Getting Started with Google Optimize 360

“Introducing Google Analytics 360!”

Today, Google Analytics announced its new suite of services: Google Analytics 360. The suite of tools will allow users to see the complete customer journey, create useful insights, enable better sharing within an organization, and deliver engaging experiences to the right people. The suite includes Google Audience Center 360, Google Data Studio 360, Google Tag Manager 360, Google Analytics 360 (formerly known as Google Analytics Premium), Google Attribution 360 (formerly known as Adometry), and for the purpose of this blog post, Google Optimize 360.

Google Optimize 360 – Why Now?

Though still in Beta, the release of Google Optimize 360 is a pivotal moment for website optimization. To understand why, we need to look back to the beginning of Google’s testing features. Until recently, only large companies could do website optimization. The cost and complexity of the existing products were prohibitive to most prospective users. In 2007, Google released their first tool, Google Website Optimizer, a free tool that anyone could use to run basic A/B and multivariate tests.

2010 marked the introduction of Optimizely, one of our favorite tools (beloved by many of our clients). Optimizely offered the ability to have a WYSIWYG editor, allowing anyone to create their own tests at an affordable price point. It completely blew away the capabilities that Google Website Optimizer had to offer. Google responded in 2012, launching Google Content Experiments, which integrated their testing directly into Google Analytics for the first time. It did not however, make testing any easier or support multivariate tests or even provide a WYSIWG editor.

Almost 10 years after Google entered testing, they once again have a product worthy of every business’s attention: Google Optimize 360. Google Optimize 360 performs unlike any other testing tool on the market. Its ability to integrate with Google Analytics for both targeting and analysis is unmatched. In a matter of minutes you can create audiences from Google Analytics that provide personalization and targeting that would require complex integrations in other tools. The ability to see and create cohorts for test performance provide you with the ability to analyze every detail of your tests with every single report in Google Analytics.

Lets take a look at how easy it is to get started with Google Optimize 360!

Getting Started with Google Optimize 360

Google Optimize 360 requires one small code change to get started. You will need to install the Optimize snippet that is provided after creating an account as high up as possible after the opening <head> tag on every page. At the time of writing of this blog post, Google Tag Manager does not support implementing Optimize as a tag choice because of its synchronous nature. Hopefully this will change soon!

Now that you have installed the Optimize snippet, here is how easy it is to test and target through Optimize.

Step One – Start A New Experiment

Click the blue add experiment button.1. Create Experiment

Step Two – Name Experiment and Link Google Analytics

2. Name Experiment

Step Three – Make Your Variations

Creating variations is easy through Google Optimize’s WYSIWIG editor. You can click on any image of the page and edit elements through the pop up menu on the right side. You can also click and drag various elements. The GIF below shows how easy it is to create a variation where the main navigation is rearranged.


Step Four – Set Objectives

The objectives and targets are where Google Optimize really shines. You can easily selects your goals from Google Analytics as experiment objectives, add notes and a hypothesis, and most importantly your targets. 4. Set Goals and Targets

Step Five – Set  Targets

The targets are the most powerful offering of Google Optimize 360. From here you can run tests that target based on any combinations of the following rule types:

  • URLs
  • Google Analytics Audiences
  • Behavior (Landing Page or Referrer)
  • Geo (City, Region, Metro, Country)
  • Technology (Browser, Device Category)
  • Javascript Variable
  • 1st Party cookie
  • Custom Javascript
  • Query Paramater
  • Data Layer Variable (From Google Tag Manager)

The most important elements are the ability to use dataLayer variables from Google Tag Manager and the ability to use audiences created from Google Analytics. In 30 seconds, I was able to create the audience below for users that were on the site for 3 or minutes or viewed more than 3 pages.

5. Create GA Audience 6. Save Audience 7. Save Audience

Next Steps

Google Optimize 360 has clearly entered a market full of tools and established an enterprise product with features and value that are unrivaled. What are some tests you are planning to run through Optimize? Leave a comment below or contact us if you need any help getting your optimization program off the ground!


  1. I am really eager to see if Optimize 360 will hurt the business of Optimizely & Co. Will wait until I used Optimize 360 by myself before I can make my own opinion.

    Do you guys think this will be an “either/or” or a “both for different use cases” scenario?

    1. We use and love Optimizely. I see this as a disruption the same as Google Tag Manager, which was followed by a number of mergers and acquisitions in the tag management space. How much so will depend on the pricing =)

  2. Looks like Google is just getting caught up to what’s been available from Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer and others for years now. Personally I think this is a platform play for Google to own the ecosystem of analytics and split-testing to compete with Adobe Test and Target. Optimizely and Visual Website Optimizer are probably blips on Google’s radar. But for the greater A/B Testing community and marketplace this may be a good thing as far as the industry goes with more visibility towards more people testing. However it’s a double edged sword. Making it easier to test things without any knowledge of what to test and how to test is a dangerous thing to put in the hands of many marketers with a WYSIWYG editor, this really just might make it more know that this functionality is available to some marketers.

    1. Bobby is absolutely right! It is VERY easy to waste time and effort with testing. You need strong, value added hypotheses to start with. If you ever find yourself testing the color of a button, you’ll know you’ve gone too far…

  3. […] AnalyticsPros walkthrough how Optimize 360 works, how to create a test and setting audience targets […]

  4. […] remember a little bit of history, in 2007, Google Website Optimizer -Google’s first tool-,  was born. It was basically a free […]

  5. Moving away from the testing roadmap chat for a second (tests should be part of your organisation;’s measurement framework), big organisations are not only about what a tool does (features) but also what kind of support you get from the company you work with as well as implementation/technical complexities. Having used both Adobe premium, Google Premium and Optimizely I can tell you straight off the bat that Optimizely’s support is 20 times better compared to adobe. This is way more important for our optimisation managers where they have a tiny slot in an implementation sprint to push a change. Traditionally Google Premium gives limited or close to no support from a technical pov. They will either direct you to an agency OR send you a print guide for your team to implement. I can see this feature getting popular but not from managers that already use Optimizely or T&T. Switching digital marketing suits is extremely complex and Google will need to do a lot more if they want to get a share of the pie (increase interaction event number for large retailers, get a decent amount of Dimensions etc).


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