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Hi, Growth Hackers! I'm Rotimi Iziduh, product manager on Google Optimize based out of San Francisco. I've been at Google for ~ 1.5 years and previously lived in sunny (sometimes!) Seattle where I did various things at Microsoft. We launched Google Optimize to provide an easy way for businesses to grow by identifying and providing relevant experiences to their customers. With an easy to use interface, actionable reports and first-class integrations with both Google Analytics and AdWords, we think Optimize can help you delight your site visitors and meet your growth goals.

Happy to answer all questions related to Optimize, building a testing culture and Nigeria's prospects for success at the upcoming World Cup!

I will be live on June 12th starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which I will answer as many questions as possible.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    4 months ago #

    Hi Rotimi, thanks for doing this AMA with us. I'm curious how you guys think about optimizing a customer journey that spans multiple devices, particularly when mobile is in the mix. Do you allow A/B testing on mobile apps and do you have any way to know that a customer has accessed across multiple devices? Also good luck to Nigeria in the World Cup! I'm certain that they will do better than the USA team :(

  • PH

    Pradyut Hande

    5 months ago #

    Hey Rotimi,

    Great to have you here! I had a couple of questions for you:

    1. With digital products, very often, what you as a PM might think is a great value-adding feature, might not immediately gain traction within your target market.
    In this regard, what are some of the major challenges that your team has faced when it comes to feature adoption and how have you gone about addressing the same?

    2. Also, on the footballing front, who is your favorite player on the Nigerian National Team!

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the same!

    • RI

      Rotimi Iziduh

      4 months ago #

      Hi Pradyut! Thanks for your questions! With #1, when developing new features, one of our major challenges is striking a balance between what users are asking for, what the users may actually need and what users are prepared to utilize. If this balance is not met, adoption will often prove challenging. For example, one of my favorite features on Optimize is GA audience targeting. With this feature, users can target experiment visitors based on membership in an audience. However, for it to truly shine, users need to have dedicated some time in GA to setup useful and meaningful audiences. This "pre-work" isn't always in place so that has led to some challenges. To address this, we're working closely with our internal education team as well as external partners to provide more practitioner level training content around best ways to craft GA audiences that can be used in Optimize. Another challenge is with feature discoverability. Users sometimes get accustomed to carrying out only certain types of experiments(e.g targeting based on geography) and do not keep exploring new functionality/scenarios. To tackle this, we're working on adding better in-product notifications and assistance in order to surface features that will be useful

      For #2, its a hard choice but my current favorite is Alex Iwobi! Even though he's currently stuck in the Arsenal FC wilderness(as opposed to joining Manchester United, aka the best team in the world), he is such smooth dribbler and plays with no fear. Not surprising since the legendary Jay Jay Okocha is his uncle!

      3 Share
      • PH

        Pradyut Hande

        4 months ago #

        Thanks for sharing your insights!

        And, here's also wishing Nigeria the very best at the World Cup, 2018.

  • JJ

    Jason Jordan

    4 months ago #

    Hi, Rotimi. What type of research or feedback went into developing the roadmap for Google Optimize? Not necessarily how the idea was born, but everything that informed you and the business prior to launch. Thanks!

    • RI

      Rotimi Iziduh

      4 months ago #

      Hi Jason! In our case, we benefitted a bit from being a successor to the older Content Experiments product. This meant that we had an existing backlog of feedback on use cases and areas where Google's site experimentation offering could be improved. In addition to this, we did a lot of customer interviews. These interviews included companies and users who were familiar with site experimentation and those who were not. After getting a clear sense of the needs/problems in the space, we spent time on understanding what differentiators we could offer. This helped us understand why users would switch over to Optimize and why new users would strongly consider it relative to other options. Although we've been in market for a couple of years now, this roadmap assessment process never ends. We continuously meet with customers(existing and prospects), run research studies and surveys and stay updated with tech and market trends in the experimentation space. This helps us ensure that the product is still meeting users needs and is evolving in the right direction.

      3 Share
  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    4 months ago #

    Hi Rotimi - very cool to have you on finally!

    1. What's the most under used feature of Google Optimize that would also be of most benefit to users?

    2. You've been at Microsoft and Google, what do you think are the best aspects of the culture at each?

    • RI

      Rotimi Iziduh

      4 months ago #

      Hi Anuj! Thanks for your questions! One feature that could be super valuable is running more multi-variate tests. A lot of users have several A/B tests that they run sequentially. Combining these into a single MVT test would be a huge time-saver and also help easily identify any interaction effects(e.g you might have a change A works OK on its own but then performs really well when combined with change C).

