Optimizely Review: system works best if you know jQuery

May 24, 2013

optimizelyWe’ve been using Optimizely for several months now to A/B test new ideas and features on Cash4Books.net. It’s been useful for us to test things like:

  • Above the fold content changes (tagline tweaks, for example, regarding our FREE shipping).
  • Different button colors and sizes.
  • Placement and rearrangement of various items above the fold (TV commercial, versus media mentions, versus special one time offers, versus testimonials, and so on).
  • Size and placement of the ISBN box.
  • Affiliate info placement and banners.
  • Marketing promotions.  Want to know if that Cash4Books giveaway actually increases engagement and transactions?  Now we know!
  • New features.  Want to know if price matching or offering a guarantee will increase transactions? Now we know!

When you start setting up your tests, what it is actually doing behind the scenes is creating a jQuery script. This script runs on page load, and modifies your variation pages on the fly.  It’s a cool setup, and as the title of this blog post says, I’ve found that it works best if you know jQuery. I happen to have a fair amount of experience with jQuery, so it’s made Optimizely a better experience for me.  If someone was just using the WYSIWYG editor, it may not be as good of an end result, and the code Optimizely produces can be hairball-ish, if you’re not in the code editor watching what it’s doing.

And, the price of all this?  I’d say it’s fair and reasonable.  For a set price, you are allotted so much traffic to pass through your A/B test.  If you start going over your allotment you can either upgrade to the next package, or pay a small per-visitor overage fee.

Here are three things I personally love about Optimizely:

  1. A lot of options on targeting are available.  You can run your test for all, new, or returning visitors. There are also a lot of options for what URL will trigger the test.  This adds a lot of flexibility. It can be very simple, or as complex as you want it.
  2. Cross browser testing component is pretty awesome.  They’ve partnered with crossbrowsertesting.com and you can test all your variations before they go live.  It even shows you how it looks on mobile.
  3. Experiment goals is very flexible.  I’ve set up goals to track revenue, if they’ve reached certain pages, submitted a transaction, registered, clicked certain buttons, and so on.  Pretty much any goal you can think of is possible.

Here’s some info from Optimizely’s website:

Say goodbye to technical bottlenecks and hello to actionable data

When its time to take action and make changes to your site, there is no replacement for dedicated technical resources – in most organizations, these resources are hard to come by and typically demand waiting in line. Optimizely acts as your on-demand technical team, with technology that turns your creative changes into instantly generated and deployed code.

Bring thousands of optimization ideas to life in minutes

After inserting a single line of code generated by Optimizely into your HTML, you never have to touch the code base again – from there, you have instant testing capability, and any variation you create can be live to your visitors within minutes.

Track what matters to you

Track engagement, clicks, conversions, sign ups, or anything else that matter to you and your business. Optimizely’s custom goal tracking provides an endless range of measurable actions that you can define. Just tell Optimizely what to measure, and we will do the rest.

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