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Google Optimize & Optimize 360 Sunset: What You Need to Do Now?

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Victoria is a web analyst @Viden, specializing in Google Analytics Universal, Google Analytics 4, Google Tag Manager, Looker Studio, etc. She has experience in measuring and reporting on the performance of web traffic activities using analytics tools and delivering actionable data with the aim to help brands understand their strengths and opportunities.
Google Optimize & Optimize 360 Sunset: What You Need to Do Now?

Google has announced their decision to sunset its product Optimize and Optimize 360 on September 30, 2023. This product was developed to help users create and run A/B tests that can adapt to customer feedback and make iterations so the user can determine how features work best for them. Customers have been given adequate time to transition from this platform as Google navigates its existing products, providing support until Optimize is retired from service. It is a difficult decision for Google, but it allows the company to focus on other innovative solutions and offer improved experiences for its customers. This leaves many digital marketing specialists and analysts wondering what they can use to replace this powerful tool. Let’s explore the options available now that Google Optimize is leaving the market.

Why is Google sunsetting Google Optimize vs. Optimize 360?

Google’s decision to discontinue Optimize in order to better serve customers is an indication of their commitment to helping businesses maximize their user experience. Through the announcement of its discontinuation and the mention of Google Analytics 4 and other integrations, it is clear that they are investing time and resources into finding solutions that offer more robust A/B testing capabilities. For customers already using Optimize, the transition should be seamless, as Google has promised that there will be an awareness period for current users to transition over to other tools. As a result, this shift should benefit not only customers but also businesses seeking a more targeted approach in terms of optimizing the user experience from within Google products.

Further Reading: Why Migrate to Google Analytics 4 in 2023?

How to Download Your Historical Data?

Before we proceed with a step-by-step guide, we’d like to draw your attention to the following:

  • The export function is only available for experiments; personalizations aren’t supported.
  • Optimize uses a snapshot of Google Analytics data when processing results. Sessions arriving between the last snapshot and the end of the experiment aren’t included. Analytics data downloaded from the Optimize reporting tab is the most recent snapshot of that data.
  • Google doesn’t recommend exporting data while the experiment is running; it won’t match Analytics data due to the snapshotting window mentioned above.

To export your ended experiment data as a CSV file, follow these steps:

  1. Find your ended A/B test on the tab ‘Experiences’ on the main screen of your account
  2. Experiences tab in Google Optimize

  3. Navigate to the ‘Reporting tab’ of an ended experiment
  4. Reporting tab in Google Optimize

  5. Click the ‘download’ icon
  6. Download icon in Google Optimize

  7. Select the necessary option from the drop-down menu
  8. Download options in Google Optimize

What option to choose?

[1] Optimize report

The downloaded CSV file will include the following:

  • Probability to be Best
  • Probability to beat Original
  • Modeled Conversion Rate
  • Modeled Improvement
  • The observed Google Analytics data based on Optimize objective (e.g., revenue for merchants or pageviews for publishers)

Here’s an example of Optimize report:

Example of Optimize report in Google Optimize

[2] Analytics data

The downloaded CSV file of the daily Google Analytics data for each of the variants will include the following:

  • Experiment Sessions and objectives (e.g., revenue for merchants or pageviews for publishers)

Note: The downloaded CSV file is named based on the Optimize objective and a time stamp.

Here’s an example of Analytics data report:

Analytics report in Google Optimize

To access your raw historical data, use the Google Analytics Data API.

Note: The access to the experience inference results or the historical Google Analytics 4 raw data will disappear after the sunset date (September 30).

What to do after September 30?

  • UA raw data – use the Google Analytics Data API.
  • GA4 raw data – not available. Make sure to extract before September 30 via the Optimize user interface (see the instructions above.)

Conclusion

Google Optimize was a powerful tool used by digital marketing specialists around the world for years. With its departure comes the challenge of finding an alternative solution as powerful. Fortunately, Google Analytics 4 is a strong option to consider when looking for a replacement. It contains many of the same analytics capabilities as Optimize, in addition to offering an improved ability to track user activities across devices and better personalization support. While it may take some time for digital marketing specialists to adjust to this new software solution, it is undoubtedly worth investigating the potential benefits Google Analytics 4 can provide in the long run.

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