Adobe Target Standard vs. Optimizely

When shopping around for an A/B testing tool, I was searching for some key terms “Optimizely compared with…” or “Visual Website Optimizer vs….” – as a current Target Standard customer, it would have been nice to have had a guide that pits Target Standard against… well… anything. So without further adieu, Target Standard vs. Optimizely

Optimizely

I consider Optimizely to be an industry leader in A/B testing – possibly THE industry leader. Why? It’s the easiest to use of any tool. Their GUI editor is seamless and everything seems to consistently work. Goal setup is easy and flexible and it feels secure. Let’s go over some features:

Pros

  • Point-and-click goal setup
  • Easy in-line goal setup
  • Simple integration into Dynamic Tag Manager
  • Great GUI editor
  • Not many bugs
  • Extensive documentation

Cons

  • Price
  • Not owned by Google, Adobe, or IBM (so no integration with their tools)

Target Standard

Target Standard feels like a beta product that Adobe charges for. There are still silly bugs that pop up that should never have passed QA and there are limitations to the tool that just scream “incomplete”. Besides those limitations and frustrations, it still usually does its job as a testing tool and is rapidly improving.

Pros

  • Price
  • Good GUI editor
  • Integration with Adobe Analytics
  • Simple goal creation interface
  • Friendly support staff

Cons

  • Goal creation interface is TOO simple
  • Goal setup is very limited
  • Weak documentation
  • Bugs galore!

I’m not going to bash Target Standard. Their support is very responsive and friendly and honestly it’s a pretty decent tool. Would I recommend it to a friend? Probably not, unless his/her budget was so crippling that the only choice was Target or nothing – like me! I think the biggest disparity between the two tools is that Adobe Target Standard’s goal setup is just WEAK! The biggest frustration is not being able to ping a server to let it know a conversion took place. You can’t exactly force a conversion with Target Standard unless it’s on page load. So my question is – what happens when we use AJAX? Since you can only assign a click goal to an anchor tag in Target Standard, what if I want to track a form submission click in Target Standard (I may actually have you covered here or here)? What if I want to track bounce rate as a performance metric? Optimizely can do it, but Target Standard can’t yet.

It’s questions like these that you need to ask your vendor when you shop for tools. Questions that I certainly didn’t think of because my assumption was that because it’s a cousin of Target Advanced that it would include similar provisions. This doesn’t appear to be the case. In closing – I want to reemphasize that the Adobe Target Standard team is doing a great job with releasing updates. However, at this point it is not worth the money… so if you can, go with Optimizely.

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