Google Optimize alternatives – free & affordable A/B testing tools
A complete guide for people looking for alternative tools now that Google has 'sunset' Optimize
I’m sure you’ve heard the big news, Google Optimize is being ‘sunset’ (i.e. killed off) by Google and as of now, there’s no plan to replace it. There’s tonnes of articles out there suggesting alternatives, mostly from the other testing tools, but not as many around practical advice around which tools are actually good, whilst being affordable.
Goodbye old friend
Google Optimize will be sorely missed. It’s where I cut my teeth in A/B testing before most of the people in the industry I worked in knew what CRO was.
Despite being buggy and our devs hating it, it was also absolutely free to everyone, which was fantastic. It meant that companies who couldn’t afford $20k a year for a testing tool could try out experimentation for very little cost, and getting some great results when done correctly, and it integrated with GA3 out of the box, without any fiddly setup.
It also meant that lots of smaller websites could try A/B testing very small changes on very small amounts of traffic to get very inconclusive results, or really exciting results that might not have been true uplifts because of small sample sizes and little idea around statistics, but we’ve all got to learn somewhere.
There was early talk of GA4 having an A/B testing tool built-in, but these rumours have been de-bunked and it’s been confirmed that Google Optimize won’t return to GA4. You never know, they might change their mind in the future, but for now it’s best to look for an alternative that can replace Google Optimize.
Free & Affordable Google Optimize Alternatives
In reality, most of our clients (we’re a CRO agency) want a tool that works well for running a few tests per month. I’ve done some digging to create a cost comparison for you below. I’ve not included the tools that I contacted and were priced higher than our clients are usually willing to pay, and I’ve also excluded any plans for very low amounts of traffic (e.g. 5k a month), so see this as as summary of Googling for a couple of hours. A lot of tools want to take you through a demo before they provide pricing, too. I’ve not purposely excluded any tools from my search.
- There are TWO free A/B testing tools for up to 50k traffic a month, VWO and ABlyft
- Lower traffic plans have been added e.g. $99 for 50k users from Convert
My pick would still be Convert because of their support & their experiments are flicker free, but any of these tools would be a good choice, especially if you’re testing the waters with experimentation. Don’t forget that by paying yearly you’ll usually get a better deal.
There’s also the option of basic A/B testing via Google Tag Manager, which is free, and if you’ve got the time & expertise, is an option to explore.
What to look for when A/B testing on the cheaper Google Optimize replacements
- If you’re on one of the free / cheaper plans, you’ll have a limit of users per month to test on
- Use an A/B test calculator before you build / run a test
- To run a test, you’ll need a minimum threshold before you can call your test a success (if it’s a positive result), for example on 100k users and 1k conversions per month, you’d need to see an uplift of 16.6% in conversions within 4 weeks to get a ‘significant’ result, in other words to be confident that the changes you’re seeing are likely to be replicated if you ran the test again. You can adjust the ‘confidence’ level within calculators.
More expensive Google Optimize Alternatives
The enterprise level A/B testing tools do have their place, but we’re talking about finding Google Optimize alternatives here. If you had a few tests to run a month and were considering spending $20,000 a year on an enterprise testing tool, you could consider saving on the tool cost and using the extra budget to hire an agency to take some of the work off your hands via a research project & an A/B testing programme. Shameless plug but if you already had the budget for an expensive tool, it’s always an option.
Optimizely are trying their luck in the Google search results by quoting themselves ‘highly recommended as an alternative’… to a free tool, but they’re an enterprise level tool, they’ve just got good branding and they’ve been around forever. Clever.
If you’re looking for an agency to create & run an A/B testing programme for you, would like CRO training, or just a spare pair of hands when you’re busy, we’d be keen to help out. We’ve been in the Conversion Optimisation space for 7 years and we love helping our clients grow. Email [email protected] or call 0161 713 2434 for a chat about what we could do for you.