decorative yellow lines on background

This blog originally published on March 20th, was updated on April 3rd.

Just over two weeks ago we published this, our first blog related to COVID-19. Following that we published three additional blogs on the impact on TravelRetail and how no industry is exempt and wanted to make it simple for you, our reader and customer to find them all in one place.The world of digital marketing and sales has fundamentally changed. The global pandemic of the coronavirus has reset everything that we once knew. Customer personas have changed. Buying behavior is different. These times are uncertain and confusing to navigate.

External factors have never been this strong. It feels like most of the control is out of our hands and we are looking to take damage control efforts.

We want to stay positive and provide you with insights and suggestions from our Strategy Team on how to make the most of your Optimizely tool at hand.

How can you get the most out of Optimizely to support your wider business?

Using Optimizely Extensions to quickly add new functionality to your site to deliver topical messaging

Normally, we would preach that Optimizely is not to be used as a Content Management System (CMS). However in times like these, and for temporary relief, we see a true benefit of simplicity. For example, if you need to add a banner on your site to provide regular updates on business hours, closed services, or other information, you can use Optimizely to do so.


Extensions! Building a banner (or maybe you have one built already from previous tests) can solve the use case mentioned above. The banner can be run as an experiment on 100% of your traffic on that one variation, meaning everyone will see that change. The banner can be updated easily, without code and without a deploy.

Optimizely created a COVID-19 Extension, which is available on Github now as something you can easily copy and use when using Optimizely as a temporary CMS.

a person holding a camera

COVID-19 Extension with Editable Fields

Other use cases for Extensions as CMS during COVID-19:

  • Display policies and other relevant information on the homepage
  • Provide information or links to official websites
  • Keep users up to date on newly closed destinations
  • Pop-up models
  • Email capture models to subscribe to a dedicated COVID-19 communications
  • Messages on temporary benefits and discounts to offer relief to those who are impact or affected

Stats Accelerator & Multi-armed bandit testing:

  1. Stats Accelerator = Time Minimization Strategy
    Send traffic to the variations that would reach statistical significance earliest. Maximize the number of learnings from experiments in a given time frame.
    Use Cases:
    • Reach potential stats significance faster on lower traffic sites, which might be different sites right now than before. Might become relevant for tests that you had on your roadmap already but are now seeing a drop in traffic.
    • Find out more how to test on low traffic sites here.
  2. Multi-armed bandit = Regret Minimization Strategy
    Send traffic to the variation with greatest lift to maximize conversions. Avoids the opportunity cost of showing sub-optimal experiences.
    Use Cases:
    • For example, if you are running tests right now and want to ensure you have not made something like  the “My Trip” section harder to find, use a multi-armed bandit test instead of a normal A/B test.
    • For example, if you are pushing sales / offers but are testing the new banner / widget that you created, use a multi-armed bandit test instead of a normal A/B test.

Lastly, some words of caution:

Due to the complexity of the everchanging news cycle, the users on your site have different purposes for visiting than your normal traffic. Also, the personas may have changed. Previously known correlations and patterns may not hold. Beware when running tests and interpreting these results. These results may only be valid for the current user type. Tests may need to be run again once there is a better overall understanding of COVID-19 and you may see different results.

Here is a great blog post by one of our partners in Australia with some more information around the potential impact. 

In the coming weeks, we will have a series of blog posts around different industries and how to get the most out of Optimizely during this time. If you should have questions about certain ideas mentioned here or in future blogs, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager. They will be happy to assist you.