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Using VWO for AB testing – an alternative to Google Optimise

Article originally published in March 2023 by Stuart Brameld. Most recent update in April 2024.

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Since the shutdown of Google Optimise, many of our clients have been searching for a low cost Google Optimise alternative, particularly after the sunset announcement was revised making it clear that A/B testing functionality would not be added to GA4. Rather than building native functionality in Google Analytics, Google’s focus is now on integrating third-party A/B testing solutions.

We work with mid-size and enterprise B2B clients, companies that don’t have deal with e-commerce like transaction volumes but nevertheless need a reliable A/B testing tool to run experiments and accelerate growth.

The two most popular Google Optimise alternatives that have emerged since the Optimize sunset announcement are Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) and Convert, in this article we look at VWO.

VWO Introduction

The VWO platform is split into five products as below, the main AB testing product is called VWO Testing. Whilst traditionally more of a high-end solutions they recently launched a free plan for Google Optimise users called the VWO Testing Starter plan.

Product / ServiceDescription
VWO TestingA/B, multi-variate, split, multi-device, and multi-page tests
VWO Full StackMobile app and server-side testing
VWO InsightsCRO tools for session recording, surveys and form analysis
VWO PersonaliseAdvanced personalisation campaigns
VWO DeployDeploy winning tests without development
VWO ServicesAB testing strategy, design and development agency
VWO PlanManage and prioritise your testing roadmap

Typically VWO pricing for web-based testing range for $99 per month to $467 per month but the new VWO Testing Starter plan is free for users for up to 50k tested visitors a month, and available for $199 a month for users for up to 100K monthly tested visitors.

The number different products and pricing options in the VWO platform can be confusing. For example, whilst VWO has the capability for form analysis and testing, analysis requires the VWO Insights product, whilst testing requires the VWO Testing product.

AB testing functionality review

The core features in VWO, Convert and others are very similar, and for any team that is newer to growth marketing, agile marketing or experimentation either will be more than sufficient to get started.

Here are some questions to consider:

  1. How many tested visitors do you need? Over 100k with VWO shoots up in price massively, at 50k and below both are very similar
  2. What test types does the product offer? AB tests, Split tests (split-url tests), multi-variant tests (MVT), multi-page tests
  3. How many tests can you run? Are there limits?
  4. How do you edit tests? Most products come with both a visual editor and a code editor
  5. How do you get support? Typically a mix of live chat, email and phone support, depending on your plan level
  6. Is there zero flicker? Unlike Google Optimise, all commercial offerings should provide zero-flicker as standard
  7. What statistical model is used?

VWO ab testing functionality

We have reviewed VWO functionality in-depth below and provided a comparison table with Convert (the most common competitor) for ease of reference. Despite the similarities there are also a number of differences between the two products, outlined below.

FeatureVWO Testing (Starter Plan)Convert.com (Community Plan)
Launched20102008
Based inNew Delhi, IndiaCalifornia, US
Statistics modelBayesian-powered + A/B test duration estimator toolFrequentist and Bayesian
Concurrent testsUnlimited CampaignsUnlimited Tests
Test typesAB and Split URL testing (Multivariant only in higher plans)AB, Split URL and Multi-page testing (Multivariant only in higher plans)
Targeting optionsURL & Device only (OS, User type, traffic source, geo, cookie, UTM and IP on on higher plans)Language, cookie, traffic source, time of day, geo/demo, custom and advanced options (no IP targeting on any plan)
GoalsUp to 5Up to 5 active goals
SegmentationNo segmenting functionality in the starter planPost-test segmentation for reporting + personalise segments for experiences
Real-time reportingYesYes
PricingFree for up to 50k users$99/mo for 50k tested users per month
EditorVisual editor and code editorVisual editor and code editor
IntegrationsGoogle Analytics, and Google AdsOver 90 including Google Tag Manager, HubSpot, Google Data Studio, HotJar, Clarity, Salesforce, WordPress, Zuko and more
SupportEmail supportEmail and forum
GDPR complianceGDPR, HIPPA, CCPA, ISO 27001:2013, ISO 27001:2019, PCI DSS CompliantNo 3rd party cookies, 1st party only. PCI-DSS, SOC 2. EU servers.

