Creating the perfect website is tough. That's where tools like Optimizely come in.
You need to find the ideal host, a CRM system you can trust, even a reliable checkout process.
Even if you get everything right first-time around, today's online stores are dynamic things. Often, they need to be constantly assessed and improved to ensure that they continue to deliver results.
What is Optimizely?
Optimizely is an experimentation platform that you can use to test the impact of changes to your site. For instance – what if your CTA button was red instead of blue?
What if you changed the wording in your landing page heading?
Optimizely will help you to improve your site by showing you the impact of various changes.
So, is it worth an investment?
That's what we're here to find out.
Optimizely is an experimentation and customer experience optimization platform.
It's the ultimate strategy for A/B testing, designed to help you get the most out of your site.
With Optimizely, you can easily improve your chances of converting leads, gaining subscribers, and more, all through simple, calculated adjustments to your online presence.
- A/B Testing
- Multivariate testing
- Visual editing
- Multi-page experimentation
- Security and platform compliance
- Analytics integrations
- Mutually exclusive experiments
- Behavioral targeting
- Stats Engine
- Program management
Optimizely: Optimizely Web
Optimizely splits down into a few essential features – depending on what you want to do with the tool.
Want to conduct experiments on your website?
Then you'll start with Optimizely Web.
Advertised as the world's most powerful solution for A/B and multi-page front-end experimentation, Optimizely was built for the enterprise. It features a range of helpful features, including exclusion groups which are ideal for allowing you to run multiple experiments at once.
Optimizely also supports modern websites, thanks to support for dynamic content. If you're focusing exclusively on apps, TV ads and IoT experiences, there's a separate full-stack service, but we'll come to that in in a minute.
The Web service is essentially how companies can get started with finding out how successful their website is. The visual editor makes it easy to make basic changes, and you can get your developers in on the action too with custom code, APIs, extensions, and more.
- Target specific experiences by adding parameters to your experimentations, such geography, cookies, ad campaign, and other dimensions.
- No coding required. Try out your experiments with drag-and-drop functionality, without relying on developer assistance.
- Segment your audience by campaign, browser, device, and other custom elements to uncover insights into your network.
The only issue? You might experience a bug or two when you try to open preview mode for the changes you've made to your website. I found that this was common when I was using a slower internet connection or a browser that wasn't fully up-to-date. If you're having issues, try ramping up your connection speed, or changing your default browser to something more reliable.
Optimizely: Full Stack
So, what if your marketing campaigns go beyond your website?
Maybe you're gathering information with IoT sensors, or you need to see how people will respond to your television and mobile ads?
Optimizely offers its “Full Stack” solution for this.
What's Full Stack?
It's an A/B testing platform that allows you to create better experiences through every step of the customer journey, making backend changes, testing the impact of new features and more. It's a completely open-platform solution, with SDKs and pluggable services to give you better control over integrations with your analytics pipelines. What's more, the real-time event collection servers used all around the globe mean that you can get experimentation results quickly and easily.
Leading companies like StubHub and BlueApron have already achieved phenomenal success with Optimizely's help, and you can read about their results here. Features include:
- Feature flags: Enable, hide, or roll out single product features at run time, and choose correctly who has access to those features.
- Event tracking: monitor the KPIs and conversion metrics that matter to you in any service or application.
- Instant updates: Ensure you get immediate results from your experiments so that you can deliver new features faster.
- Custom configuration: Swap in your own component options for error handling, logging, integrations, event dispatching and more.
- Rollouts: Reduce your risks with launching new features by rolling them out to smaller user sets first and testing the outcomes.
- Multi-channel experiments: Set user IDs to ensure a consistent and custom experience across every touchpoint in the user journey.
- Audience segmentation: Access more granular segmentation and targeting with custom attributes for your audience.
- Raw event export: Download complete data events for a better insight into your results.
- Whitelists: Make sure that you get speedy results from your experiments by pushing users into specific variations.
- See your experiments in real-time with the Optimizely stats engine.
- Easily create randomized switches in traffic anywhere in your application without harming performance.
All that, and Optimizely comes with high-level security built-in too, including roles and permission control, 2-factor authentication, and single sign-on. It's a quick and easy way to manage a host of experiments, even if you haven't tried A/B testing before.
Optimizely: Analytics (Stats Engine)
Now let's get to the meat of what Optimizely offers – analytics.
A/B testing is all about filling your metrics folder full of useful insights.
Optimizely believes that traditional statistics simply aren't enough for today's agile businesses. Companies need to be able to respond to data in real-time so that they can make quick and reliable changes to their customer experience strategies.
That's why Optimizely built their “Stats Engine” into the heart of their platform. This unique service was designed quite a while ago, with a bunch of experts from Stanford University.
So, what makes it so great?
