graphical user interface

Every year, Optimizely hosts our annual conference, Opticon, with the goal of bringing people looking to learn more or uplevel their experimentation, optimization, and personalization skills under one roof for three days of content, keynotes, networking, and more. 

As the promotional strategist for the conference, each year I ask myself how we can make it bigger and better than before, and new ways to “drink our own champagne” by using Optimizely to do just that. This year, we took advantage of three key features of Optimizely paired with other marketing strategies to drive event awareness and registration. 

Using Optimizely Personalization for Account-Based Marketing 

A huge company-wide initiative in 2019 has been Account-Based Marketing(ABM) and thinking about how we can provide 1:1 experiences that drive business outcomes. To tailor these experiences, we used  Optimizely Personalization to share messaging specific to our target account list, as well as relevant vertical industry content. 

  • What did this look like and how did we execute it?

I worked with our account teams to select 25 accounts that we had to have at Opticon19. From there, we created special messages and offerings to place around our website including our homepage and the event page. We used a combination of Demandbase and UTM tracking to make sure the companies were seeing the correct variations when they came to our website.  

We even took it a step further by running paid advertisements on social media channels and used Drift to drive traffic to the personalized experiences. 

Opticon and IBM

Out-Experiment from Optimizely Website

Opticon 19 and IBM Web Promotion

Actionable Takeaways Alt IBM Copy

  • What were the results? 

Given the low level of total visitors possible from these  25 accounts to our website, this campaign was done as more of a complementary action to our overall ABM campaign strategy as opposed to  the only way we were driving the attendance of these accounts at the conference. However, the qualitative feedback received from customers who stumbled across our ads and then got the personalized experience on our site was extremely positive. 

Overall, the campaign was responsible for driving 12 registrations, with many more view-through type conversions. 

A/B tests for Registration Conversions 

  • What did this look like and how did we execute it?

When we first launched our Opticon19 website, we had little content and no major announcements like keynote speakers, session tracks, or networking events. With that in mind, our team had the hypothesis that if we change our CTA from “Buy Now” to “Get Updates” we would have more conversions early on, and able to retarget and convert those who opt for “Get Updates” down the line. 

  • What were the results? 

To our surprise, neither of our experiments resulted in any conversions and the “Buy Now” CTA resulted in roughly ~3% more visits to the second page than “Get Updates”. We think that this due to the fact that we hadn’t launched any content at the time, and individuals weren’t ready to commit. 

Page Visits to Optimizely


Use Extensions to drive and scale promotional offers 

  • What did this look like and how did we execute it?

At Optimizely, we have a number of extensions we use including butter bars, promotional widgets, and promotional graphics that live on our blog. We are able to easily deploy standard notifications using extensions, which are like reusable templates that can be used by the less-technical teammates (like myself).

We were able to use the locations of the extensions across our website, product, and academy to promote special discounts, announce keynote speakers, and Flash Sales for Opticon19. Below are a few examples: 

Optimizely Academy Optimization

Highlighted Graphic of Outexperiment OutperformInternational CRO Day -

Claire Vo Opticon Promotion

  • What were the results? 

We actually did not run A/B  tests on the extensions, just utilized the extensions themselves. While we saw low click-through rates on our in-product butter bar, the Flash Sale resulted in 4 tickets purchased. The Flash Sale that lived on the Opticon website drove an additional 35 conference passes sold. 

Next year, we will make sure that  we’re also A/B testing our creative, copy, and CTAs on our extensions to drive the most impact. 

Learnings from Opticon19 Experimentation 

This was my first year fully using the capabilities of Optimizely to promote our user conference. Moving forward, I would like to start a lot earlier, gain input using program management from other team members, and iterate as we move forward. 

I am also super excited to start using Multi Arm Bandits to rapidly increase conversions on our event landing pages, which will be especially useful for any flash sales we decide to run next year.

What tactics do you use to drive more registration for your conference? Comment below.