Form analytics & CRO

For many B2B businesses one of the areas we find gets the most wins early on is conversion testing and optimisation of website forms. The advantage of testing forms, particularly those that drive leads and MQLs, is the impact that conversion uplifts can have on revenue.

The table below models the impact of typical 20% conversion rate improvement for a company with 50,000 visitors a month and an average contract value of £20,000.

Baseline “Status quo”20% CVR Improvement
Homepage Visitors50,00050,000
Conversion rate5%6%
Leads2,5003,000
Conversion rate10%10%
Opportunities250300
Conversion rate20%20%
Customers5060
Average contract value£20,000£20,000
New Revenue£1,000,000£1,200,000

In this scenario, the impact of a typical 20% website conversion rate improvement (from 5% to 6%) results in a revenue increase of £200,000, from £1m to £1.2m.

Now let’s assume exactly the same baseline but assume we are able to double conversion rate from a “good” 5% to an industry leading 10%.

Baseline “Status quo”20% CVR Improvement
Homepage Visitors50,00050,000
Conversion rate5%10%
Leads2,5005,000
Conversion rate10%10%
Opportunities250500
Conversion rate20%20%
Customers50100
Average contract value£20,000£20,000
New Revenue£1,000,000£2,000,000

In this scenario revenue increases 2x, equating to £1m increase in revenue for the business (from £1m to £2m per month).

Lastly, let’s assume we achieve the web conversion improvement above but are also able to improve the conversion rate of our other funnel stages (Lead -> Opportunity and Opportunity -> Customer) by 20%.

Baseline “Status quo”20% CVR Improvement
Homepage Visitors50,00050,000
Conversion rate5%10%
Leads2,5005,000
Conversion rate10%12%
Opportunities250600
Conversion rate20%24%
Customers50144
Average contract value£20,000£20,000
New Revenue£1,000,000£2,880,000

In this scenario revenue nearly triples, from £1m to £2.88m.

Note that in all 3 examples the number of visitors (50,000) and average contract value (£20,000) have remained exactly the same.

Form CRO with VWO

Conversion rate optimisation enables teams to answer questions like:

  1. How many users filled out and submitted the form?
  2. How many users began filling out the form but abandoned it midway?
  3. Which field most of the users were hesitant to fill? 
  4. How much time did users take to fill out the form? 

To answer questions like this conversion rate optimisation for forms typically includes the following:

  1. A conversion funnel report explaining the number of people that landed on the form, how many interacted, and how many converted
  2. Individual field data providing information such as interaction time, hesitation, refills, ignores and drop-offs at a field level
  3. AB testing form content and measuring the impact on a goal or goals

VWO customers typically uses VWO Form Analytics coupled with VWO Testing in order to fulfill these requirements, here are some of our recommendations:

RequirementProduct
Conversion funnel reportVWO Form Analytics, GA4 Funnels or Zuko
Form field dataVWO Form Analytics or Zuko
Form testingVWO Testing

For standard form analytics, VWO can use the form “name”, “ID” or “CSS selector” inside of the <form> tag to monitor a form submit event. For dynamic AJAX forms, conversion events can be tracked via the VWO API.

Note: VWO currently does not support the tracking of AJAX forms and require API integrations with form success and form error callback functions. Whilst VWO can track form submissions, form analytics only works if all of the form content is brought on the page with the initial load. Also the URL needs to change in order to track multiple form steps.

Final thoughts

When considering VWO as an AB testing solution or as a replacement for Google Optimise, there are 2 main questions to ask:

  1. Are you likely to go above 100,000 tested visitors per month? If so, the VWO plans suddenly become extremely expensive.
  2. Do you require targeting beyond basic URLs or device type (desktop or mobile) as the VWO Starter Plan provides no other targeting or segmentation options

VWO does offer form analytics solutions, but they come at an extra cost as require the (separate) VWO Insights plan.

As always, we recommend any AB testing is informed by good conversion research. Growth marketers should aim to understand users needs, issues, doubts and fears and use these to generate high quality growth ideas that have a higher likelihood of success.

As always, remember that with typical B2B traffic volumes you will likely need to make big, bold changes in order get statistical significance on tests.

Got questions? Ping me on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

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