Off the heels of the closed acquisition of Optimizely, we’ve been rolling up our sleeves with integration workstreams and knowledge sharing between our teams. Beyond our appreciation for Optimizely’s world-class product, passionate team and leading experimentation vision, we admire the work Optimizely is doing for the greater good.
On Thursday October 29, Optimizely launched an in-app experiment in the U.S. to drive awareness of voting options that directs people to the non-partisan voter information site, voteamerica.com. I had the opportunity to sit down with David Isquick, Director of Product Marketing at Optimizely to learn a bit more about the initiative.
Give me a quick run-down of the experiment. Where did the idea originate and how is the experiment setup?
On Monday, Sean Marchessault, Senior Enterprise Customer Success Manager at Optimizely had the great idea to help promote voting prior to the election using our in-app banner. He sent the team a slack message regarding our thoughts around encouraging folks to vote through email signatures and an in-app banner. People loved the idea and we moved forward with the banner.
On Wednesday, I started to get the A/B/n testing ready in our app. That’s the great thing about Optimizely, is that it’s designed to enable marketers using the web product to easily get experiments setup, without the help of a developer. As a marketer, I was able to go in and get the experiment setup in less than half an hour.
Then Dan Berkowitz and Luciano Rodrigues, who are both on our On Demand Services (ODS) team, sprang into action to verify everything was set up properly. Our ODS team is incredible, by the way. They are really good at helping our customers get experiments turned around and running quickly.
So all in all, we had the idea on Monday, started executing on Wednesday and had the experiment up and running less than 24 hours later.
The experiment is setup so that U.S. based customers will see a rotating set of four different butter bars that point to a non-partisan voting information site, voteamerica.com. The goal is to inform people of their voting options and encourage people to get out there to make their voices heard.
Is this typical of Optimizely? Does the team usually turn an idea into execution within days?
Absolutely. That’s the exciting thing about working at Optimizely. I looped in company leadership to this idea and they responded almost immediately with positive remarks. We have such a talented group of people who are willing and able to get the job done. Once we get the buy-in, our team is able to execute very quickly.
Is that the same general mentality around customer projects as well?
Definitely. This year has been particularly interesting. Obviously with COVID-19, customers have had to be fluid and pivot at a moment’s notice. We’ve seen businesses use our tool as a way to respond to the pandemic by rolling out new messaging and experiences for their customers.
I think this entire experiment is a perfect example of the culture we built at Optimizely. We articulate our high-level values through an acronym – OPTIFY, which stands for Ownership, Passion, Trust, Integrity, Fearlessness, transparencY. I think each of these values was present from start to finish in getting this particular experiment setup.
Why do you feel it is important to run this experiment?
This election is a historical moment that can and will have worldwide implications. Optimizely has actually declared Election Day as a holiday for U.S. employees. I’m definitely proud to work for a company that values and encourages that. This experiment is a way to ensure we’re making a difference by reminding people that their voice matters and they should make a voting plan.
Voting is so important. I think people have a tendency to underestimate how much of an impact their vote has. There have been moments in our nation’s history where elections have been decided by a few hundred or thousands of votes. Your vote really can make a difference and I don’t think people always realize the immensity of that.
A lot of impact happens at the local level. I truly believe in the importance of voting as a way to help benefit the community and stand up for what you believe in. Everyone should know and have the opportunity to vote. Collectively we have the responsibility to shape what the future of our country will be. Voting affects schools, healthcare, equality, and justice at the local, state and national levels. This banner is just one way to remind people of that importance.
Is the in-app banner always on? What other banners have you run?
Right now the banner is going to virtually all our customers in the United States. We’re rotating through the four messages that are all designed to help folks understand their options for voting.
Before we launched this voting banner, we also had a Black Lives Matter banner running. We ran that to show our support and drive our customers to key organizations that support Black Lives Matter and are fighting for justice.
So the experiment has been up for around 24 hours. Any early results? Which message is resonating most so far?
So right now the results wouldn’t quite be statistically significant since it has only been running for one day. But, we’ve already reached thousands of users with these messages. Customers see the message throughout the app when they login and on other screens. The message that seems to be resonating most is “Early voting is open! Find out where to vote here: voteamerica.com”. However, as mentioned, it’s too early to say that’s statistically significant.
Overall, I’d say it’s definitely successful. If the banner reminds even one person to show up to vote or drop off their ballot, I think it’s a success. The objective behind this experiment was to remind people to exercise their right to vote and use their voice.
How can other companies use experimentation for the greater good?
Whether you want to drive awareness of something like voting, or encourage participation in local or national civic movements, you can test messaging and websites with Optimizely. You can identify which messages are most compelling and which move the most users to take action. You can also use it to promote donating to causes or highlight organizations that might need support.
Overall Optimizely isn’t limited to testing marketing messaging, you can really use our tool to start making a difference in your community and even the world.
On Tuesday November 3, Optimizely employees will take the day off to exercise their right to vote. We encourage you to do so as well.
Use your voice, use your vote. Go to voteamerica.com to find your voting options and make a plan to vote.