Experiment With Optimizely

Monday, November 26, 2018
Jenni Stablein

Ever tried hanging a piece of art by yourself? It’s awkward to test out a frame on a wall when you can’t look back and see the results for yourself. Wouldn’t it be great if side-by-side, you could compare one orientation to another?

Optimizely, an experimentation platform, could be the solo art hanger’s best friend, but instead, the company focuses on the web, providing a tool that compares two versions of a web page so that companies can better optimize customer experience.

Experimentation is all about being open to ‘this way or that’.

For example, there are an insurmountable amount of ways a piece of art can be oriented on a wall. The average person relies on intuition. However, even with impeccable intuition, a frame can always be positioned a little bit to the left, or a little bit more to the right. Higher, lower, etc. Minute changes, perhaps, but big decisions. Testing every which way will produce the best results.

Now apply that to a user’s digital experience. Website copy, headlines, images, color variants – all minute details that play into a much larger picture. Is your customer enjoying their experience? What’s the best way to market a new feature? Will users come back for more? Will they share their experience with their friends?

These are all probabilities companies want to have control over. Optimizely provides the tool for optimum experimentation.  

A/B testing for ideation

Optimzely’s sharpest tool in the shed is known as A/B testing, an experiment where two or more versions of a page are shown to a user at random. By running statistical analysis on the experiment, Optimizely can then determine which version the user responds to more positively.

While there are several analytics platforms out there, what makes Optimizely stand out is the company's ability to seamlessly run both tests and ideas across marketing and product teams.

The company provides a platform for teams to ideate. Essentially a framework for every member of a company to ask a question, suggest solutions, or simply inquire how each step of the design, marketing, or product development process can impact their website.

A/B testing gathers all the statistics and provides the data to deliberate. As Michael Alley, Senior Product Manager at StubHub and customer of Optimizely, puts it, “experimentation really puts everyone on an equal playing field and allows them to help stack their ideas against other people’s ideas.”

What the platform really offers is a tool to empower teams to work together for significantly improved customer satisfaction.

Making life easier

Launching new features or proposing redesigns can be intimating, overwhelming and totally nervewracking.

Where teams would regularly be ready to pull their hair out, that’s the moment where Optimizely steps in.

By running experiments through A/B testing, a company has the opportunity to test different, or entirely new, versions of a webpage without impacting the performance of their customers. That means early feedback, a better-defined roadmap, and optimized search results.

Knowing early on whether or not you are building the right product for your customer saves companies a whole lot of time and money, and leaves team members with a much fuller head of hair.

The A/B testing tool is so handy, it almost seems to good to be true. It’s hard not to wish it could be applied to all decision-making scenarios in life. Like all that art hanging we’ve been talking about, or maybe which job offer to take, or perhaps simply deciding between a classic Big Mac or a Double Quarter Pounder. Wouldn’t it be great if you could run an A/B test to see which one would play out better for you?

So how does it all work?

Optimizely is made possible by the democratization of software development. Gone are the days of RTFM (‘read the f*cking manual), an expression reserved for newbie software developers, or anyone trying to use legacy enterprise software. Forget the manual! The democratization of software means the specialist is removed and the software is so user-friendly that anyone can figure it out.

The man behind the plan is Dan Siroker, who founded the company back in 2009. A pro at analytics, Siroker is a Google alumnus and Y Combinator graduate. Plus, he was Director of Analytics for Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, so you know he’s successful.

The idea for Optimizely started back when Siroker was at Google after he received some advice from a mentor about how to pitch a controversial idea, “just run an experiment.”

One experiment led to another and now there’s Optimizely, which Siroker believes is not only democratizing software development but is democratizing the entire scientific method of experimentation.

While Siroker maintains an Executive Chairman position, last year he appointed Jay Larson as the new CEO of the company. Larson pushes the company forward claiming Optimizely is “powering a digital revolution.”

Grandiose claims, yes. But the company continues to prove they have the stuff to back it up.

Their product team solutions offer a ton of features like pushing live updates or hotfixes without the need for code, validating the impact of new features, performance improvements, or backend changes before official release, and the ability to export experiment data in your company's personal analytics or BI system.

Marketing team solutions provide team members with the ability to experiment with different copy variations and imagery without having to write a single line of code. Plus, marketing teams can experiment with sites across devices to drive more conversions.

Whether it's marketing ideas or product tweaks, Optimizely allows you to touch every customer touch point.  

Optimizely fans 

From the gaming to E-commerce industry and several other industries in between, Optimizely has a diverse range of clients to prove their experimentation works.

Revolve Clothing, an online-only retailer, engaged their multi-channel shopper with a mobile app acquisition campaign that increased mobile app downloads by a whopping 350%. The company tested out two web page variations directing users to their mobile app. The original, a modest banner-style ad vs. an aggressive, slash-page.

After testing the second variant, the team hypothesized the aggressive approach would do the trick. They were right. And with a 350% increase in downloads, the company is able to provide an improved customer experience through more personalized and relevant shopping suggestions.

Optimizely’s impressive customer roster goes on with some pretty huge names: IBM, BBC, Atlassian, and The Guardian, to name a few.

Today, over 700 billion customer experiences have been tailored and delivered by marketers, developers, and product managers using the Optimizely platform.

So why not run a test? After all, experimentation is where all the fun is at.

Optimizely offers separate Essentials, Business, and Enterprise plans for marketing and product development teams. Or, combine Optimizely Web with Optimizely Full Stack for a fully integrated experimentation platform to drive maximum value for your business.