Best A/B Testing Tools

Last updated

by

Daniel Wade

 / 

May 6, 2021

A/B testing platforms are the primary CRO tools at our disposal, and it pays to know exactly which one is right for your business.

Google Optimize is the best free option for small businesses, and at the other end of the budget scale, Optimizely dominates enterprise-level testing with an advanced statistical model. Midrange options like AB Tasty and Convert Experiences offer affordable value to SMBs, and businesses leaning towards AI might prefer Evolv.

This report compares each of these platforms to help businesses pick the right option depending on their budget and size. We’ve highlighted the strengths of each of the six platforms listed in here to show you the diverse nature of testing tools and to emphasize the individual benefits of using either of the options listed herein.

The rise of A/B testing tools is marked by testimonials and reviews from businesses that have witnessed increases in conversion rates after optimization. This information (plus factual data collected from respective websites) that we present here to ease your burden of choice.

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Table of contents

1. Best Free Tool – Google Optimize

Who Is It For?

Businesses that want to run A/B tests without spending money should first consider Google Optimize.

It is a reasonably powerful A/B testing tool that’s packaged as a native function of Google Analytics. Despite the existence of better options at affordable prices, Google Optimize is definitely worth using, especially for businesses that are just beginning to experiment with testing.

The platform offers a good baseline of what to expect from an A/B testing tool, guiding novice marketers on how to perform basic to moderately advanced tests on web pages, content, call-to-action interfaces, product copy, forms, and more.

Seasoned marketers who still prefer Google Optimize do so to leverage its tight affinity to Google Analytics, which assures that all your data is accessible from one place.

Freedom to perform both A/B and multivariate testing makes this an invaluable free tool for several conversion funnel stages, especially with its seamless integration to both Google Analytics and Google Analytics Content.

Features Of Google Optimize

Site Experience Suggestions With Actionable Guides

Using data collected under your Analytics account, Google Optimize suggests site experiences that will engage your users, complete with actionable steps to deploy the modifications.

Data-Driven Insights

With native integration to Analytics, Google Optimize offers superior insight into the improvable areas of your website. Site data collected from Analytics is leveraged to detect experience flaws and create unique solutions to them.

Visual Editor & Code Editor

Lowering the entry barrier to testing requires the simplification of testing and editing processes, which Optimize accomplishes by providing both a visual and code editor. The visual editor facilitates simple image and text modifications while the raw (HTML/JavaScript) editor affects more advanced changes.

Powerful Segmentation

With Optimize, you can test around specific audiences thanks to its powerful segmentation capabilities. Tailoring more personalized experiences, even if it’s only for your pre-existing Analytics audience, is achievable with Optimize 360.

Instantaneous Setup

Google Optimize can be set up very quickly, albeit with a slight technical caveat. Again, thanks to its fortuitous association with Google Analytics, you only need to paste a line of code to your site to deliver custom experiences to your users in just a few clicks.

Conversion-Driven Testing

Granted that all testing aims to improve conversion rates, Google Optimize lays thick emphasis on it by allowing you to test your website and your Google Ads individually, therefore granting them more pull towards your customers.

Experiments

Much like a sample in a laboratory, Google Optimize allows you to test your websites, ads, and landing pages in creative and unique ways so as to provide better results. This it achieves via a number of experiment types, which you’ll master quickly with the help of the visual editor.

Multiple Test Types

A/B testing, multivariate tests, redirect (split URL) testing, server-side tests, up to 100 experiments, plus the ability to build custom experiences from the ground up all fall under the umbrella of tests that Google Optimize is capable of performing.

Bayesian Reporting

To deliver more accurate results, Optimize models the real-world performance of the elements you’re testing using Bayesian statistical methods.

Centralized Experiment Management

Optimize files all your experiments, successful and unsuccessful alike, in an activity log for quick access. You can perform activities like previewing an undeployed experiment or scheduling an experiment for a later date. You can even manage user permissions to restrict access to your Optimize dashboard.

Pros

  • No monetary cost.
  • Wide variety of tests available, including multivariate, split URL, and server-side testing.
  • Easy-to-use visual editor.
  • Sufficiently advanced code editor for HTML and JavaScript modifications.
  • Seamless integration to Google Analytics and Google Analytics Content.
  • Quick set up using code.
  • Segmentation-based testing.

 Cons

  • Tons of technically complicated features.

2. Best AI Solution – Evolv

Who Is It For?

