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Is A/B Testing Analysis Using Google Analytics Possible? Navigating The Road Ahead

7 Min Read

11 July 2023, and 30 October 2023. 

These two days had everyone in the business world talking. 

On the 11th of July, we bid farewell to the old Google Analytics after it faithfully served us for 11 long years. It’s a bittersweet goodbye – the comfort of familiarity versus the looming learning curve of its replacement Google Analytics 4. 

And on the 30th of October, Google pulled the plug on its once-mighty A/B testing tool, Google Optimize. The reason? It did not provide the features and services that have now become crucial to experimentation.

Now, there might be a concern among A/B testing enthusiasts because of these developments. With Google Optimize gone, they need an alternative platform to carry on with their testing activities. If they opt for a third-party platform, will it seamlessly integrate with GA4 for in-depth A/B testing analysis? Moreover, how seamlessly can they use GA4 audience data for running experiments in their testing platform? 

Given that both GA and GO have been Google products, this question of seamless integration didn’t pop up until now. 

In this blog, we provide answers to these questions and explain how VWO plays a role in addressing these challenges. Keep reading!

A/B testing analysis using GA4 – Is that possible?

Well, GA4 doesn’t come with an in-built A/B testing capability. But it does allow integration with third-party A/B testing tools. 

Keeping Google’s product line restructuring in mind, VWO introduced a two-way integration with GA4. Plus, to help businesses carry on with testing efforts, we also provided a quick migration from Google Optimize to VWO. You can read more about GO migration to VWO

A case study in point: Critique Jeu, a gaming and sports company, transitioned from Google Optimize to VWO and achieved a successful test. By experimenting with color changes in internal text links—shifting slightly from their brand color scheme—they observed a significant increase of 22.8% in clicks on internal text links.

How do you benefit from VWO<>GA4 integration?

VWO’s campaign data, including experiment variations, now appears in GA4 in real-time. This enhances the data in GA4 and simplifies audience creation using VWO data in GA4. Further, you can use this campaign data for launching activities using AdWords and retargeting. 

Earlier, combining these two platforms needed custom dimensions in Google Analytics, which had limited applications and demanded manual efforts. 

Imagine you manage a hotel booking website, and you’ve conducted a test on the booking form. It succeeded in driving more visitors to the cart page but didn’t significantly impact booking values. To reconnect with these cart page visitors, you plan to run retargeting ads, offering a 10% discount for bookings made within 24 hours. 

To achieve this, you can create a campaign audience in GA4 and initiate a retargeting campaign using Google ads. Also, you can conduct an in-depth audience analysis, segmenting them by demographic, location, traffic sources, and other criteria to optimize your marketing strategy further.

So, say you notice that visitors from specific regions or countries – European countries, for example – are more receptive to your offer, you can create location-specific discounts or promotions. 

Now, we talked about two-way integration sometime back.

Yes, you can run A/B tests by targeting audiences in your GA account. These audiences in GA are created based on similarity in their certain characteristics. So, for example, engaged users could be an audience group comprising individuals who have visited your website at least 5 times in the past month and have spent 5 minutes in each visit. 

These defined audience segments allow you to fine-tune your testing campaigns from VWO, aligning your marketing efforts with specific user behavior and characteristics. 

A snapshot of GA4
A snapshot of GA4

Let’s understand with an example. Suppose you own an e-learning website where users frequently view course details but don’t enroll. By transferring this audience data from GA4 to VWO, you can conduct an A/B test. In this test, you split the audience into two groups: the control group sees your current course page, and the variation group sees a revamped course page featuring testimonials, detailed lesson plans, and a short introductory video by the instructor himself. 

Alternatively, you can implement a personalization campaign by offering a bundle of two relevant courses for the price of one. 

Here’s an added bonus: You can deploy these experiences without IT involvement and with shorter lead times. Be it a small change, adding a new section, or a website section, you can get the work done hassle-free!

Watch the benefits of VWO’s 2-way integration with Google Analytics 4 in the webinar.

A webinar on VWO<>GA4 integration

How can you leverage Google Analytics for your experiment setup?

Experiment, a feature absent in GA4 but present in our old Google Analytics, may seem a bit obsolete now. But let’s take a quick look back for those of you who are still interested. 

Tucked within Google Analytics’ Behavior section, you’d find the ‘Experiments’. Here’s how it worked:

  1. Start by selecting an Objective: You could define a specific outcome to measure and determine the winning variation. Next, you had three options:
  • Choose an existing Goal
  • Select a site usage metric
  • Create a new objective or goal if you don’t already have one set up
  1. Once you’ve set your Objective, the next step is to add the URLs of the page variations you wanted to test.
  2. Finally, add the script code to your page to start the experiment. 

How do you analyze your A/B test results with Google Analytics?

To analyze your A/B test results in GA4 is no rocket science. Let’s understand how you can go about it with an example. 

Suppose you want to boost bookings on your e-Health website. You decide to promote the ‘Same-day consultation’ offer through three distinct formats: a status banner, a side pop-up, and a modal on your website. Once you’ve segmented audiences in GA4 for each format, you can establish comparisons to evaluate their respective responses. 

You can add and tailor your metrics for a more in-depth performance analysis In this example, you can compare audiences based on metrics like successful bookings, booking abandonment rates, consultation duration selection, and so on. 

Need a step-by-step guide on how to study A/B test results in GA4? Read our guide and get all your questions answered. 

Conclusion

Google’s product line restructuring has brought some big changes for businesses. But don’t worry, dealing with these changes can be easy if you’re smart about it. 

First of all, you can ease into the GA4 learning curve using Google’s handy learning materials. And as for your A/B testing programs – they’re in good hands. Even though GO has sunsetted, you’re in luck because you can easily migrate all your campaigns to VWO in less than a few seconds. Plus, VWO and GA4 integrate nicely together to help you get the best of both worlds. 

So, keep your testing engine running and keep moving forward. Good luck! 

Disclaimer: The synergy between VWO and GA4 enhances your A/B testing analytics, but potential data discrepancies may occur due to differing handling methodologies between platforms. This is not specific to VWO and can happen with any tool, as each has its unique setup. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does GA4 have A/B testing?

No, Google Analytics 4 doesn’t have a built-in A/B testing feature. Instead, it focuses on event tracking and user analytics, providing valuable data for the analysis of A/B test results.

Can Google Analytics do A/B testing?

Google Analytics never supported A/B testing. It helped in the analysis of A/B test results. 

How do you test GA4 events?

With GTM, trigger events to VWO as you do for GA4. This saves you from manually creating the same events in VWO. Events triggered via GTM show up in VWO as unregistered. To learn how to run tests or use these unregistered events to create conversion metrics in VWO, check out this article.

What is A/B testing in analytics?

A/B testing involves comparing two versions of any element on a webpage to identify the one that performs better. The main objective is to optimize and improve the user experience and achieve specific business goals. Find out more in our in-depth A/B testing guide

Pratyusha Guha
Pratyusha Guha Hi, I’m Pratyusha Guha, associate manager - content marketing at VWO. For the past 5 years, I've written B2B content for various brands. My entry into CRO was through writing content about eCommerce optimization. Currently, I've broadened my expertise to write about conversion optimization across various industries, including SaaS, travel, e-learning, and more. I'm fascinated by user experience, and I enjoy writing content that empathizes with readers and helps them solve challenges. If you'd like to talk about life or just need a non-judgmental ear, I'm here to listen.
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