Optimizely: 5 Features and strengths

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UX · 03 / 08 / 2016

Optimizely is a powerful web site optimization tool, using A/B Testing and personalization of content.

Having tried other tools with similar objectives, we like to emphasize among its strengths: the management of audiences, the WYSIWYG tools (although they never forget to allow access to the source code, which we appreciate infinitely) and integration with other analysis and tracking tools.

In a previous post we explained what is CRO? (Conversion Rate optimization), which inevitably leads to the execution of A/B tests. Optimizely will help us in our optimization projects in a very detailed way.

Next we will make an introduction to Optimizely through 5 features and strengths of this magnificent tool:

1. A/B Testing

It is its main function and this is how it was born. So it’s very developed, it’s intuitive and very powerful.

No need to touch or a line of code (in Digital Menta , we like to pamper the source code of our Web projects, so sometimes we prefer to have control of the generated changes), Optimizely allows us to create one or multiple variants of our landing page (or website), decide what percentage of users we direct to each variant and also make it exclusively for custom audience.

The A/B test, in Optimizely, is called “experiments” (as in other platforms) and allows us to adjust and track them based on:


We can define the objectives that we want to measure. They can be:

  1. Clicks (We will have to tell you which element/s of our landing we want to measure)
  2. Visits/page views
  3. Custom Events: launch a popup, add a product to the cart,…


For each project, we can define specific audiences. Thus, we can adjust our measurements and direct our experiments for users who meet certain requirements. The dimensions that we can use to define our audiences are very broad:

  • Browser
  • Device
  • Language
  • New visitors vs. Recurrent
  • Operating system
  • URL with/without certain parameter (useful to distinguish our traffic from PPC)
  • Referrer URL
  • Time
  • Location
  • Custom list
  • Personalized Labels

So we can, for example, launch an experiment for our users in Norway and another for our users in Italy.

Audience creation in Optimizely (Source: blog.optimizely.com)

Audience creation in Optimizely (Source: blog.optimizely.com)

Custom Dimensions (via API)

At this point, things start to get complicated. Here we are going to need a programmer… But if you get the need to implement custom dimensions is because you already have one.

A custom dimension for segmenting an experiment could be, for example, distinguishing users from your page according to the type of user they are: Premium, free, pending activation,…

2. Personalization

This functionality of Optimizely is relatively new. Allows you to customize the content of your landing page (or website) for a defined audience. It is something that is very fashionable among the CRO gurus (for example, in ConversionXL we explain the personalization of differentiating content of customization in this article.

Let’s give an example of personalization:

In our ecommerce we sell shoes to everyone. On our homepage, we promote the most sold item at the time that, surely, could be sandals in summer and water boots in winter… But, of course, while our Argentinian visitors are at 30 º in January, our Spanish visitors are going cold. The solution: We defined 2 simple audiences, which comes from Argentina and the one that comes from Spain. To the first ones we showed a homepage promoting sandals and, to the second ones, promoting the most sheltered shoe in our collection.

Personalization in Optimizely (Source: blog.optimizely.com)

Personalization in Optimizely (Source: blog.optimizely.com)

3. Audience/Segment Creation

If you have created a campaign in AdWords or Facebook, you will know that audience creation can be very relevant and, on some platforms, with few options.

Optimizely allows advanced segmentation. Without entering custom segmentations, audiences can be created based on the dimensions we have quoted a little higher: browser, device, language, new visitors vs. Recurring, operating system, etc.

But they can also be customized in a much more advanced way. The “Dynamic Customer Profiles” tool allows you to create user profile based on your behavior and interests in terms of online purchases, travel and subscriptions in B2B or SaaS services.

Finally, integrating other segmentation platforms (such as nugg.ad or AdWords) in your Optimizely project, you can use the audiences that provide you with these platforms.

4. Integration with other platforms

This functionality has been worked thoroughly by the people of Optimizely. It seems to us fundamental, for example, to be able to generate heat maps in an AB experiment. Well, there’s the integration with, for example, CrazyEgg.

We also find it very interesting the integration developed for WordPress. This popular CMS, together with Optimizely, will give us the possibility to create personalized experiments and content in a simple and fast way to optimize our website.

5. Measurement and analysis of results

Launch an AB test, have patience to wait for the results, get a winner… And once you have it, you want to know the details. The expert UX project manager will want to see Heatmaps, the Account Manager You want to know that keywords have worked better, the commercial director will want to know what offer has attracted more to their customers, etc. Well, the reports generated by Optimizely are very detailed, can be segmented by all the dimensions that we have discussed, objectives defined,.. All happy!

Example of Result Analysis in Optimizely (Source: help.optimizely.com)

Example of Result Analysis in Optimizely (Source: help.optimizely.com)

EXTRA: the documentation and support offered by Optimizely is extensive and easy. We like it!

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