Evolv is a pioneer of machine learning in the conversion rate optimization (CRO) space. Like most AI-based solutions in the tech industry, it boasts speed as its primary edge, and most of its competition lags behind in this respect.

Experts have previously toyed with the idea of deploying machine learning algorithms to hasten processes like multivariate testing, delivering accurate results in shorter time frames.

Algorithms, particularly those backed by AI, are yet to be unrivaled in their propensity for locating optimum combinations (in the case of matching several page elements) as in multivariate testing, and users of Evolv benefit from the razor precision with which the technology selects options with the richest combined value.

Evolv has already been touted as a herald to full-time personalization, whereby we only give it our favored iterations of web content and leave it to select the best option based on the metrics and values we provide.

This technology suits companies with a growing reliance on autonomy, who prefer the accuracy of algorithms, and who desire accurate results from minimal input, where most of the heavy lifting is done by AI.

It can be said that Evolv’s AI-centric testing suits businesses in need of custom optimization strategies. It’s a solution that builds on your uniqueness from the start, kicking off on recommendations from your internal strategy leaders and developing to match your brand’s unique style.

Features Of Evolv

Custom Testing Strategies

Evolv’s focus is decidedly on creating custom solutions designed specifically for your business. That means a great portion of the initial setup will be taken up by defining the best optimization strategies because after deployment, optimization proceeds autonomously.

The strong focus on strategy development, especially since it draws from each company’s marketing and conversion goals, allows for the development of customized optimization strategies suited to each business's specific needs.

Perpetual Generation Of New Optimization Ideas

With a defined strategy in place, Evolv’s speedy machine learning algorithm carries on to generate and explore numerous new possibilities along with your definitions, giving you a perpetual source of inspiration for future optimization. This feature lends it the exclusive ability to explore optimization avenues other testing tools scarcely would due to the magnitude of traffic or time required.

“Active Learning”

“Active learning” tracks real customer behavior and feedback to show you the real-time performance of your test subjects, allowing you to hone in on effective pages or campaigns based on the most recent dynamic customer metrics.

Constant Improvements Based On Results

Every user is a learning experience for the algorithm, and the better it serves them, the more information it acquires to employ during optimization. Progressively better results manifest not just in better optimization but also in increased sales and growing revenues.

Sustained Optimization

Evolv capitally uses AI technology to support sustained optimization. This means that should you disrupt any ongoing optimizations to explore new ideas; the algorithm continues to develop them whilst you focus on implementing a new one. You can, therefore, facilitate improvements on weak areas even while actively pursuing new ways to optimize.

Element Based Testing

Test elements like product copy, images, and overall visual design, plus crucial performance metrics like navigation, functionality, and search. Evolv also checks user flow to ascertain the optimum movement of prospects down the conversion funnel.

Circumstantial Testing

The powerful algorithm grants businesses an objective perspective by allowing tests based on circumstances that arise dynamically in an ever-shifting landscape. Experiments based on new products and promos, redefined strategies, changing user behavior, industry innovation, seasonal trends, and contingencies like COVID-19 allow businesses to adapt rapidly even to the most unprecedented scenarios.

Pros

  • Fast and accurate optimization facilitated by machine learning technology.
  • Thoroughly personalized results suited to each business’s unique needs.
  • Continuous optimization by AI allows human input to be focused on other areas of development.
  • Allows businesses to build on existing optimizations to better hone engagement and conversions.
  • Collects real-time feedback and behavior to utilize when comparing performances.
  • Possible to deploy full-time optimization requiring only AI and minimal human input.

Cons

  • Requires innate technical knowledge or at least a dedicated team to run.
  • Pricing is provided per user.

3. Best Value for Money – AB Tasty

Who Is It For?

Comparing standalone A/B testing tools like Evolv to AB Tasty is like comparing a bowl of cereal to a Continental breakfast. With its repertoire functionality, A/B tasty is fully a marketer’s tool for re engagement, content personalization, and testing.

It’s a package that promises a lot of value, not only in its testing abilities but in the comprehensive suite of features it offers, allowing marketers to test, retarget, and personalize economically and at scale.

Companies looking for long-term value will find it in AB Tasty, a platform that, despite being low-budget, facilitates a wide variety of tests ranging from simple, iterative checks to innovative, original experiments.

Contrary to first impressions, AB Tasty is not an entry-level tool for beginners. Its affordable cost notwithstanding, it is capable of advanced testing, including strategy-based experiments, and the onus of success is on how effectively you deploy your testing strategies.

