Get started with Optimizely Web Personalization

  • Updated
This topic describes how to:
  • Implement one line of code to run Optimizely on your site
  • Get quick optimization ideas for your first Personalization experiment
  • Start building a Personalization experiment in six key steps

Optimizely Web Personalization helps you deliver targeted experiences to different visitors based on their behaviors, in real time. You can use Personalization to create a visitor experience that feels unique and highly relevant, increase conversions, and drive engagement.

How Personalization works  

When you set up the key pages, events, and tags on your site, you help Optimizely develop a data-rich picture of your visitors’ behavior. You will use these behaviors alongside data from other resources to create audiences.

First, you will define the audiences you want to personalize for and the pages where you will deliver the personalized messaging. Then you will create campaigns, which allow you to deliver personalized experiences to different audiences on each page.

After you run a campaign, you will want to measure how effective it is. The Results page for Personalization uses a holdback to measure the lift of your primary metric and any other events you have tracked. You can view these results for a whole campaign or by audience.

Ideas for Personalization campaigns

One common use for Personalization in Optimizely is customizing a visitor's experience to capitalize on the content of pages they have already visited. For example, let us say you have noticed that visitors often return to your home page after viewing individual product pages. You can set up an experiment in which a banner on your home page displays an image and text combination that is designed to remind visitors of the product they've just seen and reinforce the messaging on that product page.

You could also design experiments that test custom content for people located in specific geographic regions. Or, you could combine both of these ideas, with different messaging aimed at visitors in different markets.

Read this article for ideas to inspire your Personalization campaigns. This blog post offers a roadmap for an effective Personalization strategy, and you can check out more Personalization strategies in this article.

Set up Personalization

Here are a few steps to get set up so you can begin using Personalization:

1. Implement the snippet

If you have not done so already, implement the Optimizely snippet. The snippet is a single line of JavaScript code added to your site's <head> tag that allows Optimizely experiments and campaigns to run on your site. For information about properly configuring your snippet, click here.

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 campaign.

2. Prepare Optimizely for your site

To maximize the value that Optimizely brings to your Personalization program, set up powerful features like pages, events, tags, and audiences.

Pages are URL templates that let you choose where campaigns and experiments run. You will use them to tell Optimizely where to deliver personalized experiences on your site.

Events track the actions that people take on your site, such as clicks, pageviews, form submissions, and purchases.

Tags describe key parts of a page that visitors engage with, such as the type of product and what it costs. When used with events, tags help provide a data-rich picture of visitor behavior. 

Audiences are groups of visitors to whom you will show a personalized experience. With Personalization, you can use pages, tags, and audiences together to create behaviorally targeted audiences. For example, you can target a "Luxury Traveler" audience for visitors who purchased bags over $200 in the last 30 days using pages, events, and tags in tandem.

For details about preparing Optimizely for your site, check out this article.

3. Add collaborators and projects

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

  • Administrators have full access to all projects and account billing information. Any 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.

You will want to put some thought into how you assign Optimizely permissions for your organization. This article describes the features of each collaborator role and explains how to add and remove collaborators.

Projects let you subdivide your Optimizely account into smaller territories for different sections of a website, multiple sites, or different products. Projects act as an organizational structure within Optimizely. Each project has its own snippet, set of experiments, and set of collaborators. Learn how to add and manage projects in this article.

4. Create a Personalization campaign

After you have taken care of the first three setup requirements, you can dive into creating your first Personalization campaign. This usually involves the following steps:

  1. Add pages to your campaign so Optimizely knows where to run.

  2. Choose your audiences, and prioritize experiences for each audience. You can also target a campaign to more than one audience simultaneously.

  3. Include a metric that will best indicate whether your campaign is a success.

  4. Set a holdback—essentially, a control group that will not see the personalized campaign. This allows Optimizely's Stats Engine to quantify your campaign's performance.

  5. Create personalized experiences in Optimizely's Visual Editor.

  6. QA your campaign, and publish it when you are ready.

 For a detailed explanation of each of these six steps, see this article.