Google Optimize May Be Sunsetting, But Your Testing Plans Don’t Have To

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On January 20, 2023, Google confirmed that their website A/B testing product, Optimize (360), is being sunset. Marketers have until September 30, 2023, to run tests and use various Optimize features/integrations. (Note that Firebase A/B testing capabilities for mobile apps will not be affected by this change).

This may have come as a shock to the analytics and site optimization industry, especially with other changes like the required migration to GA4 and increased privacy measures happening concurrently.

That said, this change doesn’t have to be (as) stressful. You can lean on your team (and trusted partners like Adswerve), maintain open lines of communication and keep an open mind to being flexible and learning a new product. We know many of you are asking the question, what should I do now? So here's what you need to know to start taking the next steps.

With Google Optimize sunsetting, what’s changing and why?

Google Optimize launched over five years ago and was crucial to enabling businesses, small and large, to test and improve user experiences easily. Fast forward to today, Google has decided to focus engineering efforts on other initiatives and products like GA4. 

With the product sunsetting on September 30, 2023, we encourage all users to begin using other tools for testing and to download historical data from within the Optimize user interface well before then.

How am I affected by this change to Google Optimize?

You might have more questions than answers at this point. How will this impact my current Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and Experimentation efforts? What if I’m unfamiliar with the other platforms? I’ve got a lot of testing coming up, will I get able to get it all done? 

The good news is that other than the platform change, there doesn’t have to be much change to your testing strategies and goals. And depending on your product procurement process, testing doesn’t have to be disrupted too much, either.

Keep in mind that Adswerve can always help you explore these alternative solutions, including Optimizely, Adobe Target, VWO, and more. We offer expert planning, training, and implementation support to help you transition to a new platform, regardless of where you are in the process. Contact us for more information.

How can I prepare for a new A/B testing platform? 

Now that you’ve had some time to take in the news and think through the effects, it’s time to make a game plan. Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail,” and we don’t want that. Below are your ten next steps towards focusing on what you can control.

10 Steps to Prepare for a New A/B Testing Platform

  1. Inventory your current tests, important metrics, and likes/dislikes of Optimize
  2. Think through your current testing goals, strategies, and maturity (AKA organizational buy-in)
  3. Think about your current tech stack
  4. Create a transition plan 
  5. Research alternative products
  6. Select your new product
  7. Get approvals for your new product (ie, budgets, security)
  8. Implement and QA your new product
  9. Evaluate your new product by running a mock/small test
  10. Once confirmed, connect your new product to your tech stack 

Additional Testing Tips

Once you’ve made it through the above list, it's time to get back to business as usual with testing! Here are some additional strategies to keep in mind:

  • Focus on building trust both within your team as well as working with trusted partners to navigate new territory. You may face some resistance to change but presenting a united front and clear plan will allow others to put their trust in you and turn into advocates for this change.  
  • Establish open lines of communication at various levels (think about folks who are running tests, make decisions with test data, have workflows that are affected by test data, and the organization’s leadership team). Each of those stakeholders has different concerns and needs, and addressing them through clear and continuous communication will help ease the transition process and help every feel more informed and secure.  
  • Seize the opportunity to pivot from being an Optimize expert to being an expert on the new platform for your organization. Although it may seem daunting, many others are making the switch and learning as they go as well. If you can adopt and learn faster, you will put yourself and your organization in a better position than before. Continuous learning and interest in new products will serve you well during this transitional period. 

Lastly, acknowledging that although planning is vital to success, plans are always subject to change. Having some flexibility, showing compassion, and building in room for error will keep the transition moving, even with unforeseen roadblocks that may pop up.  Adswerve highly recommends putting together testing plans and ideas that can be platform-agnostic and evergreen. This way, your plans are flexible enough to adapt to changes that come your way. 

How do I choose a new testing platform?

As listed above, there are several steps to take before you choose a new platform. We recommend starting by taking a look at how you are currently using Optimize and determining what are must-haves or nice-to-haves when it comes to a new platform. 

You’ll also need to consider how the new product features will fit your needs based on your testing goals and strategies and how they will integrate with your current tech stack. 

Adswerve is an Adobe partner and can provide consulting and implementation support for Adobe Target. Additionally, Adswerve has in-depth experience with other products as well.  Below are some alternative testing products to consider as replacements to Optimize: 

When making your decision, keep in mind that Google is partnering with AB Tasty, Optimizely, and VWO to create integrations that work with GA4. This will allow testing data to be available in reports, Explorations, audiences, and more. We’ll provide details on these integrations when we know more. 

Adswerve can provide consultation, product demos, and recommendations via this contact form to help you pick a product to move forward with and get back to testing. 

If you’d like further assistance after reading this blog post, Adswerve’s got you covered on taking control of your CRO and testing needs with additional resources that will be available shortly. Stay tuned to learn more about how to create testing plans, set a long-term strategy, and how to get started with Adobe Target.