For that, the tool appeals to businesses that prefer to spend at least 75 % of their marketing budget on staff, skills, and methodology, which have a bigger impact on the results, and ultimately produce better ROI.

Companies that have switched to AB Tasty from an enterprise testing tool prefer the simpler functionality. These companies have learned the hard way that add-ons aren’t what make a testing tool useful; it’s how well you use it that matters. To that end, AB Tasty is as simple as it gets, yet it remains capable of scaling upwards to suit the increasing needs of a growing business.

We’d especially recommend AB Tasty to companies that feel like their testing tools are not used to their full potential despite eating up significant portions of the budget. Paying for unused features is a fate that’s often sealed when using enterprise-level tools, especially when your business is still young. These funds are better off used to secure the skill and staff to improve your optimization strategies.

Features Of AB Tasty

Progressive Deployment

Leveraging its AI-backed algorithm, AB Tasty can continually deploy optimization tests based on algorithm-generated metrics, thus ensuring progressive optimization with little need for human intervention.

Triggered Optimization Rollbacks

Optimization can be discontinued automatically with changes in value to a key performance indicator (KPI). This gives the algorithm full autonomy to adjust optimization strategies to suit shifting industry/market requirements, which progressively increases result accuracy without consuming more resources.

Varied Experimentation

Capable of server-side, split URL, and multivariate tests, plus multi-page and predictive experiments complete with Bayesian statistics.

Segmentation

In itself, AB Tasty sports a formidable segmentation tool that lends marketers granular insights into their audience. This feature provides the platform with an innate ability to manage and recommend products and promotions to specific audiences based on their collective metrics.

Pre-made Experimentation Templates

Newbies only have to try out one or two of the pre-configured experiment templates to figure out how the tool works, and these also serve well for pre-strategic testing. The templates can also be used as a base for your custom designs should you wish to test the platform’s aptitude for personalization, which is formidable.

Pros

  • Affordably priced.
  • Its practical interface is easy to master.
  • Powerful AI-based optimization.
  • Real-time analytics.
  • Progressive optimization.
  • Automated rollbacks.
  • Easy to scale.
  • Audience segmentation.

Cons

  • Not a standalone testing tool.

4. Best Customer Support – Convert Experiences

Who Is It For?

One of the most praised attributes of Convert Experiences is its power-to-price ratio. Even though its performance is akin to that of enterprise options like Optimizely, flexible pricing allows small and medium businesses (SMBs) to leverage this testing tool for its exceptional performance at budget prices.

For many marketers, this is the obvious step from Google Optimize. Its easy integration with Google Analytics allows a seamless shift with all your data intact. It’s also only a marginal step up from Optimize in terms of technology, so it remains easy to use despite offering more advanced features.

Convert Experiences is a formidable testing tool with a reputation for busting bigger competition when it comes to getting accurate variations—but that’s mostly subjective.

Of more importance to its clientele, at least as far as getting desirable results is concerned, the platform’s stellar customer support has earned the company a loyal following. Speedy and helpful support is invaluable when learning to use the tool or when something isn’t working.

With that frame of reference, Convert Experiences seems most suitable for companies that perform in-house conversion optimization, particularly if you’re just starting out.

Features Of Convert Experiences

Broad Testing Ability

All paid plans unlock the platform’s full testing arsenal, which includes A/A and A/B testing, split testing, multivariate, and multi-page testing.

Unlimited Performance

The platform maintains full scalability by removing all limits on the number of projects, sub-domains, support, collaborators, and variations you can have.

Advanced Reporting

Along with smooth integration to your Google Analytics account, Convert Experiences allows you to maintain accurate reporting with support for APIs, real-time reporting, and code & error checks.

Supports 100+ Integrations

Getting accustomed to the platform is made easier by the free onboarding consultation, which comes as a package deal that, along with support for 100+ integrations and custom development support, lets you tailor the right optimization strategy for your business.

Customer Support

Whether in the form of live chat, social media, or email, customer support is a prime feature of Convert Experiences, which provides some of the fastest response times in the business to its loyal clientele.

Pricing

Convert Experiences touts clear and public pricing plans in three main tiers.

Kickstart, which costs $699/month (billed annually), is the plan they recommend to companies that are just beginning to experiment with A/B testing. It includes unlimited testing, support for up to five domains, five active projects, five personalizations, and ten goals, plus live log and basic post-segmentation.

