Well, not exactly never-ending, but close enough.
Last week Google quietly introduced an update to Website Optimizer that I believe is a great advancement for the tool’s accuracy and user experience, and something that we’ve been asking for. The update extends the cookie life to two years (previously 30 minutes) and across multiple browser sessions (previously only within the same browser session).
We’ve been happy to help Google out in Beta testing the new cookies before their public release and are very happy with the results.
Previously, when a person entered your experiment and then returned to the experiment page a second time after more than 30 minutes or after opening a new browser window, they had a good chance of seeing a different combination of variations than their first visit. The new cookies eliminate this issue.
There are two main benefits:
1. You can now be sure that the variable combination that the user converts from is the one that persuaded them to act (unless they’ve cleared their cookies in the mean time, but there’s no way to avoid that).
2. Arguably more important is that there’s no Distraction introduced if the person is expecting the combination they’d seen previously and now see a different combination.
Both of these factors can have a significant impact, especially in pages involving longer decision-cycles, like some B-to-B lead generation experiments we’ve run recently.
Probably not exciting news for most marketers, but it’s good news for us Website Optimizer fans.
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