VWO + Optimize: Our Conversion Rate Optimization Tools of Choice
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Growth Tools

VWO + Optimize: Our Conversion Rate Optimization Tools of Choice

Stefan MancevskiStefan Mancevski

July 15, 2021

A few months back, we wrote about our struggles with CRO tools for internal and client use. We also talked about a new tool — Google Optimize — that we’d started using for conversion rate optimization for Ladder’s internal marketing.

A lot has changed since then. Google Optimize is now a fully public tool that’s 100% free.

google optimize


Meanwhile, Visual Website Optimizer (VWO) has taken over as our CRO tool of choice for client work.



There are a few advantages to VWO that have led to its new position as our CRO tool of choice. Alongside Google Optimize for uncomplicated, quick execution tests, VWO has filled out our CRO tool arsenal.

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Adaptive Arsenal

Before I continue talking about VWO, a quick aside >>

Clients and readers of our blog ask us all the time why we evaluate so many software tools for our business. As you can probably tell from the multiple tech stack posts we’ve done, we go through a lot of SaaS tools when evaluating how to grow businesses.

saas marketing

Some consider that an unfocused approach. We consider it our competitive advantage in the field. We’re platform- and tool-agnostic in our marketing testing and methodology, and our process wouldn’t be as effective as it is without that approach.

So constantly evaluating new tools, or old tools that have improved, is a no-brainer to us. We deliberately adapt our arsenal of tools to make sure we’re growing both Ladder and our clients’ businesses with the cutting edge of marketing technology.

ecommerce marketing

It shows in our focus on developing a suite of marketing planning tools in the Ladder Planner and in our desire to evaluate tools like VWO and add them to our toolkit.

VWO’s Advantages

No marketing tech tool is perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Sumo is a powerful on-site exit intent and website traffic tool, but it’s missing a lot of customization features that would make our lives easier. LinkedIn’s Ads platform is one of the least intuitive on the market, yet it’s still a terrific choice for B2B ad campaigns.

So for VWO to overtake Google Optimize, a free tool, as our top choice for client CRO testing, it has to have a few advantages that make it worth paying for.

Here are the 4 that brought VWO to the top:

  • Easy custom experiments
  • Simple & functional visual editor
  • Better onboarding and guided test creation
  • Terrific support

Let’s go into detail with all of these:

Easy Custom Experiments

Setting up custom experiments using custom JavaScript is a breeze in VWO. They have an easy-to-use code editor where you can change HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in order to manipulate elements on a website with no added effort.

vwo code editor

Our strategists can easily talk to one of our developers or CRO experts, get a script written up, and pop it into VWO and be ready to fly.

Meanwhile, it’s confusing whether or not Google Optimize even allows for custom JavaScript experiments to run. There’s a “Run JavaScript” option, but it’s not properly explained or documented at the moment.

google optimize

Now we’re not developers, but there’s something completely unintuitive about firing JavaScript related to each element, rather than using scripts to edit the page as a whole. That second approach is what VWO allows, making it easy and simple to collaborate with developers to code up our tests.

Intuitive Visual Editor

A major concern in using Optimizely for some of our clients (and for ourselves) was a major issue in getting their visual editor to actually work on some of the sites we were trying to run CRO tests on.


Using Optimizely on our website, for example, resulted in consistent endless loading issues (above).

We haven’t faced similar issues with VWO’s visual editor. It loads consistently with no additional need to fiddle with settings and allow unsafe scripts.

load unsafe scripts

And a major advantage over Google Optimize is that you don’t have to install a separate extension/plugin to have it run.

Better Onboarding & Documentation

If you’ve ever gone through onboarding for Google Optimize (it’s free, so give it a shot) you’ll see just how lacking is. No matter how simple the tool actually is, its onboarding process is not up to par and can leave busy marketers wanting.

VWO doesn’t have this issue. When you first sign up for VWO, you’re properly guided towards the major first actions you should be taking, like adding in the VWO script to your website or setting up your first test.

vwo visual editor

Same goes for guided test creation. As simple as it may be to create a test in Google Optimize, it’s extremely difficult to get answers to certain questions you may have about the product’s featureset that would then let you get more complicated about your testing. No such issue with VWO, which guides you as needed, whether in-app or with documentation, to get what you need to do done.

And with all of this it’s the documentation for VWO that stands out. They’ve got a plethora of useful support articles for any confusing use case, so you’re rarely left needing to contact support.

Terrific Support

But just in case you DO need to call support…

If there’s one thing that everyone at Ladder who uses VWO raves about, it’s their support team.

Here are some choice quotes from our Client Strategy team:

  • “I highly recommend reaching out for any issue.”
  • “They’re able to figure out major issues quickly.”
  • “They’re not just customer success, they’re also technically savvy.”

VWO’s support is outstanding in a space where support is either missing/basic (as with Google Optimize) or is difficult to get in touch with. Our team’s interaction with VWO support staff has been swift, with rapid response to major issues whenever we’ve needed help.

And honestly, this is likely the biggest benefit of VWO. We’re proficient, though not experts, at every tool we use. It’s the support team of any SaaS company that gets us to stick around as paying customers and active users, and it’s that reliability that has us recommending VWO to clients.

If support is lacking, that’s when we start looking for alternatives.

VWO vs. Google Optimize

This isn’t a “who wins” section, but an important note about how we use VWO and Google Optimize in tandem.

In reality, you’ll never get every single feature you need out of any given product. That’s an important thing to consider when building your marketing tech stack.

Google Optimize is our go-to for quick and easy CRO tests. We’ve written about how easy it is to set up basic tests, and our team is now well-versed in what they’d need to do for small changes like website copy or button color, etc…

VWO fills in every other gap as complexity increases, with an equal amount of ease of use for our team. Their documentation and support are terrific, so we’re rarely left confused and frustrated. So for any test we run that requires more complexity, like setting up custom JavaScript, we turn to VWO.

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