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Six steps to create a campaign in Optimizely Web Personalization

This article will help you:
  • Set up your first campaign in Optimizely Web Personalization
  • 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’ll create a new campaign for each section of the site where you want to deliver targeted experiences.

Haven’t set up pages, events, tags, or audiences yet? You may want to do that first. Once you do, you'll be able to reuse those elements to quickly build new campaigns.

Not sure where to start with personalization? Check out these personalization strategy essentials or find inspiration for campaigns.

Start a new campaign

To create a new campaign, navigate to the Experiments > Create New... > Personalization Campaign.


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

1. Add pages

First, tell Optimizely where your campaign will run. Pages are the places on your site where you'll deliver targeted experiences.

Click () to add any existing pages to your campaign. Or, click Create New Page and set up a new page.

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

2. Choose your audiences

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

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 Personalization, they'll see only one experience by default.

For example, in the image below, a visitor from Belgium who is both 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've saved your campaign, you can re-prioritize your experiences by clicking the Prioritize Experiences button. 

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 will randomly select one of the two to bucket visitors into.

Do you want to learn the strategies to prioritize experiences for visitors in a campaign? Read the linked article to find out more. 

Do you want to show multiple, overlapping experiences to a single visitor? Learn more about 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, you'll be on the Manage Campaign screen. Click the ... button in the top right, then Settings.

  3. You'll now be back in the Campaign Builder. Under the Audiences header, add each of the audiences you want to match at once. From the dropdown above, select Match all audiences.

  4. Save, and now you'll have a combined audience to use for targeting.

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 Custom option to create a custom audience using JSON.

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're called metrics.

Click () 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 make sure your most important metric reaches statistically significance with full speed and accuracy.

4. Set a holdback

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

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

Then, click Create Campaign.

Ready to see it all together? Here’s how you would create a “Premium Duffel Bag” campaign that personalizes a duffel bag product detail page for three audiences. Please note how we've ordered the audiences so that a visitor who qualifies for both “5x Buyers” and “Luxury Travelers” would see the “5x Buyers” experience in this campaign.

5. Create experiences

Now, use the Optimizely Editor to create your personalized experiences. An experience is the intersection of an audience and a page, where you’ll deliver a targeted message.

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

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 the Undo arrow to go back to the last saved version.

In the example below, we use the Code Editor to add a 10% promotional offer above the Add to Cart button for "5x Buyers." 


Click Save to keep your changes.

Preview your Experience to make sure it looks and works the way you like.


Repeat this step to create a personalized experience for each Audience.

6. QA and publish

Once you’ve created all of your experiences, QA your campaign. Use the Preview tool to view the campaign live internally without showing it to your visitors.

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

Optimizely will ask you to confirm that you're ready to publish your campaign live to the world.

Congratulations! You've successfully created a campaign that delivers behaviorally-targeted, personalized messaging to your visitors!

Experiment on your Personalization campaign

After you complete your campaign, you may want to test different variations of an experience for a specific audience. You can do this in Optimizely.

Learn more in our article about Experimentation in Personalization campaigns.