Is this another Google Optimize post?... Well, kind of, but I’d like to think it’s more sound advice than some of the sales pitches I’m currently seeing on social media...

What a weekend that was! Google announces the sunsetting on Google Optimize and Google Optimize 360… but who didn’t already know that? I had my first conversation about that in spring last year.

However, what do we know now though, is that the message initially is very clear ““Google Optimize and Google Optimize 360 will no longer be available after 30th September 2023”.

Well, it maybe starts as a very clear message until they do a little back peddling and create a little uncertainty with the addition of “We remain committed to enabling businesses of all sizes to improve your user experiences and are investing in A/B Testing in Google Analytics 4”…

How do we interpret this? Well, I feel this is a little easier if you received their communication earlier this month that says:

“Over the next few months we plan to announce new functionality that will make it seamless to integrate experiment and audience data into Google Analytics 4 for analysis. This will provide customers with A/B testing needs, a better overall experience, while building upon GA4’s strength as a measurement platform.”

So, for any die-hard fans of Google Optimize and Google Optimize 360 do you really think they’ll announce the sunsetting without a clear path to a new solution if they are indeed building it?

Or is it more likely they’re going back to their roots and focusing on the data/analysis side like the second message above suggests. After all, it’s not like Google Optimize has ever been heavily invested in…

One thing is for certain, this isn’t good for our industry (yeah I said that!). Google Optimize has been a great enabler for people to have a risk-free entry point to CRO & experimentation, and what does that now mean for those people?

In addition, many agencies and partners have depended on Google Optimize to help grow their business and client base by proving the value of testing and experimentation. I, like I’m sure many others, will see this as a bad thing.

So what next?...

I suppose regardless of whether Google develop an alternative or not those users and agencies that depended on it need an alternative.

This is where the gloves come off and I see tech vendors out there already starting to fight to try and mop up the Google Optimize users out there. I’ve read claims of free trial services crashing… really?!… On a Saturday after a late Friday announcement when users still have 9 months to decide what to do next??

I thought I knew our industry well and people would be off enjoying their weekend and spending time with their partners, children and loved ones, like I did, not scrambling to get a free trial like it’s the toilet roll shortage of 2020! This seems to me like FOMO marketing...

At time of writing it’s been a few days since Google announced the news and I’m already seeing more ‘free tiers’ crop up (it’s worth mentioning Webtrends Optimize does have one, but this was launched at the start of the pandemic to support smaller businesses getting into CRO so that they get easy access to support via ourselves and our network of trusted partners).

You already have more choice than you’ve ever had for a ‘free solution’ and plenty of time to decide.

Why am I writing this? What’s my point?

Well, I suppose it’s this, if you’re looking for a replacement (either as a direct end-user, or as an agency):

1) Take your time and don’t rush to the first free solution you find, there is usually a ‘cost of free’. For example, as I refer to above, I’ve seen a sudden wave of new ‘free’ solutions launched since the announcement. If these vendors don’t have other motives for launching these, why wait until now to make them available?

2) Review the market and the options available to you, it’s not a black and white choice of Free or £1000’s and you often really do get what you pay for. But beware of low price lead-ins that restrict you and then ask you to upgrade once you're tied in to get what you actually need.

3) Do your own research. I’ve seen a ton of ‘top 5/10 testing/experimentation tech vendor’ type articles in the last few days and people suggesting things like using the Gartner Magic Quadrant. While they can be a useful part of your research, don’t depend solely on someone else’s view, who may have other reasons for those recommendations.

Picking on the Gartner MQ specifically, is this the right place for everyone to go and review the market? I feel like only an elite certain cross-section pay the £20k plus to be part of this and it therefore isn't necessarily reflective of the full market.

In my view you should be looking toward independent review sites like (and/or others) which has the whole of the industries tech vendors in there, with reviews and scores based on real users feedback. They can then get a more inclusive, balanced view of the current landscape.

4) Plan your migration carefully. Sit down and understand your objectives and what you need from your solution. Don’t rush into a decision. Allow your tests to conclude, migrate your winners.

5) Implementation of many CRO technologies is free and easy. Or should be! What’s more you can run them in parallel with your existing vendor and have a gradual transition.

6) Get the right support. If the tech vendor doesn’t offer it then there’s plenty of impartial agencies out there that will help and advise you what’s right for your business.

7) Don’t. Stop. Testing. Don’t let this put you off using an optimisation solution. It’s the right thing for any business to do, regardless of your budgets, and there are definitely options out there for you. Implementing the experimentation mindset and practices in your business early definitely helps support you as you grow, and strenghen in the longer term.

Good luck over the next few months. If anyone wants to discuss any of the above in more detail, wants some advice or someone to bounce ideas off, feel free to message me directly (or any of the team) and we’ll gladly help where we can.