In our previous post, we discussed the importance of micro conversions in setting and tracking the specific goals of your website. Google Analytics now allows you to experiment with different variations of your content to see how these are affecting both your micro and macro conversions.

Announced earlier this month, Google Analytics’ Content Experiments will now allow you to optimize for the goals you have already set up on your site’s account by delivering actionable data on which page designs, layouts, and content are most effective for driving conversions. It’s a similar tool to Google’s Website Optimizer, only instead of being integrated with AdWords, it’s built into Analytics. As a result, Website Optimizer will be phased out over the summer with the last day of access scheduled for August 1, 2012.

Some early critics of this offering have mentioned the inability to run multivariate testing (testing various combinations of components on a single page) within the tool, but this is actually a totally different type of testing. In theory, Content Experiments would be a more dynamic form of testing than standard A/B or multivariate. By combining a robust new statistical engine with an intuitive layout, it promises:

  • A setup wizard providing step-by-step instructions for setting up experiments and quickly launching new tests
  • Reuses existing GA tags so that you only need to add one additional tag to the original page
  • Provides insight into which content performs best and identifies a “winner” once statistically significant data has been collected

    Content Experiments for Google Web Analytics

By offering different variations of your site’s content, you’re essentially letting your audience decide how your site should look and function. Google is rolling this out gradually, so it won’t be available for all sites for at least a few more weeks. Once available, it is simple to set up:

  • Under the Content section, click Experiments
  • Add the URL for the original page, then the variations you’ve uploaded
  • You can add up to five full variations of the page you’re testing (or six, according to their rollout video)
  • Select which goal you’d like to improve, and what percentage of visitors to include in each page experiment
  • Once the code is added to your site, you can review the full experiment and go live

Once live, it tracks how visitors convert and compares the experiments to the original page while in progress. During the testing phase you can also see the likelihood of the variations to outperform the original – giving you quicker, predictive data that you can act on without having to wait for a clear-cut “winner”.