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How to Use Google Analytics Content Experiments for Easy Testing

Every marketer knows the importance of testing and making sure you have the best possible pages out there to get visitors to do what you want them to do—make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, engage with an article, etc. However, what many marketers are still missing is the fact that Google Analytics has a featured called Content Experiments that allows you to test in a different way than you might be used to testing. Instead of just A/B and multivariate testing, this feature helps you test up to 10 full versions of a single page. It’s an excellent way to make sure you aren’t missing a beat when it comes to your website.

How Google Analytics Content Experiments Work

As discussed above, this feature is all about helping you test 10 versions of a page as opposed to just two (called A/B testing), or testing various combinations of different features of a single page (called multivariate testing). Technically, this is considered an A/B/N model of testing. There are a few different things you can do with Content Experiments:

  • Use a random sample of users and compare different web pages performance.
  • Determine what percentage of users are included in the experiment.
  • You can choose the objective that you want to test. This can include different headlines and headers, images and icons, text, calls to action, page layouts, etc.
  • The feature will send you an email with information bout how the experiment is doing.

You can also check out this video that explains how you can use Content Experiments for your company. It also explains how to get started, which is explained a little bit easier in the next section of this article.

This video explains that you can only test out 6 versions, but that has been increased to 10 since this video has been made.

Getting Started with Google Analytics Content Experiments Feature

Fortunately, getting started with Content Experiments is very simple. Once you’re logged into your Google Analytics account, you can navigate to this feature through just three easy steps:

  1. Click the Standard Reporting tab.
  2. Click Content and then click Experiments.
  3. Click Start Experimenting.

As you might have noticed, Content Experiments are just one click away from your regular diagnosis reports that you use all the time, so it’s clear Google wants this to be an easy feature to use. These three steps will get you to where you can start creating a new experiment.

Content Experiments have three different areas to consider: The Experiment Wizard, which is what you will see if this is your first time, List of Experiments, which is what you will see if you have setup an experiment before, and the Individual Reports for each experiment.

Regardless if it’s your first time or not, the setup-wizard will open and you will have four steps to complete to get your experiment up and running. Below is an example from this help page from Google of the page you will see when you first get started:

 experiment 1

As you can see, the system will take you through 4 different steps and ask you to simply fill in the information. Below explains these four steps:

  1. Choose your objective. This is where you will select a goal or metric that you want to test to improve performance along with the percentage of traffic you want to include.
  2. Identify the pages you want to work with. Enter the URLs for the original page you want to test along with the 10 variations you want to test.
  3. Add the experiment code to your original page. This is probably the most confusing part of the whole process because you have to take the code that Google generates for you and then add it to your original page. You do, however, have the option to either manually insert the code or send the code to someone who is more familiar with coding. Below is an example from that same Google help page that shows you what you will see and how you can choose the option to have Google send an email to your developer:

experiment code

4. Review and begin. Take a look and make sure everything looks good to go and click “Start Experiment.”

You will then be able to go into the Standard Reporting tab and see all of your experiments in a list format (the “Experiment List” page discussed above). You can click “view report” to see how each experiment is doing and eventually make your decision about the page that is best for you.

A Few Extra Tips

Google has mentioned here that you can setup different Goals in Google Analytics to use as a basis for your experiments. There are four different types of Goals you may want to consider setting up: URL Destination Goals, Event Goals, Session Duration Goals, and Pages per Session Goals. I highly recommend visiting the link to see how each of these Goals differs and how you can use them to help your Content Experiments.

If you’re interested in learning more about Goals, we wrote an article covering Destination Goals here complete with screenshots, which you can find here.

It’s also worth noting that Content Experiments are only compatible with the analytics.js and ga.js tracking methods. If you use a different tracking method, you may not be able to use the Experiments feature.

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