Well, it's designed to automatically adjust your stats so that they're always up-to-date and valid according to your latest outcomes. In other words, it makes sure that you have information fast so that you can make critical decisions quickly.
The only real problem with this is that the system can get buggy if you try to make changes during a test that's already running. However, any optimization platform is likely to have a few bugs here and there. On the plus side, whenever you take a peek at your results, you can ensure you're getting fully accurate, up-to-date outcomes.
- The ability to see conclusive results twice as fast
- Complete support from the Stats engine without any coding knowledge
- Sound results every time
Optimizely: Developer Support
One of the good things about Optimizely?
On the one hand, you've got a system that anyone can get up and running in a matter of minutes, regardless of whether they've never had any experience with development before. On the other hand, you've got a complete community dedicated to helping developers make the most out of their skills.
Inside Optimizely, you'll find demonstration apps, documentation, and other useful resources for developers who want to create brand-new web, mobile, and server applications. You can even access Optimizely APIs to manage your campaigns as you go.
For Developers, Optimizely offers:
- Event APIs so you can track third-party and offline conversions, including real-world purchases, calls and phone support, and ad revenue.
- Full data export with Optimizely information in an S3 bucket – which can be accessed through the Amazon API.
- Results API: Query aggregate your results from personalization and experimentation campaigns and integrate data into your visualization tools.
There's even a handy blog wholly dedicated to the developer community, to help you learn more about using Optimizely for your campaigns.
These days, data tools always work better when they play well with others.
Optimizely integrates with a host of excellent technology platforms, providing different view of your site from different angles. In all Optimizely plans, you'll be able to unlock integrations for things like:
- Google analytics classic
- Google AdWords
- Google universal analytics
- Adobe analytics
On the other hand, if you're looking for something a little more advanced, then you might need to upgrade to the Enterprise package. Optimizely supports a handful of extra integrations for Enterprise users, such as:
- Adobe audience manager
Optimizely: Ease of Use
Want an A/B testing solution that's easy to use?
Of course, you do!
Fortunately, Optimizely delivers.
Not only is Optimizely incredibly easy to use when you first set it up, but it comes with plenty of support to help you learn your way around the system too. For instance, you can access customer success managers or other professional services.
For those who want to start their A/B experience on the right foot, Optimizely offers something called “Optimizely Accelerate.” This is an initial boot camp lasting up to 12 weeks. The Bootcamp teaches you everything you need to know about building the ultimate marketing and customer experience solution.
So, what if you don't have time for the full boot camp experience?
No problem, you can develop your knowledge and skills with Optiverse instead.
Optiverse is the name that Optimizely gives to its resource centre and expert community. Here, you'll find countless blogs, articles, and videos to get you started. There's also a bunch of user guides to help you with specific processes in your strategy, recorded training sessions, and more.
Additionally, the user community is very active, and supportive too. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding someone online that will help you out when you're in a bind.
Pricing is where Optimizely gets tricky.
When you visit the Pricing page, you won't get a lot of information.
Instead, all you find out is that there are two different programs available, each with three pricing structures for the “Essentials,” “Business” and “Enterprise. The first option is the simple web-based solution for Optimizely, which comes in these packages:
The second option is designed for the Optimizely “Fully Stack” service – which gives you a lot more developer access:
You can also request to have both options combined into a single platform, with both Optimizely Web and Full Stack. However, there are no prices listed to show you what you can expect to pay. For all of the options, you need to contact a sales representative.
What does this mean?
Most of the time, if there are no prices listed on a website, you can expect to pay a reasonable amount.
If you want excellent A/B testing, you might need to invest.
Optimizely: Customer Service
On the plus side, while prices might be high, Optimizely at least delivers premium customer service in return. Through a network of partners and a comprehensive team, the company is committed to helping you transform your experimentations into next-level insights.
When you sign up with Optimizely, you'll get your own Customer Success Manager, who helps you to train your people and build the best process possible for experimentation. There are even business reviews every quarter to show you how you're making progress, and where you need to adjust to stay on track.
If you want additional support, there are also professional services available, from both Optimizely themselves and the global network of partners that they work with. This includes on-site training for your team.
What about the basics?
For those mission-critical experiments, as Optimizely puts it, you can rely on their technical support team to answer any questions you might have. There's also a Priority Support option if you're willing to pay a little more, which means that you get 24/7 coverage for any critical issues that come your way.
Optimizely Review and Pricing: Conclusion
If you can afford it, Optimizely is an exceptional experimentation platform.
Honestly, if you're a tiny startup without much cash to splash, this might not be the service that you're looking for. However, if you're a bigger company looking to accomplish something incredible, Optimizely could be the must-have way to transform your business.
It's a reliable, and immersive platform, brimming with developers and non-techies alike.