Skip to main content

We are currently experiencing an issue that is preventing customers from submitting support tickets. Please contact us at (866) 819-4486 if you need immediate assistance.

Optimizely Knowledge Base

QA: Use the Preview tool in Optimizely X Web

This article is about Optimizely X. If you're using Optimizely Classic, check this article out instead.
Relevant products:
  • Optimizely X Web Experimentation
  • Optimizely X Web Personalization
  • Optimizely X Web Recommendations

  • Preview the experiences and functionality of a campaign in Optimizely X Web
  • QA and debug a campaign
  • Make sure that events are firing correctly

Once you've made changes to your site experience in an experiment or campaign, the Preview tool helps you to make sure they look as you'd expect. 

In Optimizely X, the Preview tool uses a combination of query string parameters to show you a specific experiment and variation (or campaign and experience. Use it to:

  • Navigate across your site in preview mode, without publishing changes to visitors
  • View your experiences as different audiences
  • Check that events are firing correctly
  • View published or draft changes 
  • Share 

If you'd like to QA a live experiment or campaign and share it internal stakeholders, consider setting a test cookie instead.

Launch the Preview tool

Once you're done building your campaign, use the Preview tool to QA its appearance and functionality. Here's how to launch the Preview tool.

The Preview tool provides a granular view of your entire campaign. Use it to debug and QA, before you publish. This is different from the Preview button in the Editor, which shows the visual changes you made to an experience. 

  1. In the Campaigns Overview tab, select the campaign you'd like to QA.

  2. In the Manage Campaign sidebar, click QA Campaign. This will launch a live preview of your campaign in a new tab with the Preview tool module.

  3. The () icon allows you to drag the module around the screen. Use it to move the module if it's covering a part of the site you'd like to QA.

    The Preview tool includes three views: Currently Viewing, Override, and Feed.

    Click the () icon to view these as tabs. You'll use these to QA the functionality of your campaign. We'll walk you through each, below.

Currently Viewing tab

The Currently Viewing tab helps you identify the campaign and experience that you're currently previewing. You'll also see the audience that you're viewing the experience as.

Use this tab to keep tabs on the experience and audience you're viewing, as you QA.

The Draft Changes dropdown allows you to toggle between two views:

  • Show will include both published and draft changes
  • Hide shows you only published changes

Click to select the view you'd prefer to see.

Override tab

The Override tab allows you to select the audience you'll view the campaign as. Use this tab to QA each individual experience in your campaign, by audience.

Here's how to switch between audiences in the Override tab:

  1. Click the Browse for Audience field.

  2. Select an audience from the dropdown. You'll now see view the experience for that audience.

Feed tab

The Feed tab shows a running list of events as they are triggered in your campaign. Use it to debug the functionality of your campaign. 

Use the Feed tab to check that: 

  • Click, pageview, and custom events are triggered the way you expect

  • Pages (URL patterns where your experiment runs) activate at the right times

  • Campaigns activate for the right audiences

Campaign events show you when a campaign is activated on a page, as you navigate.

Page events show you when the URL targeting of a page is activated.

For example, imagine you've created a page that uses URL targeting to match multiple product detail pages. When a visitor navigates to any one of those pages, the page event will fire. If you've created a second page that targets an individual product detail page, that page event will fire separately when a visitor sees it. Two separate page events would appear in your feed. 

Metrics in the feed show when a click event, pageview event, or custom event is fired on the page. Use it to ensure that the events you attached to your experiment are tracking correctly.

Imagine that you've set a click event on the Call-to-Action (CTA) on your Homepage. If you click the CTA in Preview mode, you'll see the event in your feed.

You can also filter the feed for a more granular view. Click the campaign () icon, page () icon, or metric () icon to see only those events.

Events in the feed are triggered through the same code paths as in a live campaign, but no GET request is sent across the network.

How the Preview tool works

Preview mode adds a preview token to your URL:?optimizely_token=<token>. This token is generated by Optimizely to ensure that only users with access to the Optimizely project can preview the non-live campaign(s).

Use the Share Link

The Share Link feature helps you share unpublished variations and experiences with internal stakeholders.

Here's how to use it:

  1. Navigate to the specific variation or experience that you'd like to share.

  2. Click the Preview dropdown and select Share Link.

  3. This opens the particular variation or experience in a new browser window. Copy and share the link to show the variation or experience to others. 

Use the Cross-Browser Test

As part of validating that your experiment is set up correctly, you should confirm that your visual changes display correctly in all browsers. Use our cross browser testing service (provided by to load your page and take screenshots in the major desktop and mobile browsers. 

Here's how to create a cross-browser test: 

  1. Navigate to the specific variation or experience that you'd like to share.

  2. Click the Preview dropdown and select Cross-browser Test.

This opens a window that loads your experience in the major browsers, including:

  • Internet Explorer
  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Android
  • Mobile Safari