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Personalization: Amplify messaging with multi-threaded campaigns

  • Updated
  • Optimizely Web Personalization

When you create a campaign, you decide which audiences you want to target and create a different experience for each. But what if a visitor qualifies for more than one audience? Which experience will they see?


Optimizely Personalization lets you prioritize audiences, so when a visitor qualifies for more than one, they always see the most important experience.

The campaign above targets six audiences, in order of priority from top to bottom. A visitor who qualifies for multiple audiences sees the highest-priority experience for which they qualify. Managing Audience overlap in a single campaign helps you refine the personalization on your site according to your business goals.

However, this approach also means that every visitor who qualifies for multiple audiences sees only one experience: the one you have categorized as most important. Often, there is a good chance that experiences that are lower-priority according to your business goals or in the aggregate view resonate just as strongly with an individual visitor.

Use the multi-threaded campaign strategy to show multiple experiences on a single page to a visitor who qualifies for more than one audience.

By delivering a powerful set of messages to visitors who qualify—instead of prioritizing a single one—you create a more granular, personalized experience for each visitor. Multi-threaded campaigns help you multiply the power of personalization on each Page and maximize lift.

How does it work? Create multiple campaigns that target different areas of a page. Each of these campaigns will prioritize a different audience.

For example, consider a Home page with four different areas you will personalize: the butterbar at the top (A), the hero image (B), a left image tile (C), and a right image tile (D).

To deliver a multi-threaded campaign on this page, create a campaign for each of the four areas:

A. Butterbar campaign
B. Hero Image campaign
C. Left Tile campaign
D. Right Tile campaign

By prioritizing different audiences within each of these campaigns, you maximize the potential reach of your personalization on this Home page.

Prioritize your messaging matrix

Before we jump into a multi-threaded campaign messaging matrix, let us review how a messaging matrix for a single campaign works.

When you create a messaging matrix for a single campaign, each matrix represents a page on your site.

In the example below, imagine that audiences are prioritized from left to right; so, "New Visitors" is higher priority than "Browsed only Women's." If a visitor qualifies for both, which hero image will they see?

According to this matrix, they will see the "Intro to brand" image, because "New visitors" is a higher-priority audience. Read our article on Planning Experiences for a single Campaign to learn more.

The messaging matrix below visualizes a multi-threaded campaign. It represents a single page and multiple campaigns. Each campaign represents an area of the page (Butterbar, Hero Image, Left Tile, and Right Tile), and prioritizes all audiences for each area.

So, suppose a visitor arriving at this page qualifies for the following three audiences: "Browsed only Women's," "10% off Marketing," and "Geo = Major Market."

They are eligible to see experiences delivered by each of the four campaigns on the page, for all three of those audiences. Take a look at the hero image row in the matrix; what image will this visitor see? That depends on how those three audiences are prioritized.

The matrix below introduces audience prioritization for this multi-threaded campaign. Notice how audiences are prioritized across rows—for each campaign on the page.

So, the "Hero Image" campaign prioritizes the "Browsed only Women's" audience over "Geo = Major Market" audience. The visitor would see the "most popular women's item" image in the hero banner. What would this same visitor see in the right tile?

If you guessed "Nearest Retail Store Locator," you're right! Notice that the multi-threaded campaign strategy lets you prioritize audiences differently across a single page. So, in one area (the butterbar), the "Loyal Visitors" experience is more important than the "10% off Marketing" experience; in another (the right tile), it is less important.

If you are running multi-threaded campaigns, the audience prioritization you set for each campaign should be different, so that visitors who qualify for multiple audiences have a higher likelihood of receiving multiple layers of personalized messages.

Review audience combinations

After you prioritize your messaging matrix, check all visitor scenarios to ensure that you are saying what you want, to who you want. Let us take a closer look at the same example, this time with a prioritized messaging matrix.

Which experiences will the visitor who qualifies for the above three audiences see? Which experiences will they not see?

THey will see each first-priority experience: the "Browsed only Women's" experience in the hero image, the "10% off Marketing" in the left tile, and the "Geo = Major Market" in the right tile. In the butterbar, they will also see the "10% off Marketing" experience—a second-priority experience—because she does not qualify for the "Loyal Visitors" audience at all.

Use this type of review process to make adjustments to your matrix as needed.

Example 2:

What would a new visitor, on a tablet, and in a major geographic market experience?

The visitor would see the "New Visitors" hero image, the "Mobile/Tablet" left tile, and the "Geo=Major Market" right tile. Based on the prioritization within each campaign, they would not see the "Geo=Major Market" hero image or the "New Visitors" right tile.

Notice how two different visitors can have very distinct experiences on the same Page. By prioritizing audiences in multi-threaded campaigns, you can plan personalization that maximizes impact and reach.

Build all campaigns

After prioritizing the audiences for each campaign, and reviewing all audience combinations, it is time to build your campaigns. Let us see how that works, using the last Right Tile Campaign as an example.

When you set up a Campaign, add all audiences you have selected and prioritize them. Below, we add four audiences by order of importance and leave the others out.


Click the + icon to add an audience. Drag-and-drop the triple bar icon to reorder them.

After you create the campaign, design an experience for each audience. The order of experiences matches your prioritized audience list.


Follow the same process for each of the campaigns in your multi-threaded campaign strategy for the page.

Congratulations! You have delivered granular, personalized experiences that strategically target the motivations and behaviors of different types of visitors to your site.

Learn more personalization strategy essentials.