In our recently published State of Digital Marketing Analytics in the Top 1000 Online Retailers report, we found that just 37% of the Internet Retailer Top 1000 organizations are using testing, optimization or personalization tools.

We also found that testing and optimization tools are, so far, mostly being leveraged by the top-ranking retailers. 76% of the Top 50 online retailers have deployed major testing and optimization solutions, but this consistently declines with each bucket, reaching just 11% adoption in the 751-1000 group.

Jonathan Mesh, Product Manager, Google Optimize 360, says that many organizations have been busy working on their data over the past couple of years and getting it to a point where they trust it, and can build on it. “The next step is to do something with the data,” says Mesh, “You need data you can trust, but you don’t have to be on the cutting edge of analytics in order to activate it through testing and optimization. Very quickly, organizations start to see that effort start to pay off. For us, it’s about making it simple to act on that data.”

As organizations continue to see value from their core analytics platforms and seek to push the envelope in the future, testing, optimization, and personalization solutions are poised for growth in 2017. We sat down with Jonathan Mesh to learn more about the value of testing and optimization tools like Google Optimize.

Q: What seems to be happening long term in the world of optimization platforms?

A: Jonathan: It’s been interesting to watch over the past few years. We’re starting to see the rise of growth hacking teams. The charter of most growth hacking teams is to grow the business wherever they have the opportunity. This could be through re-engagement emailing, or A/B testing on whatever channels they can get their hands on. Their team will generally have a lot of crossover with all departments;  designers, developers, product managers, and marketers, to name just a few. By having access to these teams, they have the unique ability to touch on all areas of engagement across the organization.

Growth hacking teams actually act as a bridge between the traditional divides within an organization, and help to drive things forward. Facebook has done a lot of growth hacking in recent years, and it’s really started to catch on in the industry. I find that it breaks down barriers to testing, as well as organizational barriers that sometimes arise between departments such as IT and Marketing. What I mean by that, is for example, Marketing wants to make changes to a site, or start playing around with testing on different properties, but oftentimes will not be allowed to do this  because of the barriers put up from IT.

Q: Why is now the time for these organizations to adopt a tool like Optimize 360?

A: Jonathan: So many organizations that aren’t in the top 250 have spent the past few years just getting a handle on their data. They’ve started out by learning what it means to make their data clean, and be able to report on it– but the the next step is doing something with it. For us at Google, it’s about making it simple for organizations and individuals. We wanted to make sure that they aren’t going to be adding unnecessary confusion to that data story, and making it easy for them to get their data to a point where it’s actionable, and making it super simple to get started– from measurement to action.

People are still a bit scared by the term ‘personalization’, and often, saying that you are going to personalize across all properties and channels will result (nine times out of ten) in failure. Our advice is don’t try to plan so far ahead for it and limit yourself because of organizational boundaries,  just get in there and start experimenting, and that’s exactly what Google Optimize enables you to do.

Q: You’ve been involved with Optimize from the beginning, so you’d know best, why would an organization choose Optimize 360?

A: Jonathan- Optimize makes things really simple. People were complaining they were using a mix of other testing tools and the numbers they were getting were different, and so they wanted to consolidate all of their data and reporting into one tool. Another great thing (well, two other great things) about using Optimize are that one: when you run a test, the data is going to go straight back into Google Analytics, and two: you can get your data right back out for on-site personalization via Analytics Audiences.

Q: Who are the typical users of Optimize in an organization? Is it suitable for marketers, or would this be a tool more suited for a technically-skilled analyst?

A: Jonathan- We see all different types of users. Even if a user has a very limited background in web development, they can get in there right away and change out a headline and run some tests. We’ve really made it as fail-safe as possible, and we’ve made the integration really simple too.

Q: Which clients are on Optimize 360 now?

A: Jonathan- The Motley Fool spent a great deal of effort getting their Ecommerce conversion tracking set up really well with Google Analytics to ensure it matched their payment systems. For them the question was, “do we want to go with another system where people have to manually recreate this data?” The answer was obviously no, because with Optimize, the benefit for them was that they can really trust that even with all of their different teams, the data will remain consistent.

Q: Are there any case studies to share around the use of Optimize 360?

A: Jonathan: Yes, several! In fact, check out the Optimize 360 Motley Fool case study which resulted in a 26% increase of order page conversion and reduced their time to deploy website experiments from up to 3 days to under 10 minutes.

If you have questions about how Google Optimize can work for your organization, please reach out to the team at Cardinal Path.  You can also view helpful how-to videos directly from Google’s Twitter account (handle: @Google).