Google Optimize Free vs. Optimize 360: Do You Really Need to Upgrade?

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Google Optimize Free vs Optimize 360 - BrillMark

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Google Optimize is the only truly free A/B testing tool available as of right now, and it’s a budget-saver option. The tool provides almost everything required for basic site testing. Of course, there are a few ways this tool cannot compete with expensive competitors. For that, Google offers an upgrade to Optimize 360. Being a paid version, it has all the features of Google Optimize plus many of the features the free version lacks.

Google Optimize is a tool for getting started on conversion rate optimization and testing, and it’s good for smaller enterprises with less budget and website traffic. Google positions Optimize 360 as able to provide for the ranging needs of larger businesses, including their “more sophisticated testing needs.”

Google Optimize Free vs. 360

If you’re a Google Optimize veteran, you’re probably already aware of its capabilities as well as its shortcomings. Upgrading to a paid tool will come with benefits, and the transition from one version of a Google tool to another will be convenient. But before you spend money on the upgrade, here’s a guide to help you determine if that’s the best way to improve your site testing.

Google Optimize

Google Optimize is a tool to test which site experience could result in creating more engagement and conversions. It can integrate with Google Analytics to guide you through which areas of your site need optimization. Those useful insights then can be turned into actions that lead to more desirable site interactions.

Optimize includes a visual editor to change the design, HTML and JavaScript code editors for advanced changes, and statistical reporting to help you analyze results. It also integrates with other Google products to provide a better testing experience overall.

It’s the best free tool available in the market.

Google Optimize 360

Optimize 360 is an upgraded version of Google Optimize that comes with a few additional perks. It works better than the free version of Google Optimize where advanced A/B test experiment building is needed. It also integrates with Google Analytics as well as Google Analytics 360 (an upgraded version of Google Analytics), which helps you utilize detailed customer behavior and segmentation.

It competes with the other A/B testing paid tools in the market, and the price is estimated to be around $150,000 per year. But that includes a lot of benefits.

The Major Benefits of Upgrading to Optimize 360

Multivariate Testing

Google Optimize allows a limited amount of combinations — only 16. However, Optimize 360 expands that limit to 36 combinations. It may seem like a small difference, but large websites with long page copy could really use more combinations to their benefit.

Simultaneous Experiments

The free tool can run only 5 experiments at a time, which is feasible if that’s all you need. But if you need more, Optimize 360 boasts the ability to run 100+ at the same time.

Service and Support

Google Optimize believes in self-help and a community of helping hands to resolve issues via user discussions. Those who need more expert-level support, smoother services, SLAs, and more are going to want Optimize 360.

Custom Targeting

With Optimize 360, experiments can be customized based on the analytics audience integrated with your website. That way, custom JavaScript can be injected while testing. That allows you to target your audience per the criteria you have available, such as high-value users, new visitors, and users with particular interest. To utilize this feature to the fullest, hire A/B test developers to inject the JavaScript customization for you.

Additional Objectives

To add more objectives while the test is still running, you’ll need Optimize 360. For example, if a certain element performs better during a test, that element then could be set as an objective if needed.While Optimize 360 allows for 10 objectives, the free version of Optimize only allows 3.


In a list of the most valuable changes you can make to get the best user experience on a website, personalization will be at the top. Personalization is vast and consists of many ways to declare an impactful presence.

Facts About PersonalizationSource: Smart Insights

It’s worthy of its rising popularity and demand. This is surely an exception to the “don’t follow the herd” rule that so often comes up in technology and business. Again, some websites need personalization testing; some don’t. But if you do, then unfortunately, the free version of Google Optimize doesn’t have much to offer in the personalization A/B testing department.

This corner goes to Google Optimize 360, which enables you to personalize user experiences with the help of the audience insights present in various Google Marketing platforms.

If you want to try implementing a recommendation engine through Google Optimize, check out our step-by-step guide.

A Visual Comparison

In case you want to see the differences presented in another way, there are comparison tables available to help you decide which version of Google Optimize is right for your testing needs.

Camparison between Google Optimize Free vs. Optimize 360.pngSource: Google Marketing Platform

Important Tests to Run on Google Optimize and Optimize 360

Regardless of which version you choose, there are a few great tests you should consider running on your website, and both versions offer capabilities for the following:

A/B Testing

This is an experiment in which two variations of the same page are tested to know which performed better in providing the best user experience. Here, Variation A is the original version, and Variation B is a variant of that page, with one or more elements modified. Both versions of Optimize let you build and run an A/B test experiment.

Split URL Testing

Split URL testing is also performed by both Optimize and Optimize 360.

In this test, the two different web pages compete against each other, and variations are defined by the URLs instead of by modified page elements. This type of test is often used when the variants are two different landing pages with a full page redesign.

Multivariate Testing

In multivariate tests, the variants include multiple combinations of elements to help find out which one creates more engagement. The competing combinations could be more than one, with up to 16 combinations using Google Optimize, or up to 36 combinations with Optimize 360.


If you’re still unsure about Google Optimize free vs. 360, both versions integrate with other Google platforms, such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, Firebase, Google BigQuery, and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). These are the marketing tools which are available in the Google Marketing Platform, where integrations can be done with ease.

Google Optimize IntegrationSource: Google

Outsourced test developers can offer extra help to implement all of these tools on your site, especially if you’re just getting started.

How BrillMark Can Help You Master A/B Testing in Google Optimize & Optimize 360

If you’re just starting out with A/B test experimentation, it may not be pocket friendly for you to spring for Google 360 right away. Explore your needs with free A/B testing tools such as the free version of Google Optimize. If your needs aren’t met with less expensive options, then Google Optimize 360 may be the tool for you.

On the other hand, Google Optimize 360 is made for those aware of the capabilities of an advanced testing tool — and who know how to use them to their advantage. It’s ideal for companies that require a tool to handle A/B testing on a daily basis and that have a big budget to afford that. If you need the capabilities of Optimize 360 but could still use some help getting the most out of your investment, let us know.

We’d love to help you with coding your hypotheses on either of the platforms. Just let us know your ideas, and we’ll help you implement them through A/B testing on either of the two Optimize tools (or any other testing tool, for that matter). We can also get you started with integrations and additional know-how if you need help getting started in general. Simply ping Brillmark for information, or use the contact form below.

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