      One of my favorite aspects of Microsoft culture was that it was very playbook oriented. Given the size and history, there was usually rigorous documentation/guidance on how to tackle different scenarios or product development questions. And when new situations occurred, there was high emphasis placed on documenting what worked and what didn't. Having such resources is especially helpful when you're new or relatively early in your career. At Google, the thing I like the most is the strong user focus. That's the primary lens that informs our decision making. This is great because it really allows you to embrace new(and sometimes wild) solutions so long as they benefit the customer in a meaningful way. The free food is pretty good too :)

      2 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    4 months ago #

    Hi Rotimi,

    Excited to have you here!

    I'm curious...
    1. What has been the biggest challenge in launching Google Optimize? Anything that you've learned that you wish you knew when you started?
    2. What differences in culture have you seen in transitioning from Microsoft to Google?
    3. Does Google Optimize have a North Star Metric that you're optimizing for? If so, what is it? If not, why not?

    Looking forward to learning more from you!

    Cheers,
    Dani

    2 Share
    • RI

      Rotimi Iziduh

      4 months ago #

      Hi Dani! Thanks for having me!

      1) Our biggest challenge has being finding a balance between adding more functionality and maintaining(or increasing) simplicity. We initially launched Optimize only as a paid enterprise product, and this meant focusing on delivering more and better features. However, we soon realized(especially after launching the free tier) that even fairly large(in size and revenue) companies were not necessarily super sophisticated at testing and analytics. And features are only valuable if users are able to both understand and apply them to their business scenarios. We've corrected the balance a bit but its still a work in progress, especially since we're also trying to deliver more features to fill some of our known gaps. If I could rewind time a bit, we'd have invested a lot more(and a lot earlier) in content and ecosystem development. While its great that Optimize can be used in a "self-service" way, having a rich set of resources definitely makes it easier for users to get value from the product.

      2) A big difference has been the emphasis(and ease) of collaboration. Compared to Microsoft, there's much fewer silos between disciplines e.g the product team works really closely(and is often physically co-located) with our counterparts on marketing, support, biz dev e.t.c. This collaboration also applies across product lines- its pretty straightforward to interact with PM's and leadership from other groups and pitch them on future integrations and improvements.

      3) Yes we do! We don't call it our "north star metric" though, sometimes we colloquially refer to it as "The One". I can't share the full specifics but it measures the added value provided to users when they utilize Optimize for experimentation. Having this metric has being great, it gives us a clear way of assessing progress and helps inform how we prioritize roadmap items. Plus its really nice for the team to have a single measurable thing to rally around!

      2 Share
      • DH

        Dani Hart

        4 months ago #

        This totally resonates with me... "If I could rewind time a bit, we'd have invested a lot more(and a lot earlier) in content and ecosystem development. While its great that Optimize can be used in a "self-service" way, having a rich set of resources definitely makes it easier for users to get value from the product."

        I'm curious if it would have been possible to get resources to do this without direct attribution to product usage. Seems that it's easier to get things that can show an immediate result done vs. "taking a bet" on content that isn't validated.

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    4 months ago #

    Hi Rotimi - thanks for joining us.

    There are a lot of options when it comes to testing a website using Google Optimize. If I was just getting started and looking for a quick win, how do you recommend I get started?

    Also, what's your favorite thing about working for Google?

    • RI

      Rotimi Iziduh

      4 months ago #

      Hi John! Thanks for your question!

      One way to get a quick win is by using your reports analytics reports to identify pages that are underperforming. For example, GA reports often annotate metrics such as "bounce rate" with info on how it compares to the site or view average. After identifying an underperforming page, try to find the "critical section" on it. This is often the area where you're inviting the user to take a step(such as clicking "next" on a flow or "submit" on a form). Once you've identified this, compare your current approach with some documented best practices(e.g does your CTA button color have sufficient contrast compared to your page background? Does your section or main headline clearly communicate why completing an action is useful for the user?). Check out this article for more examples on quickly getting started: https://support.google.com/optimize/answer/6218029?hl=en

      My favorite thing about working at Google is how approachable and helpful my colleagues are. Even though they've often accomplished really important things in their careers, they are generally willing to provide assistance or answer basic fundamental questions. This makes product development smoother and also great for team morale.

      2 Share
  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    4 months ago #

    Hi Rotimi, it's great to have you here today! I have two questions for you:

    1- When comparing Google Optimize with its competitors, what would you say is its more outstanding strength and how does it matches with any growth roadmap? (notes about weaknesses are welcome too)

    2- What are your expectations on the match against Argentina?

    Gracias!

