Sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
And for anyone who’s been using Google Optimize to optimize and a/b test their digital fundraising, that rings especially true. Because in case you haven’t heard …
Google will be sunsetting Google Optimize on September 30!
While this news is sure to cause stress for nonprofits that rely on the popular (and free) platform for their A/B testing needs, it doesn’t mean you should stop A/B testing altogether.
There are other A/B testing platforms that nonprofits can use to continue decoding what works in digital fundraising.
As companies rush to take advantage of Google’s decision to sunset Optimize, we’re likely to see a steep upshoot in testing platform availability and innovation.
While most alternatives won’t be free, many of them offer features that are even more powerful than Google Optimize.
If you’re feeling unsure about A/B testing after Google Optimize … or don’t know which alternative will work best for your needs, fear not fellow optimizer!
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most capable A/B testing alternatives for nonprofits so that you can make the best decision about which to try.
But first …
Why is A/B testing so important for nonprofits?
What works in digital fundraising is constantly evolving.
Which means you should never assume which tactics to pursue, which assets to optimize, or even which words or images to use in your fundraising efforts.
“That’s the way we’ve always done it,” doesn’t fly in digital. Why?
No matter how much fundraising experience you have, you never truly know what will work best to motivate people to support your cause online.
What works today (or worked yesterday) might not work tomorrow.
Which means that it isn’t the fundraisers with the most experience, but the ones who are willing to innovate, optimize, and test their hypotheses, who have the advantage.
The benefit of embracing a culture of testing is threefold:
Provides a framework for continuous improvement: A/B testing gives you an advantage by providing a metric-based framework to innovate and improve your digital fundraising assets constantly.
Eliminates guesswork: A/B testing eliminates guesswork and helps ensure that you aren’t “marketing in the dark,” wasting time and resources on efforts that don’t produce results.
Improves user experience: A/B testing allows you to experiment with different design elements and find the combination that resonates most with your audience, keeps them engaged, and ultimately inspires them to give.
New to A/B testing? Need a refresher? Now you can learn how to be an A/B testing expert (even if you don’t know where to start) with NextAfter’s Step-by-Step A/B Testing Guide.
“OK, but why can’t I just run my own A/B tests? Why do I need an A/B testing platform at all?”
Now that we’ve covered why A/B testing is so critical, let’s take a look at the importance of A/B testing platforms and why not using one really isn’t an option.
For years, digital marketers and fundraisers have been spoiled by Google’s free A/B testing platform. So it’s natural that paying to use an alternative may seem like an unnecessary expense. It’s an additional cost. It’s one more approval you have to secure … at least at first.
But without them, it would be extremely labor- and time-intensive for you to run effective A/B tests. Plus it would be nearly impossible to accurately analyze your results!
The essential capabilities of A/B testing platforms:
- Randomization: A/B testing platforms randomize the distribution of visitors to different versions of a page, ensuring that the results of the test are statistically valid.
- Traffic management: A/B testing platforms manage the traffic to different versions of a page, ensuring that each version receives enough traffic to produce meaningful results.
- Data collection: A/B testing platforms collect data on user behavior, such as clicks, page views, and conversions. This data is used to analyze the results of the test and determine which version of the page is more effective.
- Reporting: A/B testing platforms provide reports that summarize the results of the test, making it easy to understand and act on your findings.
In addition to these essential features, A/B testing platforms also offer a number of other features that can help you to run more effective tests. These features include:
- Multivariate testing: This allows you to test multiple elements of a page at the same time, helping you to identify the combination of elements that produces the best results.
- Personalization: This allows you to show different versions of a page to different visitors, based on their individual characteristics.
- Integrations: This allows you to integrate your A/B testing platform with other marketing tools, such as CRM systems and email marketing platforms.
A/B testing platforms make it possible for you to accurately collect data, analyze results, and make informed decisions about which version of a page is more effective.
WinstonKnows is a central place created specially for nonprofits as a central place to share test results, monitor active experiments, and collaborate on future opportunities. Best of all, it integrates into several of the industry’s largest tools to automatically monitor the tests you run and notify you of their progress.
Which A/B testing platform is best for nonprofits?
Now that we’ve established the importance of A/B testing your digital fundraising assets and the critical role of A/B testing platforms in the success of your efforts, let’s take a closer look at three platforms you should consider using to fill the Optimize-shaped hole in your A/B testing strategy:
VWO: The Comprehensive Solution
First up is VWO, or Visual Website Optimizer.
If you’re seeking a tool that can handle all your optimization needs under one roof, then VWO is your answer.
VWO sets itself apart with a clean, visually intuitive interface that makes creating and running tests as simple as a few clicks.
Its ‘SmartCode Checker’ ensures your tests run flawlessly, and its seamless visual editor is a breeze to use.
VWO’s ‘IdeaFactory’ feature is another noteworthy mention. It provides a library of testing ideas and best practices, which is perfect for nonprofits just getting started or looking for fresh testing inspiration.
But VWO goes beyond A/B testing. It offers a full suite of conversion optimization tools, including session recording, form analysis, onsite surveys, and “heatmaps” that can show you exactly where you’re losing potential donors on your most valuable pages.
With these tools, you can capture deeper insights into user behavior, uncover potential friction points, and devise metric-driven strategies to improve results.
While VWO’s comprehensive insights, extensive features, and user-friendly interface provide significant value, especially for nonprofits seeking a holistic solution for their optimization needs.
On top of all this, VWO is known for its best-in-class customer service, providing an opportunity to chat live with its team of experts.
A/B Tasty: the data enthusiast’s pick
AB Tasty is a dream come true for the data geeks among us.
AB Tasty isn’t just about running tests; it’s about creating a thorough understanding of your audience’s behavior. It’s like getting a window into your users’ minds.
AB Tasty offers comprehensive reporting tools, detailed analysis options, and easy-to-navigate dashboards.
While it might be a bit more complex than Google Optimize, the depth of data-driven insights it can provide to nonprofits like yours is exceptional.
AB Tasty provides a powerful suite of analytics tools, from custom goals and segments to heatmaps and session recordings. It allows you to track user behavior, understand their decision-making process, and adapt your content to enhance their experience.
One of its stand-out features is the “dynamic traffic allocation”. This function automatically directs your traffic to the best-performing version of your page, maximizing your chance of conversion even as the test is ongoing.
However, don’t mistake the depth of AB Tasty’s features for complexity. With its intuitive interface and user-friendly dashboards, you’ll have no trouble running your tests and interpreting the results.
Optimizely: the industry powerhouse
If you’re already familiar with A/B testing, chances are you’ve come across Optimizely.
What makes Optimizely worth considering is its wide-ranging suite of tools. You can run A/B tests, multivariate tests, and multi-page experiments to fine-tune your user’s journey through your website.
You can also tap into features like audience segmentation and behavioral targeting to reach the right users at the right time.
Optimizely comes in at the highest price point of our recommendations but given its extensive range of features and capabilities, is still worthy of your consideration.
An A/B Testing Solution Exclusively for Donation Pages
If you’re new to a/b testing and optimization, you might not be ready to roll out a site-wide testing platform like the ones outlined above. But one of the most important places to start running experiments is on your donation page – and every nonprofit needs a donation platform.
iDonate is the only donation platform (to our knowledge) that incorporates a/b testing directly into the platform.
They allow you to customize nearly every component of your donation page, and run a/b tests across any number of pages with just a few clicks.
So if you’re just starting to dip your toes into the waters of a/b testing and optimization, you might checkout iDonate to see how their donation platform can help you get started a/b testing on your donation page without having to allocate big budgets for a site-wide a/b testing tool.
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