Skip to main content

Everything you need to learn Optimizely X in one place: See our resource pages for Web Experimentation and Personalization.

Optimizely Knowledge Base

Get Started with Optimizely X Web Personalization

This article is about Optimizely X. If you're using Optimizely Classic, check this article out instead.
  • Implement one line of code to run Optimizely on your site
  • Get quick optimization ideas to start creating your first experiment
  • Use six key steps to build a great A/B test

Optimizely X Web Personalization helps you deliver targeted experiences to different visitors to your site based on their behaviors, in real time. You can use personalization to create a user experience that feels unique and highly relevant, as a tool to increase conversions or 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’ll use these behaviors alongside data from other resources to create audiences.

Once you’ve defined the audiences you want to personalize for and the pages where you’ll deliver that messaging, you’ll create campaigns. Campaigns allow you to deliver personalized experiences to different audiences on each page.

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

In order to begin using personalization, you'll first have to walk through several steps of setup, which are described below.

1. Implement the snippet

If you haven't done so already, begin by implementing the Optimizely snippet. The snippet is simply a single line of JavScript code added to your site's <head> tag, and it enables Optimizely experiments to run on your site. For more information on how to implement the snippet, check out this article. And for details on the appropriate way to configure your snippet, just click here.

2. Prepare Optimizely X for your site

In order to maximize the value that Optimizely X brings to your testing and experimentation program, you'll want to be sure to set up powerful features like pages, events, tags and audiences.

Pages are URL templates that let you choose where campaigns and experiments run. You'll use them to tell Optimizely where to deliver experiments, personalized experiences, and recommendations 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 your visitors’ behavior. 

Audiences are groups of visitors to whom you'll show an experiment or personalized experience. With Personalization, you can use pages, tags, and audiences together to create a 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 an overview of preparing Optimizely X for your site, see this article.

3. Manage collaborators, projects and experiments

In Optimizely X, users are called collaborators, and each type of collaborator has a different permissions level:

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

Put some thought into how you assign Optimizely permissions for your organization. To learn more about managing collaborators in Optimizely X, check out this article.

Meanwhile, projects let you subdivide your Optimizely account into little territories: for different sections of a website, multiple sites, or different products. They act as an organizational structure within Optimizely. Each project has its own: snippet, set of experiments, and set of collaborators. For more detail on projects, just see this article.

4. Create a personalization campaign

Once you've taken care of all the setup requirements described above, you can dive right into creating your first personalization campaign. This will usually involve 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 or not.
  4. Set a holdback, which is 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 Editor.
  6. Finally, QA your campaign, and publish it when it's ready.

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

Ideas for personalization campaigns

One common use for personalization in Optimizely is customizing a user's experience to capitalize on the content of pages they've already visited. For example, let's say you've noticed that visitors will often return to your home page after viewing individual product pages. You could set up an experiment in which a banner on your home page displays an image and text combination specifically designed to remind the user of the product they've just seen, and to 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 users in different markets.