graphical user interface, website

Over the past few years, personalization has become a red-hot topic in online marketing. The reason is simple: we’re all in the business of building great customer experiences, and the best experiences are relevant and personal. I’ve spoken to hundreds of marketers and product managers about personalization, and the reactions I hear are almost universal. We all know three things:

  1. Customers now expect personalized experiences.
  2. Their attention is precious.
  3. If you don’t provide the most relevant experience, your competitors will.

Yet for all the excitement around personalization, the true value is still unrealized. While a few companies like Netflix and Amazon have seen tremendous success from personalizing, most organizations don’t have the deep pockets or the massive engineering teams to get it off the ground. And while many online marketers recognize that personalization is a must-have, very few have truly delivered on their customers’ heightened expectations. There’s a gulf between the opportunity and the day-to-day reality, and over the last year the team at Optimizely has been working hard to close that gap.

Today, we’re taking a major step in making personalization accessible to every business by announcing the general availability of Optimizely Personalization. In the video below to Optimizely CEO Dan Siroker explains how we’ve taken the nebulous concept of personalization and broken it down into something that any business can get value from.


We believe our new product will do for personalization what we did for A/B testing: unlock the potential of an emerging innovative practice and make it accessible to companies of all sizes.

Here’s a glimpse into some of the key capabilities of Optimizely Personalization.

Understand visitor behavior, and target in real time

One of the biggest challenges with personalization is understanding your visitors in real time. You may have an abundance of customer data, but all this data is useless if you can’t put it into action in the moment. We built Optimizely Personalization to make it incredibly easy to connect data about your visitors — data such as behavior or information stored in your CRM — and use it to target experiences in real time.

Behavior— what a visitor does while on your site — is one of the most powerful indicators of intent and at the core of real-time personalization. Optimizely Personalization makes it easy to do behavioral targeting in real time. You can capture important signals, such as shopping for high-value items, or a customer on the verge of abandoning their session, and target relevant content accordingly, without needing to write a single line of code. You can identify key events and metadata on your site using a visual, point-and-click interface, and mix and match behaviors to create a unique audience.

Optimizely Personalization Audience Builder

Personalization starts by defining an audience, a segment of your visitors that share common characteristics, such as people who previously shopped shoes. Click to view in a new window.

We’ve also made it easy to connect that information with first- and third- party data to create a complete picture of your customer — a dynamic customer profile —  that you can personalize to in real time. With Uploaded Audiences, you can create audiences out of a list of specific customers, such as loyalty program customers, repeat purchasers, or any other important group. You can also create audiences using your data from third-party integrations, such as DMPs like BlueKai or account-based marketing software like Demandbase.

Experience for shoe shoppers

Optimizely Personalization Editor

Use Personalization to show promotions for new shoe styles to an audience of visitors who previously viewed shoes.

Experience for cold-weather shoppers

Editor Cold

With Personalization, you can create audiences for customers in specific locations and target content just to them.

Discover new opportunities with Recommended Audiences

Connecting data is critical for personalization, but it also introduces a new challenge. As you gather more data about your visitors, it becomes more and more difficult to know where to focus. Should you create audiences based on location? Past behavior? The local weather? Spending levels? All of the above? The sheer number of possible audiences can make personalization look daunting.

To tackle this problem, we’ve built a powerful new capability called Recommended Audiences to pinpoint segments with the biggest opportunities for personalization. Using machine learning, we identify meaningful groups whose behavior is different from the norm. These predictive analytics help you prioritize your efforts and focus your creativity where it can have the largest impact.

Optimizely Personalization Recommended Audiences

Recommended Audiences in Optimizely Personalization help you discover new valuable audiences with the biggest opportunities for personalization.Click to view in a new window.

Optimize the experience for each audience

Once you’ve connected your data and chosen your audiences, it’s the moment of truth: how can you build an experience that resonates with each visitor? At Optimizely, we pride ourselves on making it easy for optimizers of all types – from non-technical marketers to seasoned developers – to create compelling experiences. Like Optimizely Testing, Personalization is simple and easy to use; teams can build and launch campaigns in our visual editor within minutes. We’ve taken this further in Optimizely Personalization with a fully redesigned workflow that makes editing your site easier than ever.

optimizely personalization editor

The Optimizely Personalization editor is designed for responsive sites.

In addition to simplicity, we’ve focused on speed, control, and power. We’ve made it easy to quickly create tailored experiences for each audience, and to prioritize experiences when the same visitor falls into multiple audiences. We’ve also rethought our editor to work better for mobile web and responsive sites so you can quickly build experiences that look great on every device. An advanced code editor and APIs for developers ensures that Personalization scales with your needs to provide additional flexibility and customization.

Understand your impact

After you’ve built a personalized experience, how do you know if it’s an improvement? While we all know that a more relevant experience can greatly improve the bottom line, each campaign is a hypothesis and should be measured.  

Optimizely Personalization is built around the concept of data-driven personalization: every experience is measured against a control to prove its impact and reveal opportunities for iteration. Taking a data-driven approach to personalization, you can measure the aggregate impact of personalization across your entire visitor base.

All of your results are backed by Optimizely Stats Engine, which does the heavy lifting to measure revenue and conversion lift, determine statistical significance, and ensure that results are always valid. This means you can double down on what works and keep improving what doesn’t — without relying on a team of analysts to verify your results.

Optimizely Personalization Results Page

The Results Page in Personalization is designed for you to understand the impact of each personalized campaign as well as the aggregate impact of personalization across your entire visitor base.

The Experience Optimization Platform

Personalization is the next product built on Optimizely’s Experience Optimization Platform to enable our customers to turn data into action. Because Optimizely is one platform built to work together from the ground up, you use one Optimizely account and the same integrations and audiences for Testing and Personalization. Personalization also runs on the same single line of Javascript snippet that runs Testing.

We built Personalization to help all of our customers finally see value from personalizing on web and mobile. We can’t wait to hear what you think about Optimizely Personalization. Get in touch with our sales team to request a demo.