Get started with Optimizely Web Experimentation

  • Updated
This topic describes how to:
  • Implement one line of code to run Optimizely on your site
  • Get quick optimization ideas to start out
  • Use six key steps to run great experiments in Optimizely Web Experimentation

Optimizely Web Experimentation makes it easy to test experiences on your site with actual visitors, learn from them, and take action based on results.

What do we mean by "test experiences"? A/B Testing, also known as split testing, is a method of optimization that lets you run two (or more) versions of an experience to compare which is more effective at achieving your conversion goals.

Visitors are randomly bucketed into one version ("A") or the other ("B"). By measuring how visitors interact—for example: clicking a button, viewing a page, watching a video, submitting a form, or completing a purchase —you can determine which version is most effective at achieving your conversion goals.

Optimizely Web Experimenation allows you to set up and run A/B tests (as well as other test types, such as "multi-page" tests). In Optimizely Web Experimentation, these are known as experiments. The different versions of the page that a visitor might see are known as variations.

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This quickstart guide helps you get your first experiment up and running quickly. To set up Optimizely Web Experimentation for longer-term success, follow this implementation checklist for Optimizely Web Experimentation.

Want to see all your resources in one place? Here is the one-stop shop for Optimizely Web Experimentation resources.

1. Implement the snippet

Optimizely Web Experimentation makes implementation simple: just take a small snippet of code, and copy and paste it into your site's code. Here is how to find and copy the snippet, with step-by-step instructions below:

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  1. Navigate to Settings > Implementation.

  2. Click the clipboard icon copy-clipboard-icon.png for the snippet you want to copy.
    If your account uses custom snippets, you might see more than one snippet listed. In this case, choose the snippet you want to use for your experiment.

  3. The snippet will be copied to your clipboard.

Paste the snippet as high as possible in the <head> tag of any page where you would like to test or track a goal. For simplicity, you should add the snippet sitewide.

Site performance has become increasingly important in recent years. Download the Optimizely Performance Guide to decide which implementation is right for you.

Also, check out our whitepaper on optimizing the performance of client-side experimentation.

For more detailed instructions, read about implementing the Optimizely snippet or take a look at this short video:

2. Manage collaborators, projects and experiments

In Optimizely, users are called collaborators, and each type of collaborator has a different permissions level:

  • Administrators have full access to all projects and account billing information. A user who is an administrator on one project is also an administrator on every other Optimizely project in your organization.

  • Editors can create and edit non-running campaigns. They can also view results.

  • Project owners can create, edit, publish, and pause campaigns. A project can have more than one project owner. 

  • Viewers can preview campaigns and view results.

Put some thought into how you assign Optimizely permissions for your organization. Here is where to learn more about managing collaborators in Optimizely.

Meanwhile, projects let you subdivide your Optimizely account into little territories: for different sections of a website, multiple sites, or different products. They act as an organizational structure within Optimizely. Each project has its own: snippet, set of experiments and set of collaborators. Learn more about creating and managing projects in Optimizely.

3. Get optimization ideas

Now that you have set up Optimizely, you are ready to start experimenting! You probably have ideas for what to test and optimize already. But if you need a few more, check out our articles with testing ideas:

The book A/B Testing: The Most Powerful Way To Turn Clicks Into Customers, provides many ideas and examples to get you started.

4. Build an experiment in six steps

There are six essential steps that you will use in every experiment. Here is an overview:

  1. Configure URL Targeting or pages (where your experiment will run)

  2. Create variations (make changes to your site with the Visual Editor or custom code)

  3. Add audiences (who will see your experiment)

  4. Add metrics (how you will measure success)

  5. Set traffic distribution (how traffic will be split between variations)

  6. QA your experiment and publish it live to the world!