Optimizely Moves Beyond Web And Mobile Testing With New Personalization Tools

Optimizely has become synonymous with A/B testing, but founder and CEO Dan Siroker told me years ago that his vision went beyond testing out different variations of websites (and now mobile apps) — ultimately, Optimizely should allow any online publisher to deliver a personalized experience to their users.

Well, the company is actually announcing that big push into personalization today, with a product rather predictably called Optimizely Personalization.

Vice President of Product Wyatt Jenkins (who joined from Shutterstock) told me that personalization makes sense as a next step for Optimizely customers.

“After you start to do A/B testing, the natural next progression in the mindset of the user is to not only test different hypotheses but also to realize that my product should be many things to many people,” Jenkins said.

That’s something the big digital companies like Amazon, Facebook and Netflix have embraced. Optimizely’s goal, he said, is to make those kinds of capabilities available to businesses that don’t have “thousands of engineers to work on the problem.”

Jenkins broke down the new personalization capabilities into four main categories.

First, there’s connecting data, which means using a company data about their customers, as well as pulling information from services like BlueKai, Tealium and Lotame. Next comes discovering audiences — Optimizely recommends different audience segments that companies can target with different personalized experiences.

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Third, there’s optimizing experiences, which is where you actually create the different pages that the various segments will see. And last, there’s understanding impact, which means looking at the data to determine if your personalization actually leads to more engagement or purchases or whatever you’re looking for.

As an example, Jenkins showed me the interface for an online retailer, which could pull weather data from Skymosity, then display different products to users depending on their location, like showing waterproof clothing to people who are in cities where it’s raining. The whole process took a few minutes and required zero coding — like the company’s existing tools, Optimizely Personalization can be used by marketers without help from developers.

Optimizely plans to start a limited beta test soon, with a full launch coming in the fall. Jenkins also said that over time, people will create more and more targeted, personalized experience, which will probably require more automation — though he thinks “human creativity” will always be an important part of the process.

“When I think about the future of personalization, I imagine it being a workflow tool,” he said. “People are going to start to manage lots of complex features and functions because they’re getting lift from it.”

You can learn more in this company blog post.