A year ago, I was speaking at a Google event with three other website optimisation professionals, and we were asked to name our favourite platform for testing. Three of us opted for Google Website Optimiser (not just because it seemed polite). The rationale seemed to simply be: Why pay for a website optimisation tool when you can use Google Website Optimizer for free?
However, a year has passed and I’ve gained experience with a range of tools, including Omniture Test & Target, which has proved its worth to me. As a tool, Test & Target offers a range of options which are not available as standard in Google Website Optimizer. The ability to choose a winning variation based on revenue per visitor is a crucial advantage of the tool. More sales is not always better if you are driving lower average order values, so revenue per visitor is often a much better metric. It is true that you can manipulate Google’s tool if you have the skill, but most people don’t. Therein lies another advantage of Omniture – your payment gives you access to an account manager and technician who can help you setup the tests. This has proven to be extremely useful as tests never seem to be as simple as I planned! Segmenting traffic has always been an issue on Google Website Optimizer, but Test & Target allows you to setup segmentations and has a few important ones such as weekends/weekdays and browser type as standard. For example, the results of a test in Firefox, compared with Internet Explorer can often be very different, which gives you a greater insight into the way your visitors behave. A very cool feature is the option to show unique content to a visitor based on their previous actions. I have yet to explore this in full, but it is a very powerful method. If a visitor tells you they are interested in men’s clothes on a unisex site, then next time you can show them a site tailored to men. This can dramatically improve the experience for the visitor, who is then much more likely to buy. There are still some flaws with the interface that I would like to see improved. Ironically, some of the more important features are a little hidden, begging the question “do they optimise their website?”. There was a recent update which included a nice new dashboard, so perhaps the site is being reworked over the next year.