariate testing (across sections) and redirect tests. These can also be set up as personalised experiments based on targeted visitors. Impressive, but not quite as advanced as Optimizely.

Similar to Google, Optimizely offers personalised campaigns, Optimizely A/B testing and Multivariate testing. However, they go a step further and also offer multi-page funnel testing which gives them the edge in this area.

Integrations and flexibility

When your business has a sizable digital ecosystem or has growth plans, it’s likely that you’ll have various tools and technologies that need to work together. This is an area where Optimizely really can flex. Optimizely (previously Episerver) gives its users the option to choose various third-party integrations with most leading software and analytical tools that offer free features, for example Google Analytics or Clicktale. It also proves the option through its enterprise plan to integrate with many more, including Slack, Adobe Audience Manager and Krux.

Whilst Google Optimize can integrate with third-party applications, this takes some heavy lifting from developers and if you don’t have the skillset in-house can likely therefore be an additional cost. Google Optimize doesn’t hold the same flexibility as Optimizely, which can customise experiments across pretty much any channel, whether its a website, app, smart TV or AI driven IoT devices. Google is limited to exclusively website optimisations. Great for marketers who are married to solely the Google Marketing Platform, not such great news for businesses leveraging anything outside of that.

Because of the limitations outside of its own platform, Optimizely definitely comes out stronger in this category.

Personalised experiences

Being able to accurately target visitors and create personalised experiences through experimentation is key to any customer-centric organisation. But which tool is better at helping marketers get it right, Google Optimize or Optimizely?

Google has a lot of powerful data sources in its own ecosystem (Google Analytics and Google Ads) it can integrate with to give its users the option to select target audiences that have already been configured in those tools. For existing Google Marketing Platform users, this is a great, seamless data sharing experience. Users are able to set restriction rules for experiments using various parameters such as device used, language, location or how they landed on the page.

In addition to being able to set personalisation experiments based on the basic demographics that Google Optimize includes, Optimizely’s capabilities are more advanced. Users are given the flexibility to use simple or advanced options for targeting and personalisation across each test. Realtime, sequential results are delivered with Optimizely enabling dynamic measurement of the alternatives under experiment. This provides a build up of results enabling trends to be shown far quicker than traditional methods. Marketers have control over multiple concurrent experiments and are provided with facilities such as exclusion groups and associated logic. This sophisticated technology empowers digital marketers to be laser-focussed with their targeting and which visitors see which specific page variants.

Although Google Optimize does provide a quality offering for organisations, Optimizely’s ability to customise targeting in more detail is a powerful tool to have in any ambitious marketer’s arsenal.

Measuring and reporting

If you don’t have effective evaluation tools for your CRO activity, then you may as well just put your whole strategy in the bin. Both tools monitor user behaviour on landing pages using tracking snippets and present the performance data in an accessible format with useful experiment insights. When it comes to ticking off the reporting basics, such as the number of visitors per variation, conversion rates etc both Google Optimize and Optimizely are very similar in their offering.

Where they differ is in their own unique features to help marketers. Optimizely uses automatic filters to remove duplicate results to improve accuracy in your reports and allows users to segment to get a more in-depth understanding of how visitors engaged with each page variation. On the other hand Google Optimize has a feature that’s a summary header which updates marketers the status of the experiment.

Overall, both do a good job in reporting results with accessible user interfaces, Google’s is arguably easier to use, but like with most aspects Optimizely’s features continue to be more advanced.

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Choosing Google Optimize or Optimizely for your organisation

To summarise, both tools give digital marketers the ability to carry out smart experiments, monitor and report effectively. Google Optimize comes up short when it comes to more sophisticated capabilities, however would be great for smaller organisations setting up their digital toolkit.

For digitally ambitious organisations or enterprise-level businesses that are looking for industry-leading technology to help them create meaningful experiences that are going to engage their audiences and help their bottom line then Optimizely is the better choice.

Learn more about Optimizely

Episerver and Optimizely joined forces in 2021 to become a world-class Digital Experience Platform. We are Ultimedia, an accredited Optimizely Partner based in the UK. We have been helping organisations unlock their digital potential since 1995 and we love helping our clients get the most out of the platform investment through innovative solutions.

Contact us to book a demo, have a chat about your requirements or to learn more about Optimizely pricing – we’d love to help.

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