    • RI

      Rotimi Iziduh

      4 months ago #

      Hi Javier! From a comparison standpoint, one area where Optimize really shines(unsurprisingly) is with our deep integrations with other Google products like GA and AdWords. If you're a company that utilizes those products, its super easy to quickly get value from Optimize. Additionally, the integration depth means that you can expect really high fidelity in reporting as well as targeting. Also, if cost is a concern(which is often the case with companies starting on a growth journey), we have one of the best fully free options available in the experimentation space. The biggest weakness IMO is that a relatively smaller set of training and other content resources especially from 3rd-parties. This can make it a little harder to to implement scenarios that use Optimize in a customized manner. Filling this content gap is one of our key goals in the upcoming months.

      It's gonna end 4-1 in favor of Nigeria :) ..jk, I think Nigeria will win 1-0. Though the Argentine team has some excellent strikers, the midfield and the defense is fairly slow which should favor some of our quicker players like Ihenacho and Iwobi. Fingers crossed!

      4 Share
      • JF

        Javier Feldman

        4 months ago #

        Thank you very much for you response Rotimi and best of luck in the World Cup. You've got a great team this year!

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    4 months ago #

    Hi Rotimi! I'm curious about the makeup of the Google Optimize team. Can you share how many people are on the team and their roles?

    • RI

      Rotimi Iziduh

      4 months ago #

      Hi Mark! Unfortunately, I can't share exact #'s on team size and composition, but it's likely smaller than you'd guess :)

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    4 months ago #

    What do your tech & marketing stacks look like for Google Optimize?

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    4 months ago #

    Hi Rotimi!

    1. Do you have any recommendations for someone interested in working for Google?
    2. What tips do you have for someone new to product management?
    3. How do you build product intuition?

    Looking forward to hearing your answers!
    -Danielle

    • RI

      Rotimi Iziduh

      4 months ago #

      Hi Danielle! Glad to hear you're interested in Google! I've shared a few thoughts on your questions below:

      1) Try not to feel intimidated at all. In the end, it's just a company composed of people like yourself who are excited by tech and how it can be used to solve problems. Its really helpful to read up on Google's various product efforts so you can identify what you're interested in and where your skills would best fit. Once you've done so, I'd put together a 1-2 paragraph pitch on why you're ideal for a given role. You can then share this pitch either directly with a recruiter(if you're already connected with one) or as part of your online application for the role.

      2) Doing is often the best way to learn. Think of things that you've found frustrating and start constructing solutions to those problems. Then share your ideas with others who've experienced similar problems and get feedback on whether your solutions would be helpful. Once you have solutions that seem workable, explore them further- write 1-2 pagers outlining how users would engage with your solutions and why. It's also tremendously helpful to try implementing one of these solutions. In a best case, you'll construct a viable business but regardless of success, the implementation process will lead you to develop critical product management skills.

      3) Product intuition comes from immersing yourself deeply in the tech and problem space . This allows you to combine an understanding of what issues users are currently facing with a knowledge of existing and upcoming tech capabilities. An analogy that I like is with playing on a soccer team. As you train and play more games together, you start getting a sense of the tendencies and capabilities of your teammates. This then lets you instinctively know where your teammate is likely to be and what sort of pass they would like to receive.

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    4 months ago #

    Hey Rotimi,

    How does your team do customer research for Google Optimize? Are there any ongoing tasks you have to ensure your addressing customer needs/pains?

    Also, are you running tests on your own product? If so, how do you prioritize them against the product roadmap?

    Cheers!

    • RI

      Rotimi Iziduh

      4 months ago #

      Hi Glen!
      We have a mix of channels for connecting with customers, some of them include:
      a) Formal UX research studies(working with our internal research team)
      b) Surveys sent out to Optimize users who meet some desired criteria or profile
      c) Reviewing in-product feedback. We get a ton of feedback directly from this channel and the product team reads all of it.
      d) Feedback coming from sales and partnership teams
      e) Ad-hoc customer meetings. When investigating a particular issue or solution, we'll often setup meetings with clients to hear details on the need and how solving it will benefit their business

      We run tests on Optimize, and this has led to several bad puns about "optimizing optimize". To balance tests vs feature development, we create a prioritized test roadmap(similar to the feature roadmap). At a quarterly cadence, we then review this roadmap and identify tests we'd like to complete. Tests are not treated differently than feature work and this helps ensure that they are tackled.

  • RI

    Rotimi Iziduh

    4 months ago #

    Thanks for all the great questions! It was really nice talking with you all, and don't forget to root for Nigeria this weekend :)

  • OG

    Olumuyiwa George

    4 months ago #

    Hey Rotimi,
    What industries are you excited about back home in Nigeria?
    Also for my hyperlocal startup (ekkirepublic dot com) what advice would you give me for things to test or try to grow fast and hit our revenue targets?

