What is Optimizely and How It Can Boost Your Marketing Results

11 Jan, 2024

Learn how this tool can help drive more revenue for your brand through effective split testing, multi-variate testing, AI recommendations and more.

What is Optimizely and How It Can Boost Your Marketing Results

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Welcome to the world of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), where the battle for digital supremacy is won or lost in the blink of an eye. In this fast-paced landscape, staying ahead means embracing change, taking risks, and being ready to pivot at a moment's notice. It's like being in a high-stakes game show, but instead of winning a car or a vacation, you're vying for the ultimate prize: a higher conversion rate.

In this article, we are going to talk about a game-changer: Optimizely. Kind of like Tiger Woods of the CRO world—making historic moves, ending partnerships, and paving the way for a new era of marketing excellence. So, what exactly is Optimizely, and how can it take your CRO game to the next level? Buckle up as we dive into the world of optimization, experimentation, and a touch of marketing magic. 

The Importance of CRO

You might think CRO sounds about as exciting as walking face-first into a swarm of bees. But hear us out. CRO is all about getting more bang for your marketing bucks by improving how many website visitors convert into customers.

Think of it like a high-stakes game show where instead of winning a flashy new car, you're taking home cold hard cash. By boosting conversion rates, companies can directly fatten their wallets and get better returns on their marketing spend. It's kind of like finding free money - who wouldn't want that?

But CRO isn't just about raking in more revenue. It also gives you insider intel about where your customer experience needs a makeover. By peeking into the data, you can see exactly where people are bouncing from your site and fix the sticking points.

And finally, CRO helps align your marketing to what matters most - your business goals. It ensures you're putting attention on the right metrics that will actually move the needle on growth.


What is Optimizely

Optimizely is like a supercharged engine for next-level digital experiences. It's an all-in-one experimentation and personalization platform that can take your website optimization to daring new heights.

Created in 2010 by former Google engineers, Optimizely has become a leader in experience optimization. As of 2023, it powers over 1 trillion annual digital interactions!

The Optimizely platform equips you with the tools to thoroughly test and refine every aspect of your customer journey. We're talking personalized content, innovative designs, emotionally-intelligent interactions - the works!

At its core, Optimizely enables you to:

  • Run A/B tests 📊 to see which webpage versions perform best

  • Personalize content 🎯 to connect with specific audience segments

  • Analyze data 🕵️‍♀️ and customer behavior to pinpoint friction points

  • Continuously experiment 🧪 and iterate to improve metrics

It's like having a master optimization strategist at your fingertips 24/7.

Our Favorite Optimizely Features

Optimizely packs a ton of powerful features into one robust experimentation platform. Here are some of our most-used ones:

👉 A/B Testing

One of Optimizely's core strengths lies in its robust A/B testing functionalities. This platform makes it easy for anyone to thoroughly test and optimize different aspects of their customer experience. For the uninitiated, A/B testing enables you to create different variations of a page and determine which performs best. You can experiment with all kinds of elements - page layouts, headlines, images, calls-to-action, and more.Optimizely equips you with the tools to set up and run A/B tests seamlessly right within its intuitive interface. All you need to do is:

  • Identify the page you want to experiment on and the specific elements to vary

  • Use Optimizely's visual editor to create different versions of those page elements

  • Set up the test by defining the goal, audience, and duration

  • Launch the A/B test and let Optimizely handle splitting the traffic evenly across variants

  • Monitor the test results in real-time as the data pours in

  • Declare a winner when the test reaches statistical significance

Optimizely makes it simple to test hypotheses and determine what resonates best with your audiences. And its robust segmentation tools allow you to optimize experiences for different user groups.

But it gets even better...Optimizely's advanced algorithms require fewer test participants to reach actionable results. This means you can iterate faster through more experiments to maximize impact. By continually testing and refining page elements over time, you can compound gains through optimization. It's an incredibly powerful methodology for boosting conversions and revenue.


👉 Multi-Variate Testing

While A/B testing is incredibly powerful, Optimizely also offers more advanced multivariate testing. This method enables you to test multiple variables simultaneously to uncover deeper insights.The key differences between A/B and multivariate testing are:

  • A/B tests: compare two variants of a single element at a time (e.g., two homepage headlines)

  • Multivariate tests: test multiple elements concurrently (e.g., headline, images, and call-to-action)

By testing combinations of changes, multivariate testing reveals more context into the interplay between elements. You can pinpoint which specific variables drive impact.

For example, while Version A of a headline might perform best overall, a multivariate test could reveal it actually decreases conversion rates when combined with a specific hero image. Those granular insights inform smarter optimization decisions.

The tradeoff is that multivariate testing has greater complexity in setup and analysis. But Optimizely's platform makes it easy to reap the benefits without getting overwhelmed.

With Optimizely's hybrid approach, you can blend both A/B and multivariate testing to balance speed and insights. Use A/B testing to iterate quickly, then leverage multivariate for deeper discovery once the concept is refined. 

