Major product launch: what does Optimizely X mean for CRO?
Published: October 12, 2016
Author: Aaron Bart
Last month, I attended the annual Opticon conference hosted by Optimizely, a leading CRO platform that provides brands with website and mobile A/B testing and personalization technology. At the conference, Optimizely made the long-awaited announcement that they were launching Optimizely X, a unified platform that enables businesses to “Experiment Everywhere”. But what’s under the hood of the new product, and what does this major new product launch mean for businesses and agencies that use the Optimizely platform? Below is a review of Optimizely X, highlighting some of its key features and new capabilities that have been introduced and which address specific usability pain points.
On the experimentation and testing side, it appears that Optimizely completely rebuilt the platform for the “modern web,” expanding its ability to now test on responsive websites and single page apps. Test setup and editing has also gotten easier and more powerful: in the old version of Optimizely, in order to make visual changes you would need to select a page element in the visual editor, which launched a small and somewhat clunky menu that helped make those changes. And when viewing your changes at different screen sizes, you first needed to save to the CDN and then preview your experiment in different browsers. In Optimizely X, you just click on an element and make changes via a left rail menu that is more user-friendly. And now you can preview changes at common responsive breakpoints or drag the window to a custom width, directly in the Editor.
Another pain point that was addressed in the update is Redirect Tests: In Optimizely Classic, you created redirect experiments from the variation drop-down menu, which then generated custom code for you to modify. In Optimizely X Web, no custom code is generated. You can add a URL or a function directly in the Editor. And variation JS and CSS changes will execute before the redirect. Other integrations that once required hours of coding are now possible with less effort and development expertise.
And if you do have some coding expertise, there is Optimizely X Full Stack. Designed for developers, Full Stack runs experiments on any application in the most popular coding languages, including Python, Java, Ruby, and Node, with more SDKs to come. It enables product and engineering teams to experiment deeply and broadly across their technology stack, with server-side and client-side testing unified on a single experimentation platform, in areas such as pricing, search result algorithms, or site redesigns. This enables experimentation on Amazon Echo, Fitbit, VR, a smart refrigerator, a gaming console — pretty much any device with an internet connection.
Then there is Optimizely X Mobile , which has been updated for native iOS and Android apps, and includes enhanced features and some new developer tools. Optimizely X Mobile allows brands to now instantly roll out new app features without waiting for App Store or Google Play review. Another brand new feature is Optimizely X OTT, which enables experiments in any over-the-top (OTT) TV application using tvOS or Android TV, on customer experiences such as navigation, app layout, site design, featured content, or integrated message testing.
Another pain point addressed with the new rollout is fluctuating results and statistical significance during experiments. In Optimizely classic, if you were to look at results while a test was in market, you could see different inconclusive results that may have had varying degrees of significance, or that may have appeared to have significance when they really didn’t (false positives). In Optimizely X, the new stats engine allows for more stable and confident testing, where sequential tests offer greater confidence of significance as a test progresses.
On the Personalization side, Optimizely rolled out Optimizely X Web Personalization, which allows for 1st-party and 3rd-party data to be incorporated, along with behavioral targeting, to deliver highly tailored experiences to visitors. You can now experiment in real-time to fine-tune a customer journey and understand its bottom-line impact on key business metrics.
Optimizely X is indeed a powerful tool, a much-improved version of the ubiquitous platform that already enables hundreds of brands to experiment and optimize those digital user experiences on which their revenue depends. But what makes the Optimizely platform truly powerful and effective is putting it in the hands of talented CRO experts – those agencies and individuals with experience and expertise in testing strategy and methodology, and in customer data-driven user experience design. Ultimately, the most impactful experiments that Optimizely X enables are the ones that leverage creative that’s rooted in analytics, and those that employ the right testing strategy, process, and CRO methodologies.