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Google’s New Content Experiments API Turns Google Analytics Into A Full-Blown A/B Testing Platform

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Google today launched its new Content Experiments API, a tool that allows developers to easily test their sites’ content with programmatic optimization. The new API is deeply integrated with Google Analytics, so developers can use all of Analytics’ power to measure their different optimizations. Indeed, as Google describes it, “this API makes Google Analytics a full-blown A/B testing platform where developers of all types can leverage the power of Google Analytics to run their experiments.”

Content Experiments, of course, isn’t new. The company launched this A/B service almost exactly a year ago and has continued to add new features ever since. The service uses a multi-armed bandit approach to A/B testing, which automatically adjusts how often users see a given experiment based on how well every variation performs.

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The API obviously allows developers to use this approach as well, but it also allows developers to create their own variation selection logic and to use data from Google Analytics as the basis for their decisions.

As Google notes, the API also has a number of other advantages over just using the basic Content Experiments JavaScript snippet the company has offered so far. Developers will, for example, be able to test changes without the need to use redirects. While redirects work to present different variations of a given site to users, they do have the potential to take away from the user experience.

They will also be able to test items server-side. That’s a relatively unusual feature for an A/B testing service, but as Google notes, it will allow developers to more easily “try things like implementing different recommendation or search algorithms to determine what works best for your site.”

Google also argues that this new API will allow developers to more easily test different layouts, content and features for applications in non-web environments like kiosks in retail stores.

A/B testing tools have become a hot market over the last year or so, with Optimizely, for example, raising a $28 million funding round earlier this year, Amazon launching a testing service for mobile apps and numerous other startups, including TC Disrupt Battlefield finalist Pathmapp, that are also vying for developers’ attention.

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