Six steps to create an experiment in Optimizely Web Experimentation or Performance Edge

  • Updated
  • Optimizely Web Experimentation
  • Optimizely Performance Edge

Optimizely Experimentation makes it easy to A/B test your website. Use the experimentation editor to design variations, define where the experiment runs, who sees it, create events to measure success using metrics, and test your experiment. When your experiment looks and works the way you want, publish it live to the world.

Follow the six steps in this topic to create, configure, and launch an experiment in Optimizely Web Experimentation or Optimizely Performance Edge. See Optimizely Web Experimentation implementation checklist

Optimizely Performance Edge is a lightweight experimentation product that delivers significantly faster performance than other versions of Optimizely. It does this by relying on a streamlined "microsnippet" which limits the range of available features.

If you are using Optimizely Performance Edge, some of the features mentioned in this article may not be available to you. Each section of this article contains links to other, more detailed articles on that section's topic. Click through to those articles for a clear delineation of which features are available for Performance Edge experiments and which are not.

Start by creating a new experiment.

  1. From the Optimizely application, go to the Experiments dashboard.

  2. Click Create New Experiment.

  3. Select A/B Test from the dropdown.

  4. Enter a name and description (optional) for your new experiment. See Step 1. URL Targeting to select which URLs the experiment will run. 

Step 1. URL Targeting

After naming and describing your experiment, set where your experiment will run. You can use a single URL or a page, depending on your use case:

  • URL Target – Use if you want to add a simple URL to run an experiment just once.
  • Pages – Use if you plan to run experiments on a set of URLs regularly.

In Optimizely Web Experimentation experiments, you can use a combination of page triggers and conditions to tell when to activate a page. These options are useful for single-page applications (SPAs).

In Optimizely Performance Edge experiments, pages activate immediately. See set up a Page.

Click Create Experiment.

Before you can run a Web Experimentation experiment, Implement the one-line JavaScript snippet in your website's code and create at least one metric. If your Optimizely 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.

Step 2. Create a variation

After targeting a page, from the Experiments dashboard, click the experiment name you created in the previous to open the experiment details. Click the variation you want to edit.

This opens the Visual Editor. Using the Visual Editor, you can make changes to the layout and appearance of your webpage:

  • Change the layout, including the element's visibility or position. Or even rearrange the elements on the page.

  • Modify or replace typography, images, background styles, or borders.

  • Add inline CSS.

  • Fine-tune jQuery selectors.

  • Change the timing of the change from synchronous to asynchronous. 

Step 3. Add audiences (optional)

Audiences let you decide who will see your experiment. From your experiment, click the Audiences tab to configure.

The default audience is all visitors to your site (Everyone). Click Search and add audiences to create a new audience or add any existing audiences to your experiment. 

You can combine multiple audiences in your experiment using AND and OR conditions. See Target audiences using the Audience Builder for advanced audience configurations.

Step 4. Add metrics

Metrics measure the success of your experiment. If the changes in your variation are successful, what will you measure to show improvement?

Click on the Metrics tab from your experiment. Create a metric from an existing event or click Create New Event. To add an existing event as a metric, click the event name and configure. 

The first metric you add is the primary metric for the experiment. This metric determines whether your experiment "wins" or "loses," and should track an event that is directly affected by the changes you make in your experiment.

Optimizely's Stats Engine ensures that the primary metric reaches statistical significance as quickly as possible. You can also add secondary metrics or monitor goals to measure the downstream effects of your experiment.

To complete the experiment configuration, you must add at least one metric. You can change, remove, or add metrics to your experiment later. Click Save when you are finished adding metrics to your experiment.

Step 5. Set traffic allocation

Set traffic allocation to specify how traffic is split between your variations. Optimizely Experimentation randomly allocates traffic into different variations, including the original.

Click on the Traffic Allocation tab from your experiment. If you like, you can change the volume of traffic into each variation. Or, you can leave it as is. You can also change the total traffic that goes into the experiment as a whole.

Step 6. Test and publish

After you set up the components of your experiment, preview it to ensure it looks and works the way you intend.

Click Preview to view visual changes for your variation.

See Preview and publish your experiment on how to test the functionality of your campaign.

Not seeing your changes in Preview mode? Ensure your snippet is implemented on this page and configured to include Optimizely Web Experimentation or Optimizely Performance Edge.

See Test Optimizely Experimentation for what you need to consider before fully testing your experiment, or see Troubleshoot experiments.

When everything looks and works how you want, click Start Experiment to deploy the experiment live to your webpage visitors.