Google has officially confirmed today that Optimize, as a product within the Google Marketing Platform, will be sunsetted as of Sep 30, 2023. That includes all versions (360 and Standard) and all integrations (browser & server-side, Universal Analytics & Google Analytics 4).
Optimize was an excellent and inexpensive tool that was deceptively powerful in the right hands. Its capabilities and low cost helped reduce barriers to start experimentation and personalization practices for many of our clients. This will likely be the last time we see an A/B testing tool from Google since Optimize was their 3rd attempt in the space.
Not all is doom and gloom, however. Google is doubling down on creating a more robust GA4 environment to make third-party integrations and analysis much easier and insightful. Some of those plans include:
- Increased Quotas – Analysts no longer need to use Custom Dimensions (CD) to track each test. Instead we will use Audiences data to isolate a particular test which provides greater flexibility and speed to results. Audiences can be generated on the fly with GA4 Explorer and deleted at the end of experiments while still preserving historical data.
- Measurement – Audience data can be exported into third-party A/B tools for statistical computation. This means that experiment results in GA4 should match with the third-party A/B tool, with no potential for conflicting data.
- Ease of Use – Some A/B providers required users to repeatedly switch back and forth between the GA and A/B UI to deploy an experiment. Most users will go to a single step for implementation. More to come on this as Google shares more.
So what should we start doing now?
We expect to have more information and launch updates on these GA4 A/B third-party integration and analysis features throughout Q1 and Q2 that we’ll keep you informed of. In the meantime, consider the following plan:
- Plan for all active experiments and personalizations being managed by Optimize to be completed and/or part of a release plan by or before early August.
- Begin thinking about conducting platform evaluations around April to give you plenty of time to compare features against your roadmap and use cases. That should give you time to plan for budgeting, implementation, and training. We regularly conduct these, and would be happy to assist.
- Ensure you have all experiment parameters, code, screenshots, etc. that’s only available in the Optimize UI as we get closer to the sunset period in September. The data itself will remain in either UA or GA4 depending on which you linked to Optimize.
For questions pertaining to contractual implications of the paid version (Optimize 360), please reach out to whomever manages the Optimize license on your behalf.
Ultimately I’m excited to see how GA4 evolves to improve the optimization analysis of other industry-leading conversion rate optimization (CRO) tools. I’ll be interested to see where Google Cloud Platform and Recommendations AI and their potential for real-time personalization end up.
Let us know if you want to discuss capabilities of other CRO platforms ‒ namely Optimizely, Dynamic Yield, Adobe Target, VWO, and AB Tasty, among others. We have a team of certified experts that can help you navigate any of those decisions.