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Create a campaign in Optimizely Web Personalization

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This topic describes how to set up your first campaign in Optimizely Web Personalization and deliver personalized experiences to behaviorally targeted audiences.

Optimizely Web Personalization helps you deliver targeted messaging to visitors to your site in real-time. This article is a visual tutorial on how to set up a campaign.

A campaign is the framework that organizes your personalization strategy. It takes a piece of your site, like the promotions on the homepage, and swaps that content out for different behaviorally targeted audiences. You will create a new campaign for each section of the site where you want to deliver targeted experiences.

You may want to set up pages, events, tags and audiences before creating campaigns. Once you do, you can reuse those elements to quickly build new campaigns.

Check out these personalization strategy essentials or find inspiration for campaigns if you are unsure where to start with personalization.

Start a new campaign

To create a new personalization campaign, first, create a new Web project or reuse one you have already created.

To create a new Web project, select Projects > New Project... > Create Web Project. Make sure to give the project a helpful name. For more information on creating Web projects, view our documentation on managing projects in Optimizely Web Experimentation.

Next, create the personalization campaign, go to Experiments > Create New... > Personalization Campaign.


Then, name your new campaign based on the type of targeted message you are delivering. For example, if you want to personalize the messaging on the product page of an expensive duffel bag, you might name it Premium Duffel Bag Campaign.


Step 1. Targeting

Set where the campaign will run. Pages are the places on your site where you deliver targeted experiences.

Click the Target By drop-down and select Saved Pages to add an existing page to your campaign. Or, select URL to manually enter a new URL. 


You can choose a single page or add multiple pages to create seamless messaging across a funnel.

Step 2. Choose your audiences

Next, decide who will see your campaign. Later, you create a personalized experience for each audience with the Editor.

Select the Search for Audiences drop-down. Click () to add any existing audiences to your campaign. Or, click Create New Audience and build a new audience.


Prioritize experiences for each audience

After you add your audiences to the campaign, rank them by priority. Drag your audiences in order so that the most important ones are at the top. 

If a single visitor qualifies for multiple audiences in Web Personalization, they will see only one experience by default.

For example, in the image below, a visitor from Belgium who is also a non-Optimizely account holder would see the "Belgium Visitors" experience first because the "Belgium Visitors" experience is ranked higher than "Non-Optimizely Account Holders."


After you save your campaign, you can re-prioritize your experiences by clicking Prioritize Experiences


From this interface, drag and drop the experiences to control which visitors are bucketed into which experiences. You can also group experiences together by dragging one on top of another. 

When you group experiences, Optimizely Web Personalization will randomly select one of the two to bucket visitors into.


See the strategies to prioritize experiences for visitors in a campaign. 

To show multiple, overlapping experiences to a single visitor, see multi-threaded campaigns.

Target a campaign to multiple audiences at once

To target a campaign to multiple audiences at once, follow these steps:

  1. Create your campaign as normal, then save it. Use one of the audiences that you would like to target in your campaign.

  2. After you save your campaign, the Manage Campaign screen appears. Click ... in the top right, then Settings.

  3. You will now be back in the Campaign Builder. Under the Audiences header, add each of the audiences you want to match at once. From the Match drop-down above, select Match all audiences who should see this experiment.

  4. Click Save.

Aside from Match any audience (the default setting) and Match all audiences (which lets you use multiple audiences to target a campaign), you can use the Advanced code editor option to create a custom audience using JSON.

Create a multi-armed bandit Personalization campaign

For more information on multi-armed bandit (MAB) campaigns, see Maximize lift with multi-armed bandit optimizations.

To create a multi-armed bandit Personalization campaign:

  1. Create your campaign as normal, then save it.
  2. Under Manage Campaign, click Experiences.
  3. At the top right, click ... and then click Settings.
  4. Expand the Distribution Mode dropdown list and select Multi-armed Bandit.
  5. Click Save Experience.

Step 3. Add a metric

How will you measure success in your test? Choose the events that best capture how your experiences perform. In Personalization, events are attached to your page and tracked all the time. Once you add them to a campaign, they are called metrics.

Select the Search and add metrics drop-down to choose one primary metric and up to five secondary metrics.


The primary metric should measure the action that your campaign is most likely to impact. Optimizely's Stats Engine uses false discovery rate control to ensure your most important metric reaches statistical significance with full speed and accuracy.

Step 4. Set a holdback

Every Personalization campaign has a holdback: a percentage of your visitors will not see the personalized experience. This allows Stats Engine to measure how well your campaign is performing.

Personalization sets the holdback at 5% by default. To change the holdback, click the field and enter the percentage of visitors you would like to show the original experience. Learn more about holdback.


Then, click Create Campaign.


Here is how your “Premium Duffel Bag” campaign that personalizes a duffel bag product detail page for three audiences should appear. 



Step 5. Create experiences

Use the Editor to create your personalized experiences. An experience is the intersection of an audience and a page, where you will deliver a targeted message.

  1. In the Experiences tab, click a variation to begin customizing it in the Editor.


  2. To make a change, click an element on the Page.

    The sidebar shows you the HTML and CSS for the container you selected. Simply modify these elements to create a personalized message. Click Undo to return to the last saved version.


    Click Save to keep your changes.
  3. Preview your Experience to make sure it looks and works the way you like.


  4. Repeat these steps to create a personalized experience for each Audience.

Step 6. Test and publish

When you created your experiences, test your campaign. Use the Preview tool to view the campaign live internally without showing it to your visitors.

When the campaign is ready, click Start Campaign to release it live to your customers.


You will be asked to confirm that you are ready to start your campaign.


Experiment with your Personalization campaign

After you complete your campaign, you may want to test different variations of an experience for a specific audience. See Experimentation in Personalization campaigns for more.