    • RI

      Rotimi Iziduh

      4 months ago #

      Hi Olumuyiwa! Always good to meet a fellow Nigerian :) .. Looking at the tech landscape in Nigeria, there's a lot of opportunity in the financial services sector. As more people get access to banking and electronic payment facilities, it will enable a lot of interesting use cases especially on mobile. Another interesting sector is around healthcare- there are a lot of gaps in existing services that could be bridged by developing hyper-local solutions e.g a lot of diagnosis is still done not at hospitals but at ad-hoc pharmacy and chemist shops, there could be an opportunity to provide scalable(and cheap) diagnostic services electronically.

      Biggest advice I can give is to have laser focus on the pain-point you are trying to solve. If you can ensure that you are solving it effectively, customers will be willing to pay you for the service. Getting a good analytics system in place is also critical as it will allow you to measure progress and evaluate success or failure of various tactics.

      1 Share
  • AR

    Avadhoot Revankar

    4 months ago #

    We are a SAAS player in the Marketing Automation space, we plan to build a new website. What are 3-4 innovative techniques which can help us improve our SEO rankings?

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    4 months ago #

    Hi Rotimi,

    Nice meeting you and thank you for doing this AMA.

    1) What are your expectations for the first game against Croatia on Saturday?

    2) What makes Google Optimize a must-have experience in relation to its competitive alternatives on the market?

    3) Can you share some of the user acquisition strategy for Google Optimize?

    Merci!

    • RI

      Rotimi Iziduh

      4 months ago #

      Hi Arsene! I know everyone makes an Arsene Wenger joke to you so I won't join in :P

      1) Its going to be a tough game- Modric and Rakitic are perhaps one of the top 5 midfield pairings in the world. Arnautovic is also a pretty good striker. I think Croatia will sadly win this one by 2-1

      2) Similar to my response above, one area where Optimize really shines is with our deep integrations with other Google products like GA and AdWords. If you're a company that utilizes those products, its super easy to quickly get value from Optimize.

      3) A lot of our acquisition strategy so far is focused on reaching users who are already interested in experimentation and at least have some analytics experience. These users can easily get up and running with Optimize and start getting value. As we increase our content creation efforts, we may start broadening the funnel to include users who are relatively new to analytics.

      • AL

        Arsene Lavaux

        4 months ago #

        Hahaha- I actually met Arsene Wenger when I played young professional in France and he was coaching Monaco at the time. Yes, I get that joke a lot ;)

        1) Thanks for being super honest. Wish you team the best. Soccer is no science, that's the beauty of this incredible game.

        2) I'll try these integrations then. Thanks for sharing.

        3) Makes sense.

        Vive le foot! :)

  • FL

    Federico Lara Mendez

    4 months ago #

    Hi Rotimi, I'm searching an in-person Growth Hacking course, based on Sillicon Valley. Which one do you recommend? . What about Growth Tribe in Amsterdam, any reviews or someone from Google did it?

    Best,

    Fede

  • LS

    Lizz Sommerfield

    4 months ago #

    I have been running A/B tests through a variety of tools for over 10 years now, and I've been using Google Optimize pretty much since it was released. I have run many complex tests with it. I haven't found much success with the GUI tool as most of the tests I'm running are on single page apps or parts of single page apps and I need to be pretty creative to get those UI's to work through the Optimize tool. Is there a better way than just adding a chunk of javascript to the element and adding a chunk of CSS to the CSS editor? I haven't been able to find any documentation on using the tool like this.

    I've also run into a number of issues regarding some very specific uses of things like overriding pseudo classes with background images in the CSS editor. The images often don't load properly and I see some other difficult to pin down behaviors. Is there a good way to send these nit-picky issues over to you guys? As an engineer that really pushes the boundaries of tools like this, I'd love to have more advanced documentation to work with.

    Also, is there any chance of getting bandit testing into Optimize? It was in the previous incarnation of Google Experiments, and I'm sorry it's gone. Many, many thanks for taking questions!

  • TO

    Tade Odunlami

    4 months ago #

    Ok, I got my notification late. I'm late to this party.

    1. How would a B2B business "optimize" your features and find Google optimizer as a good fit?

    2. Do you have plans some day to launch your personal product, given your experience?

    I know this is more about growth hacking, but would be nice to connect with you on the sidebar about Product management.

    I saw your quip about financial services in Nigeria up there, and couldn't agree any more. Working with a team on data analytics in that sphere.

  • ST

    Sergio Tavares

    4 months ago #

    Hi Rotimi, Brazil here!
    A few months ago I saw a post on LinkedIn by a Google employee saying that ‘your revenue increase’ May run high in the experiment results, but when comparing with the real revenue, the numbers don’t match. Is there a formula or model we can use to create trustworthy numbers of revenue increase from the experiments?
    Thanks and Godspeed!

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