A/B Testing Tools: VWO Compared to Google Optimize and Optimizely

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visual website optimizer screenshot
Using an A/B testing tool is one of the easiest ways to discover which variations of your website increase your website sales and leads the most.

To help you understand the different tool options available to you, I have created a guide that compares three leading tool choices: VWO, Optimizely, and the newly launched Google Optimize.

All of them have their advantages and disadvantages, so I have created a grid comparing VWO (Visual Website Optimizer) with its major rivals, including pricing and functionality. Below the table I’ve also included an overview along with the pros and cons for each of the tools.

Let’s get started with the ratings:

Google OptimizeVWO logoOptimizely
Cost rating
10/10 Free (with premium 360 version also available).9/10 Plans start at $199 per month (for 10,000 visitors).5/10 Costly custom pricing plans, aimed at the enterprise market.
Test creation options and ease of use
8/10 Good visual editing options but only using Chrome browser plugin.9/10 Great easy to use visual editing options, plus CSS and code editing options.9/10 The best visual editing options, plus CSS and code editing options.
Ease to add test code9/10 Very easy. Just one extra line of Google Analytics code needed.9/10 Very simple – only one tag needed.9/10 Very simple – only one tag needed.
Testing types available
8/10 A/B tests, MVT and redirect tests included. Multi-page and mobile tests only in premium version.8/10 A/B tests, MVT and redirect tests included. Multi-page and mobile tests only in premium version.9/10 A/B tests, MVT redirect, multi-page and mobile tests included in all plans.
Targeting ability for tests (new visitors etc)
8/10 Google Analytics segments used for targeting, and very simple to use.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 metrics7/10 Google Analytics goals are used only, no customized goals.9/10 Great – good selection of goals and metrics, including revenue.9/10 Great – good selection of goals and metrics, including revenue.
A/B test reporting
6/10 Fairly good reporting but no dashboard overview.8/10 Great reporting options with a useful dashboard overview.9/10 Excellent results reporting and dashboard overview.
Customer service
1/10 No support offered. Only included in premium version.8/10 Email support included in basic plan, 24/7 phone support in enterprise plan.8/10 Good support via online ticket system. Client onboarding included for all plans.
Overall rating7/10 Good for beginners but lacks advanced features and support options.9/10 Highly recommended for all types of users, with reasonable costs.8/10 Better features for A/B testing pros – although much more expensive.
Free trial?Try Google Optimize – freeGet a 30-day free trial of VWO Get a 30-day free trial of Optimizely

 

Now let’s get more detailed, with an overview of each of these tools, including their pros and cons.

Google Optimize overview

Google Optimize launched in 2017 and is a major improvement over their previous A/B testing tool which was built into Google Analytics (called Google Content Experiments). It has limitations but is improving. Here are the notable pros and cons of the tool:

Pros:

  • Very good tool for free, much better than Google Content Experiments.
  • Excellent integration with Google Analytics makes A/B testing very easy.
  • Easy to analyze reports in greater depth using Google Analytics.
  • Can be upgraded to their premium 360 version to unlock more features.

Cons:

  • Only 5 tests can be run at the same time (unlimited when upgrading to 360 version).
  • Multi-page and mobile testing not included (only in 360 version).
  • No support included, only through forums or paid 3rd party consultants or agencies.

Rating on G2Crowd: 4.3/5 (as of August 2019)

VWO overview

There are now two versions of VWO. One is their classic A/B testing tool, and the other is their new premium CRO tool which offers A/B testing plus other essential tools like visitor recordings, survey tools and form analysis. Here are the pros and cons of the classic A/B testing version:

Pros:

  • 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).
  • Can be upgraded to an excellent set of CRO tools like visitor recordings and surveys.

Cons:

  • No built-in multi-page testing functionality (across navigation/check-out etc).
  • Sometimes it’s hard to create tests across pages with complicated URLs.
  • Pricing has increased recently as they move away from the low cost tool market.

Rating on G2Crowd: 4.2/5 (as of August 2019)

Optimizely overview

Optimizely has evolved from being one of the most popular tools a few years ago to recently becoming one that focuses on enterprise sized businesses (while removing their free starter level plan). Here are the notable pros and cons of the tool:

Pros:

  • Has the best A/B testing options for experts and pros.
  • Competes well with Adobe Target and other enterprise level A/B testing tools.
  • New Optimizely X features ability to optimize mobile apps and other platforms.
  • Offers extensive community and academy for getting the most from the tool.

Cons:

  • Very expensive, which limits this to mainly companies with big budgets.
  • Sometimes it is difficult to preview A/B test variations easily and quickly.

Rating on G2Crowd: 4.3/5 (as of August 2019)

Which is better? VWO, Google Optimize, or Optimizely? 

To help you make up your mind, here are my expert two-cents about these tools:

  • Google Optimize is the best choice for beginners or those with no budget for A/B testing yet, but has limitations.
  • VWO is a great tool for those looking for more A/B testing features than Google Optimize.
  • Optimizely is best for advanced users with excellent features, but high costs limit this to companies with very big budgets.

Ultimately I suggest you sign up for Google Optimize to see if that meets your needs, and also try a free trial of VWO to see the benefits of their more advanced A/B testing features. If your company can afford Optimizely and you want expert features, then use that tool instead.

Extra reading: If you want to get much better results from using these A/B testing tools, then don’t forget to read my essential user guide for A/B testing tool success!

Other A/B testing tools worth considering

I have reviewed 3 of the most popular A/B testing tools, but there are certainly some other newer tools. Here are some of the best newer ones for you to also consider, each with their own strengths:

  • Omniconvert – a multi-purpose tool that also offers personalization, surveys, and website overlays.
  • Convert – growing fast and in particular has great data privacy and excellent support.
  • A/B Tasty – a good tool that also includes useful options for visitor recordings and heatmaps.

There are also other good tools purely for the enterprise market like Adobe Target, Qubit, and Monetate.

Wrapping up

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!

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