👉 Personalization Tools

Optimizely makes it a breeze to create personalized experiences that resonate with your customers. Its robust personalization engine equips you with the capabilities to:

  • 👍 Deliver Targeted Messaging: Send customized messaging to specific user segments based on their behaviors and interests. For example, target high-value customers with exclusive offers.

  • 💡 Personalize Website Content: Dynamically change website content to align with individual visitor preferences. Tailor product recommendations, landing pages, and more.

  • ✉️ Craft Relevant Email Campaigns: Modify email content and calls to action to increase relevancy for each subscriber. Improve open and click-through rates.

  • 🤖 Blend AI and Human Intelligence: Combine machine learning-powered targeting with your own audience rules for greater sophistication. Identify high-value groups based on natural language inputs.

  • 🔁 Continually Experiment: Test variations of personalized content to determine what resonates best. Iterate and optimize over time.

  • 📊 Access Unified Customer Data: Create richer visitor profiles by connecting disparate data sources for a single view of each customer.

👉 Integration with Analytics

Optimizely plays nice with all the other kids in the sandbox when it comes to analytics. It seamlessly integrates with popular platforms like Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, and more to give you the full 360° view.

So, while running experiments is super fun, integrating analytics takes it up a notch. You get the complete picture to confidently make optimization decisions that align with business outcomes. 

👉 AI-Powered Recommendations

Optimizely’s product recommendations tap into the power of artificial intelligence to connect visitors with relevant products and content. The platform analyzes behavioral and transactional data to build rich customer profiles. Sophisticated machine learning algorithms then identify patterns and product affinities to serve up personalized suggestions. As the sources explain, these types of AI-powered recommendations create value for businesses by:

  • Increasing order values by inspiring complementary or higher-priced purchases

  • Simplifying the shopping experience by surfacing products people want

  • Boosting profitability by driving more on-site conversions

And Optimizely puts the controls in your hands. You can fine-tune the recommendations to align with merchandising strategies and test different placement variations. So while the tech may sound complex, the benefit is simple - showcasing the right products to the right people at the right time. And that translates to real revenue growth.

How Much Does Optimizely Cost:

Optimizely has moved away from publicly listing prices, so getting an exact dollar figure is tricky. Their pricing model is now customized based on each customer's unique needs and traffic levels. But here are some ballpark numbers:

The smallest plan starts at around $36,000 annually and scales up to $200,000 depending on website traffic volume, SKUs, support level, and other configurations.

There are also onboarding costs that range from $5,000 to $15,000+ for initial setup and deployment. And volume-based fees kick in once you exceed your allotted impressions each month.

The two product tiers are Optimizely Web and Optimizely Full Stack. Web focuses specifically on experimentation and personalization for websites. Full Stack offers broader capabilities for product developers to test features across platforms. So in summary - the costs directly correlate to your needs and activity on the platform. But even an entry-level Optimizely plan requires a significant annual investment starting in the five figures. Whether the price tag is worthwhile depends on the potential revenue growth and customer experience gains.

How to Use Optimizely to Improve Performance

Experimentation and personalization platforms like Optimizely can impact site speed and performance if not implemented properly. Luckily, Optimizely offers robust capabilities to help optimize digital experiences without compromising speed. Here are key tips on using Optimizely to enhance performance:

  • Strategically place snippets to limit overhead. Only include on critical pages like checkout.

  • Leverage edge computing and CDN technology to reduce latency. Optimizely Performance Edge is purpose-built for speed.

  • Run performance tests to benchmark impacts before global launch. Address any issues.

  • For heavy UI changes, use Optimizely Feature Experimentation to test code directly.

  • Monitor site speed KPIs during tests to catch regressions immediately.

  • Enable asynchronous snippet loading to prevent blocking requests.

  • Use visual editor for quick changes rather than custom code when possible.

  • Follow Optimizely performance testing guidelines and troubleshooting steps.

  • Set up performance alerts and thresholds to be notified of decreases.

  • Utilize built-in caching capabilities to efficiently reuse content.

  • Review detailed speed test diagnostic reports in the platform.

The key is instrumenting experiments carefully and checking speed often. Optimizely makes it easy to iterate rapidly while optimizing conversion rates and site efficiency in parallel.

Closing Thoughts

In summary, conversion rate optimization is a pivotal yet often overlooked area of digital marketing. As discussed in this post, focusing on systematically improving conversion rates can directly fuel business growth by getting more value from your existing traffic and campaigns.

Platforms like Optimizely provide robust experimentation and personalization capabilities to help uncover opportunities to reduce friction and boost conversions. Combined with analytics integrations for richer data, they enable a test-and-learn approach to better meet customer needs.

However, running an effective CRO program takes strategic planning and technical expertise. If you need assistance getting started or want to take your efforts to the next level, DriftLead offers complimentary marketing plan consultations.

You can request a free marketing plan from DriftLead to evaluate your current conversion rates and identify areas for optimization.

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