Our Experience with Optimizely

Optimizely has quickly become a popular tool used by marketing teams due to its easy use and valuable insights. You can make adjustments to web pages with Optimizely’s user interface, working with simple templates to adjust design elements and layouts.

Optimizely’s split testing software will serve separate pages at the same time, testing them to see which is getting better results. This is good for measuring behavioral changes based on simple factors, like how many people click on a button if it changes color, and major changes, like the structural design of the page. You can make quick changes easily, even without advanced technical skills, which is good for marketers who want to directly manage their tool without having to rely on IT.

It works as a “client side” optimization tool. What that means is that as the page is rendered by the web server it is modified by Optimizely. This is accomplished by changing the rendered HTML at the DOM level. DOM (Document Object Model) is what browsers use to build pages on your website.

Note: Visit the World Wide Web Consortium for more information about the DOM and how it fits into your website.

We personally use Optimizely software and have integrated it for World Vision as well.

The Benefits

  • Simple Templates: You can use templates with easy drag-and-drop software that allows you to test and rearrange the layouts, colors, copy, and design elements of your pages. The process doesn’t require any complicated technical knowledge to use, and you can make changes very quickly.

  • Testing Options: You can test your page layouts in different ways, setting them to run at specific times – maybe during periods of high or low traffic – or be activated by types of users coming into your website.

  • Website Personalization: By integrating Optimizely with your analytics, it can trigger display features on your website to appear based on your visitor’s information, such as gender, location, and browser.

  • Cutting-Edge Analytics: Optimizely’s statistical analysis is geared specifically towards matching behavior with the changes you make to your pages. It simplifies this data, helping you locate the page elements that have had the most impact. You can, of course, monitor the results of your tests in real-time.

When Do We Recommend Optimizely

Optimizely and its competitor, Visual Web Optimizer, have virtually the same feature set. Optimizely has a better sales and marketing team, and perhaps because of that has become the more recognized of the two. On the developer’s end, the implementation for both is identical, and very simple.

They also have a similar drawback: the marketing team will have the ability to change page layouts on the fly–something typically done by front-end developers. This can lead to some unintended consequences if not carefully implemented. Also because it is done “client-side,” some technologies like Varnish and server-side caching are no longer useful, a problem for websites with a high rate of traffic.