Going for $879/month (billed annually), Specialist is recommended to companies that have already witnessed some growth and would like to expand more. To that end, it comes along with features like CNAME setup, API access, a change log, expanded project, and personalization slots, plus no limits on active domains and tests.

Leader, the highest-paid plan available, attracts a $1,899/month fee (billed annually) and unlocks the full potential of Convert Experiences. This package generously removes the limit on domains, projects, and tests and adds features like Single Sign-On (SSO), plus up to 100 personalizations. This plan is for mature companies with advanced A/B testing needs.

Pros

  • Great value for money (power-to-price ratio).
  • Intuitive user interface and functionality.
  • Affordable plans for different-sized businesses.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Complimentarily onboarding for new clients.
  • Easy integration with Google Analytics.
  • Simplified data view.
  • Robust multivariate testing abilities.
  • Drag-and-drop style experiment dashboard.

Cons

  • Lacks email split testing capabilities.

5. Best Option for SMBs – Visual Website Optimizer (VWO)

Who Is It For?

We have often seen VWO pitted against Optimizely as the two best options in the A/B testing pantheon when it comes down to two choices. Its popularity, though inflated by its association with the best enterprise tool in the market, does have merit behind it, as VWO is a formidable testing tool equipped with bells and whistles necessary for high-profile CRO.

But VWO has a slight but consequential edge over its competition, and that is its cost-effectiveness. Compared to Optimizely, VWO is better suited to businesses with smaller budgets. It is also often used to supplement large enterprises' advanced testing needs, and it’s not surprising to see it deployed alongside Optimizely.

For enterprises switching from Optimizely, VWO’s appealing and intuitive color-coded interface is hard to pass up. The platform also boasts of quicker updates, easier goal setup, and better customer support—three attractive attributes for companies that hunt for an affordable value.

And even though it fails to streamline some iterative tasks—you have to start every test from scratch and can’t build on an existing template unless you clone it—it is generally one of the superior platforms available today.

Features Of VWO

Varied Testing Abilities

VWO’s testing features lack nothing that a business or marketer may need to optimize web content. It supports three of the main test types, which we know as A/B testing, multivariate testing, and split URL testing.

Advanced Insights

VWO furnishes your business with actionable insights that tell you what your customer wants in regards to your website, apps, and services. Data can be collected and analyzed from on-page surveys, heat maps, form analytics, and session recordings.

Support For Full-stack Product Testing

Test product and features with both mobile app and server-side testing to get a comprehensive summary of their performance, courtesy of VWO’S full-stack testing ability.

Retargeting Campaigns

Bring back visitors you lost at various stages of the sales funnel with VWO’s robust retargeting, which involves Facebook Messenger and abandoned cart campaigns as well as push notifications to returning web users.

Advanced Planning And Scaling

With your business's growth, VWO avails tools to help you scale and plan for your future using data collected from your optimization campaigns. Create actionable observations and hypotheses that can be leveraged towards the growth of your business.

Code-free Deployment

Make and deploy changes and edits to your website without requiring technical input or assistance from the platform. This feature provides a straightforward avenue for the simplest modifications that your website needs.

Integrated VWO Platform

Choose to utilize VWO’s standalone features separately or integrate with the complete VWO platform to deploy the full range of features in the optimization of your websites and apps.

Pricing

When paying for VWO, you can either settle for a product-based plan or pay for the full-stack version to take advantage of more than just the platform’s testing abilities.

VWO’s standalone testing feature costs $199/month and merely equips you with the ability to perform standard A/B, multivariate, and split URL tests. It includes a VWO plan.

VWO insights, which start from $169/month, lend you further visibility into your audience’s behavior, allowing you to analyze visitors based on heatmaps, on-page surveys, form analytics, and more.

VWO engage, at a monthly fee of $99, empowers you to re-engage visitors who dropped out at various stages of the sales funnel using web push notifications and Facebook Messenger.

VWO full stack is the full iteration of the platform’s abilities compressed into one package, and businesses wishing to go beyond multichannel testing to include advanced analytics and server-side testing must opt for this package, which is priced on request.

Pros

  • Features a familiar WSYWIG HTML editor that makes it easier to use.
  • Offers plans based on company needs, whether it’s testing or analytics.
  • Full-stack version for mobile app and server-side testing.
  • Wide range of free tools and a generous free trial available.
  • User-friendly interface.
  • Stellar customer support and onboarding for new clients.
  • Affordable plans.

