Using an A/B testing tool is one of the quickest and easiest ways to discover which variations of your website most increase your website sales and leads.
To help you understand the different tool options available to you, I have created a guide that compares the three leading tool choices: Visual Website Optimizer, Optimizely, and Google Content Experiments (previously called Google Website Optimizer).
All of them have their advantages and disadvantages (particularly Google Content Experiments), so I have created a grid comparing Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) with its major rivals, including pricing and functionality. I’ve included some ratings for each feature, and a total score too.
Let’s get started with the ratings (which I officially updated Sept 20th 2016):
|Google Content Experiments|
|Cost||Free.||Plans start at $49 per month for ‘startup’ level (10,000 visitors).||Plans start at $49 per month for ‘standard’ level (for 1000 visitors).|
|Test creation options||5/10 Basic wizard setup only, no visual or code editor.||9/10 Advanced test creation options available for all plans.||8/10 Advanced but multi page not in standard plan.|
|Ease to add test code||7/10 Easy but several page tags needed to be added.||9/10 Very simple – only one tag needed.||9/10 Very simple – only one tag needed.|
|Multivariate test options||0/10 None.||9/10 Many MVT options available in all plan levels.||9/10 Many MVT options available in all plan levels.|
|Targeting ability for tests (new visitors etc)
||0/10 None.||8/10 Good targeting behavioral options for all levels, with basic ability to build custom target segments.||9/10 Great targeting options in the standard level, with advanced targeting at higher account levels.|
|Conversion goals & success metrics||9/10 Very good – can easily use Google Analytics goals as conversion goals.||8/10 Great – good selection of goals and metrics, including revenue.||8/10 Great – good selection of goals and metrics, including revenue.|
|Test reporting and segmenting||7/10 Average reporting, but ability to analyze Google Analytics segments.||8/10 Newly improved. Better reporting and added ability to segment results.||8/10 Excellent results reporting, but segmentation not in standard level.|
|Overall comments||Promising, but a big step back from the Google Website Optimizer tool.||Great tool, also includes newly improved heatmap tool to help gain better test ideas.||Definitely more of the ‘expert’ tool, but is more expensive for the premium levels.|
|Overall rating||5/10 Very lacking, needs key features.||9/10 Has slight edge over Optimizely for beginner A/B testers.||9/10 Better features for testing pros – although it charges more for them.|
|Free trial?||Try Content Experiments – free||Get a 30-day free trial of VWO||Get a 30-day free trial of Optimizely|
As you can see, Google Content Experiments is seriously lacking in functionality, so I’m now going to focus on the differences between Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely.
Visual Website Optimizer Overview
Here are some pros and cons that you should know for Visual Website Optimizer:
- Includes other A/B testing related tools like visitor click heat maps.
- Intuitive new user interface with great A/B test design wizard to help you.
- Excellent ‘idea factory’ helps you create better test ideas (by type/element etc).
- All features included in monthly cost – no adding fees for greater functionality.
- No built-in multi-page testing functionality (across navigation/check-out etc).
- Sometimes it’s hard to create tests across pages with complicated URLs.
- Offer fewer real-time support options in comparison to Optimizely.
Try the tool for yourself: Get a free 30 day trial of Visual Website Optimizer
Optimizely has also grown leaps and bounds recently as an outstanding A/B testing tool. Here are the notable pros and cons of the tool:
- More of the ‘premium’ tool in comparison to Visual Website Optimizer.
- Competes well with Adobe Target and other enterprise level testing tools.
- Offers the most options for running targeting tests (at professional level plan).
- Better A/B testing options for experts, including options for multi-page testing.
- Offers extensive community and academy for getting the most from the tool.
- Set-up test wizard a bit too simple – doesn’t highlight key test functionality well.
- Sometimes it is difficult to preview A/B test variations easily and quickly.
Try it for yourself though: Get a free 30 day trial of Optimizely
Which is better? Visual Website Optimizer or Optimizely?
Really it’s kind of like a Pepsi Vs Coke thing – many experts will only use their favorite,with many casual users not really noting the key differences.
To help you make up your mind, here are my expert two-cents about both tools:
- Visual Website is better for beginner and casual testers, with extra built-in tools like click heatmaps to help you find test ideas.
- Optimizely offers a good standard account, but really performs for advanced testers with their enterprise level (but is expensive).
Overall, Visual Website Optimizer has the slight edge for casual A/B testers, with extras like heatmaps and the idea factory. For serious and seasoned A/B testers, I definitely recommend the Optimizely professional level – more comprehensive offering, even though you have to pay much more for it.
Ultimately I suggest you try a free trial for both of the tools and see which one you are most comfortable using and meets your needs better.
Extra reading: If you want to get much better results from using either of these A/B testing tools, don’t forget to read my essential user guide for A/B testing tool success!
That’s my expert two cents. Now over to you the readers – what is your favorite A/B testing tool, and why? Please comment below!