Set up visitor groups for personalization and segments

  • Updated

Personalization is about customizing content for specific individuals or target groups. A simple way of personalizing content in Optimizely is to use visitor groups. This built-in functionality uses information like cookies and device IDs to group website visitors in visitor groups. You can use these visitor groups when deciding which content to display.

Visitor groups are managed in Optimizely CMS, and can be used for personalization in other parts of the Optimizely platform, such as Optimizely Commerce.

For even more powerful and granular personalization, you can use Optimizely Visitor Intelligence.Optimizely Visitor Intelligence tracks online visitor behavior and stores user profiles in a database. From this data, you can create a segment which is a collection of user profiles filtered out based on some criteria, such as visits to a specific page on your website or visitors from a specific location. You can also create a segment consisting of visitors matching a specific visitor group.

You can then use the segments with profile data when personalizing content or setting up marketing campaigns, for example, email campaigns using Optimizely Campaign.

Visitor group scenarios

The following scenarios describe typical actions needed to set up visitor groups that can be used in different parts of the Optimizely platform.

Create visitor groups

Administrators can create visitor groups based on many different types of criteria; for example, number of visits to a specific page, or a geographic location. A number of criteria are included by default in Optimizely CMS, see Built-in visitor group criteria for a list of those. Developers can also create their own criteria through code, see Optimizely World.

See Managing visitor groups in the Administration interface section for how to create visitor groups.

Image: Create Visitor Group dialog box

Apply visitor groups to content

Visitor groups can be applied to content such as a block, which will then only be displayed to visitors matching the defined criteria for the visitor group.

For example, you can show one price for all visitors browsing to your website from the UK, another price for visitors from the US, and a third price for all other visitors:

Image: Example of personalized content

You can preview your page as it would look to different visitor groups.


See Personalizing with visitor groups in the Optimizely Personalization section for how to apply visitor groups to content.

Use visitor groups for targeted discounts

You can also use visitor groups for targeted discounts in Optimizely Commerce campaigns. You can create a visitor group called Returning customers, and set the visitor group criteria to Order Frequency: Ordered at least 2 times within the last 45 days.

Image: Example of order frequency criterion

You can then use this visitor group in the Personalization part of the Edit Campaign view when creating a campaign. This will make the campaign only available to customers that have made purchases at least twice within the last 45 days.

Image: Edit campaign view

See Creating a campaign in the Commerce section for how to set up Commerce campaigns.

Create a visitor group from a segment

If you are using Optimizely Visitor Intelligence, you have access to profile data which lets you personalize content on a very granular level by setting up a visitor group that uses an Optimizely Visitor Intelligence segment as a criterion. The segment can be set up to filter out all visitors from France who are identified with their email addresses and have visited your site within the last month. You can combine this segment with other visitor group criteria, such as visits to the product pages "A" and "B", and then personalize your website content for all users matching this visitor group specifically.

Image: Example of creating visitor group with segment as criterion

To do this, you need to create a segment in Optimizely Visitor Intelligence and make it available to the visitor groups functionality. See Creating a marketing segment in the Optimizely Visitor Intelligence section.

Image: Create a Segment From Filter dialog box

You then need to create a visitor group and add the segment as a criterion. See Administering visitor groups in the CMS administrator section.

Image: Adding a segment as criterion in visitor group

Create segments using visitor groups

If you are using Optimizely Visitor Intelligence, you can not only create visitor groups using segments, you can also create segments using visitor groups. In this case, Optimizely Visitor Intelligence tracks and stores when visitors are part of a visitor group. You can create a segment using this information, which in turn can be used when creating mailing campaigns in Optimizely Campaign.

As an example, if you have a visitor group that filters out all users from France who have visited or your product page "A" during a specific day, Optimizely Visitor Intelligence stores this data and you can create a segment in Optimizely Visitor Intelligence that tracks data from this visitor group. Together with Optimizely Visitor Intelligence data such as the visitors' email addresses, you can use the segment to target all your French visitors who visited your product page on Black Friday in a mailing campaign. See Creating a marketing segment in the Optimizely Visitor Intelligence section.

A developer needs to set up tracking for the specific visitor groups to become available for selection in the Optimizely Visitor Intelligence profile filtering. See Visitor group tracking on Optimizely World.

Image: Example of segment using a visitor group