Cons

  • Technically complex enough to involve a steep learning curve for novices.

6. Best Option for Enterprises – Optimizely

Who’s It For?

As the leading enterprise solution and the go-to testing tool for professionals, Optimizely is the gold standard of A/B testing, a platform that wins minds over with operational simplicity and functional sophistication.

Optimizely doesn’t lack much whether you look at it from the perspective of its abilities or from its ease of use. It, in fact, comes with a unique feature—the Stats Engine—which VWO emulates to gather analytic insights such as heatmaps, rendering the tool’s functionality more digestible by new users.

If you’re a large enterprise with a sound budget and the staff to use Optimizely to its full potential, then no other platform even comes close, making it the unrivaled big kid on the block for companies across the board.

As the leading split testing tool, Optimizely features a simple yet intuitive setup process for multivariate testing and inspires a strong bias by benefiting marketers in the following ways:

  • It’s the only split testing tool with privacy filters for your audience. Businesses can deploy retroactive filtering to conceal sensitive user information such as IP addresses.
  • Even with some of the most advanced testing capabilities, Optimizely retains its ease of editing across the board, making it accessible to a large degree.
  • Its Saved Audiences feature, notably lacking in VWO, improves contact management.
  • Side-by-side goal comparison and intuitive data display improve its usability for marketers tracking performance metrics.
  • It is widely compatible with third-party tools.

Even with its impressive performance, Optimizely is far from the perfect solution for all marketers. For starters, its cost is prohibitive to companies with small budgets, and even those that can afford it risk paying for unused potential without the right staff, skills, and methodology.

The test setup is quite technical and not as intuitive, but it may only hinder those who have used other tools in the list before. Targeting is also a considerable task with Optimizely, which also suffers from slow CDN updates.

Rather than deal-breakers, these drawbacks merely illustrate that even the best testing tool is only subjectively so. While some may prefer the enterprise-level performance offered by Optimizely, many others will lean towards more intuitive and easier tools to manipulate.

Features Of Optimizely

No-code Visual Editor

Create and test UI variations quickly and easily with the platform’s no-code editor, which facilitates optimization and personalization of imagery, layout, web content, and all other visual aspects.

Full Stack

Optimizely full-stack enables advanced experimentation within your codebase and can be deployed to your website, mobile apps, business logic, and more.

Advanced Program Management

Optimizely supports rapid scaling (up to 5x more velocity) and provides advanced program reporting, ideation, and collaboration tools.

Advanced Statistical Model

Optimizely utilizes one of the most advanced statistical methods available today courtesy of the Stats Engine, a brainchild of Stanford University researchers that’s better suited for the underage. With lower error rates and faster results, it hastens your decision-making without compromising the quality of your results.

Security And Compliance

Best-in-class security, GDRP compliance, and world-class collaboration and scale make Optimizely the market's recurrent leader.

Wide Testing Parameters

With capabilities for testing all internet devices and platforms, including websites, mobile apps, TV apps, and even IOT interfaces, Optimizely faces no hindrances no matter the focus of testing.

Pricing

Optimizely offers two plans, each catering to specific applications for businesses.

The first is the Full Stack Plan, which is recommended for testing feature rollouts and for in-depth experimentation within the code of websites, apps, and software. The full-stack plan suits businesses that are looking to improve user experience in TV apps, chat apps, websites, and mobile platforms.

The other plan, dubbed simply the Web Plan, caters to the simpler necessities of web personalization and optimization. This plan revolves around the use of the no-code visual editor to facilitate personalization campaigns and instantly deploy web experiments. To that end, it comes with powerful front-end A/B, multivariate, and multi-page testing.

Both plans include features such as Enterprise Security, Platform Compliance, the Stats Engine, and Performance Tracking.

Pricing is upon request.

Pros

  • Best-in-class multivariate testing and robust front-end tests (A/B, multi-page, etc.)
  • Advanced Stats Engine makes it easier to collect accurate metrics.
  • Side-by-side goal comparison improves optimization strategies.
  • Saved Audiences feature is available.
  • Privacy filters allow sensitive information (like IP addresses) to be kept hidden.
  • Easy to edit, especially since it comes with a no-code visual editor.
  • Highly compatible with third-party integrations.

Cons

  • Requires a large budget and staff to utilize to its full potential.
Best A/B Testing Tools

About THE AUTHOR

Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts, spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.

Learn more about SparrowBoost