Optimizely started off as an A/B testing tool and is seen as the leading experimentation platform. Optimizely is everybody’s target competitor in this business. It is often referred to as “the industry standard”.
Businesses can create experiments and personalized experiences across multiple channels such as websites, mobile apps and connected devices.This is especially useful for large companies with lots of channels.
Optimizely is mostly used for its A/B testing capabilities, but personalization is also common. Optimizely claims 700 billion experiences that their users provided to their customers. These experiences are tailored by marketers, developers and product managers.
Keep in mind: Optimizely’s free Starter Plan is being discontinued as of 28 February 2018. So, if you were hoping to use Optimizely, be prepared to contact the sales team or look elsewhere.
To get started, you need to add the Optimizely code snippet to your website. Optimizely provides a synchronously loaded snippet that needs to be placed in the head tag of the page by your IT people.
Web-based Email (depends on plan), Phone (depends on plan).
- Multivariate testing: change multiple variables while testing a hypothesis
- Recommendation engine: setup recommendations and test out different algorithms
- Stats engine: find out the possibility of a variation leading to more conversions or not
- Analytics and heatmap integrations: analyze the behaviour of your site visitors
- Advanced audience targeting: use your own business data to target audiences
- Custom results segmentation: set custom conditions for segmentation
- IP address targeting: test and target based on IP addresses
- Unlimited collaborators: add as many collaborators as you wish
- Enhanced security controls: use security measurements like 2-step verification etc.
- Experiment Scheduler: schedule times for your experiments to start and stop
Our respondents were particularly happy with the following features.
- Optimizely is trusted as a big name in the business and possibly the market leader.
- Competes well with Adobe Target and other enterprise level testing tools.
- Offers extensive community and academy for getting the most from the tool.
- Optimizely can prioritize experiences when a user qualifies for more than one.
- Strong in editing pages using the snippet technology.
The following caveats were mentioned in the survey results.
- You need to invest significant time and effort into the testing features.
- It is often heavy on the IT, you will need development skills and time to get the most out of it.
- Set-up test wizard makes it too simple – it doesn’t highlight key test functionality well.
- It is difficult to preview A/B test variations easily and quickly.
- It is one more place to concentrate data, instead of using existing ones.
- You will need a bigger package than initially expected, to get valuable results.
- The service is relatively expensive.
The verdict about Optimizely
Optimizely is still the market leader in the testing and personalization industry. It is a good product overall, which is why it is one of our editor's picks and among the most popular choices in the survey.
Due to its tech-heaviness and high cost, it is best suited for advanced testers at the enterprise level. Since their free plan is being sunsetted, it is no longer suited for small and medium companies that lack the time and resources to get Optimizely up and running.
While Optimizely is a significant competitor in the personalization area, many of its customers seem to be focused on its testing abilities. Similar to what we see happen at VWO and other companies that were previously busy selling A/B testing, this leads a focus on testing as a data-driven approach to personalization - which requires traffic volumes that are well out of reach for all but the largest companies.
However, if you do have the data and the traffic to get solid results, Optimizely may well be your best bet in the market. We like it.
There are many other companies that can help you create tailor-made experiences on your website! Take a look at our other favorites here.