Overview of Content Experiments

Elements of an Experiment

The Ingredients

Experiments require:

  • Different versions of your web pages to serve to your users.
  • Goals that you've set up in Analytics.
  • Ecommerce tracking if you want to use those metrics as objectives.

Each experiment page is measured according to the percentage of users who view the page and accomplish the goal.

Page Elements You can Test

Create different versions of your web pages to test:

  • Headlines and headers
  • Images and icons
  • Text
  • Calls to action
  • Page layout

Analytics Goals You can Use in Experiments

You can set up goals in Google Analytics, and then use those goals as the basis for your experiments.

  • URL Destination goals
    An experiment that uses a URL Destination goal focuses on getting users to view a specific web page.
    Use this kind of goal to find out things like how well your test pages encourages users along a path to a product page, a page that includes the location of your business, or pages on which you're selling ads.

  • Event goals
    An experiment that uses an event goal focuses on getting users to perform a specific action on a page.
    Use this kind of goal to find out things like how well your test pages encourages users to sign up for a newsletter, view a video, or click Add to Cart for a product.

  • Session Duration goals
    Use this kind of goal to see how well your test pages encourage users to spend at least the minimum amount of time you want on your site. For example, if you're running a news site, you want to see that users are spending enough time to read the articles, and enough time to validate the rates you charge for advertisements.

  • Pages per Session goals
    Like session-duration goals, pages-per-session goals help you understand whether users are consuming the amount of content you want. Are they browsing enough product pages; are they reading articles in the political, sports, and lifestyle sections?

Analytics Metrics You can use in Experiments

In addition to goals, you can use any other available metric as objective for your experiment. For example, you can test which page leads to a decrease in bounce rate, or to the greatest increase in revenue or session duration.

Experiments looks for the variation that best decreases bounce rate, and for the variation that best increases the values of all other metrics.

In order to use Ecommerce metrics in an experiment, you must have ecommerce tracking enabled for that view.

Testing Guidelines

To get faster and more reliable results:

  • Test only a few elements
    If you change multiple elements on each page, it can be difficult to figure out which element or combination of elements was responsible for the best results. For example, create multiple pages but change only the main image on each page, and keep the same layout and text to ensure that any difference between the page results is due to the image.

  • Use high-volume pages
    The more often that people see a page or complete a goal, the less time it takes to gather data.

  • Make bold changes
    Users can miss small changes and you can end up with inconclusive results.

  • Keep testing
    With follow-up testing, you can build on the success of your experiment. Did one headline encourage a lot more purchases? If so, test it alongside a product image or an image of a spokesperson.