Our Experience with Visual Web Optimizer

Testing (or A/B testing) provides marketers with the ability to serve users different web experiences and measure their outcome. You can use templates to create new web pages, making changes to design elements (the color of buttons, the font on your page, or the layout of your content) on your current web pages. Split testing reduces the time spent deliberating about design elements by directly analyzing customer response data.

Visual Web Optimizer (VWO) came out around 2010, and works as a “client side” optimization tool. What that means is the page as rendered by the web server is modified by VWO to change the experience. This is accomplished by changing the HTML at the DOM level. DOM (Document Object Model) is what programmers use to build pages on your website.

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.

  • Campaign Insights: Visual Web Optimizer treats each test you run like a separate campaign, and its dashboard reflects and updates the results of your tests constantly. Visual Web Optimizer also generates reports on the status of each campaign, how it’s doing in comparison to set goals or if one layout is doing statistically better than another. Although you may have a few tests running at the same time, it’s easy to monitor the results of all of them at once. 

  • Exact Behavioral Tracking: Pages designed with the Visual Web Optimizer template also allow you to track customer behavior more specifically, providing tools like heatmaps which show you exactly what on your page is drawing your user’s attention.

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

When Do We Recommend Visual Website Optimizer

Split (A/B) testing tools like Visual Web Optimizer have become popular because they offer the opportunity to reduce creative arguments, providing analytics data to show true customer response. Using them, marketers are able get consumer insights from the actual people who are clicking. Visual Web Optimizer and its software competitor, Optimizely, have virtually the same feature set.

They also both have a similar drawback, in that the marketing team will have ability to greatly change page layouts on the fly (something typically done by front-end development). 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 very high traffic sites. Still, it is a good tool, easy to deploy to a single page or section of the site, and provides insights that are difficult to get otherwise from actual customer site interaction.