To introduce you to the company I chose for my presentation, let’s start off by giving you the 5 W’s and H of Optimizely: (Hint: Use these if someone on our trip says to you, “So, tell me about Optimizely!”)
Who: Optimizely was founded by Pete Koomen and Dan Siroker, both ex-Google employees. Koomen was a product manager for Google’s App Engine and Siroker served as Director of Analytics for the first Obama campaign.
What: In short, Optimizely is an optimization software that provides a platform for A/B and multivariate (multiple variable) testing. Operating under a SaaS model, the service allows for experimentation with robust analytical results.
When: The company was founded in January 2010
Where: The company’s headquarters is in San Francisco, CA (duh!). They have other offices in Netherlands, Germany, the UK, and Australia.
Why: According to their website, by using Optimizely, companies can run, manage, and share ten times the number of experiments across marketing or product development teams.
How: Similar to Airbnb, Optimizely went through the Y Combinator program in early 2010.
Initial Angel Funding: $1.2 Million
Series A: $28 Million
Series B: $57 Million
Series C: $58 Million
Currently, there are two versions of Optimizely: Optimizely Classic (Free) and Optimizely X (Premium / Paid). Recently, the company announced it will be discontinuing Optimizely Classic, effective February 28, 2018. In other words, by the time we visit, only Optimizely X will be available.
On the website, Optimizely X is marketed so intensely that I had to conduct a separate Google Search just to find Optimizely Classic. Eventually, I found a small blog post that provides introductory information to users. Essentially, Optimizely Classic can only be used to analyze experiences using A/B testing. For experimentation, personalized experiences, recommendations across digital channels, and better technical support, Optimizely X is the way to go.
How Optimizely is used:
Regardless of which version you choose, the software is implemented by placing a snippet of code in your website’s or app’s code. Additionally, plugins exist for content management systems such as WordPress (!!!) or Shopify. Maybe we should install Optimizely Classic on this site to see if we can bring in more outside users!
Once the product is installed, Optimizely provides tips for users on how best to use their service. As we have learned, running experiments and collecting data for no strategic purpose does not provide value to a company. For that reason, Optimizely provides rich and diverse content on their site to exhibit their value as a software. This content is especially important for Classic customers thinking of making the switch to the X version. (And soon, they will have no choice).
Below is a graphic on how to create an experiment using Optimizely. Since we are not using the site and I may cover some of this material in my presentation next week, I will only speak to these steps at a high level.
To start, customers need to decide what variation on their site they want to make. For example, an E-commerce site, Attic & Button, decided to change the picture users saw on their home page, depending on the visitor’s location and style preferences. With a goal of increasing time users spent on their site, Attic & Button launched an experiment and let Optimizely go to work. Using Optimizely’s Stats Engine, the Attic & Button marketing team was able to see which picture(s) was / were performing best. From there, the team could keep using the winners, ditch the losers, increase site traffic, and learn from the experience.
On their website, Optimizely has published case studies from top companies and organizations such as BBC, HP, Sony, Movember Foundation, TomTom, Bleacher Report, Jawbone, StubHub, and many more. What is so fascinating to me is that each client uses Optimizely to address and solve a different issue. That’s how you gain market share!
Why it’s better: More compatible with Google Analytics and AdWords
Why it’s worse: You can only run three experiments at a time
Why it’s better: Strong customer support, more sophisticated personalization tools
Why it’s worse: Less powerful visual editing capabilities
Why it’s better: Hotjar’s expertise lies in discovering areas for improvement and experimentation
Why it’s worse: Unlike Optimizely, it is not a one-stop shop
What I think makes Optimizely so great:
Optimizely seems like such a useful tool because it can be used by those who aren’t well versed in coding, such as members of the marketing team, as well as by full-stack developers. Furthermore, behavioral targeting occurs in real-time and machine learning is used to make relevant recommendations to custom-audiences.
In my presentation, I plan to take a deeper dive into the features that make up Optimizely X. Stay tuned!
Questions for our visit:
1. How did the company’s experience in the Y Combinator program play a role in its success?
2. With the discontinuation of Optimizely Classic, how does Optimizely’s lead generation strategy change?
3. What are some of the smallest changes customers have made that have led to immense success?
4. Which tools within Optimizely have helped nonprofit clients the most?
5. At what stage of a company’s website / app is it best to implement Optimizely or a similar tool?
Before you go:
If you don’t already, please follow Optimizely on Twitter! Be sure to share your favorite tweet in the comments section below!