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Optimizely's New Platform: Optimizely X

Claire Fitzpatrick  |  May 15, 2017

Optimizely, one of the leading A/B testing platforms, made a recent upgrade to their Classic platform which they dubbed Optimizely X.

As experts, the CRO team at Vertical Nerve have been quickly trained and certified in this new platform. Besides the completely new look and feel, Optimizely X made significant upgrades to their functionalities and capabilities making it even friendlier for all levels of testers.

Here are a couple of the new features we love.

“Reusable” Features

Pages and Events are now “reusable” in all experiments.

Just a heads-up, "events" are what used to be called "goals" in Optimizely Classic. Optimizely must have realized that for every client, we are most likely tracking the same pages and events in each experiment we run. If it’s part of a funnel test or the next iteration of a simple A/B test, we like to test the same pages over and over.

Events are also reusable across experiments. Once an event is created, it can be added to any new experiment within the same project. This feature is especially useful if your site has numerous custom events. You no longer have to set up the same custom event for each experiment, Hallelujah!

Prioritize Events

Events are a major part of the upgrade to Optimizely X. Primary events (or goals) have always been a part of Optimizely Classic. The Stats Engine identifies which event is primary and focuses efforts there to see that event gets to statistical significance as quickly as possible. They allow testers to get more granular and “rank” events based on their priority. We can select primary, secondary, and indicator events. This encourages testers to analyze which KPI’s are the most important to the test and the business.

Something to keep in mind: once an event is tied to a specific campaign or experiment, it is then called a "metric."

  • Primary: The one metric that will determine if the entire experiment is a winner or loser
  • Secondary: Metrics that support the primary metric, but do not themselves determine success
  • Monitoring: These metrics indicate the overall health of the test or can alert testers to unforeseen impact of their experiment

Correctly setting up metrics in your experiment is key to getting accurate test results.

Another cool feature to note is that when pages have been set up prior to the experiment’s launch, they will automatically be tracked as a pageview metric for the test. That’s why Optimizely is strongly recommending that testers set up all of their pages in a site prior to any experimentation. Genius!

Visual Editor

One of the biggest changes in the Optimizely X platform is the visual editor. This tool allows testers to make changes and edits to the variant without using code. This is great for small changes such as CTA colors, text location, or image swaps. This is also extremely useful for those testers who are not fluent in the JavaScript or JQuery code that is currently necessary to implement changes in the code editor.  

Two notable changes are the ability to look at the experiment in a responsive design and the integration of cross browser testing directly into the tool.

With mobile visitors continuing to steadily increase, testers need a simple way to view their experiment on all devices while still in the building/editing phase of their test. Optimizely X’s visual editor allows testers to select pre-determined desktop, tablet, and mobile device sizes or custom select dimensions of your choice. This feature ensures that the CTA you have been working on for the past couple of hours will look just as good on mobile and desktop devices. It also gives testers the ability to design and QA concurrently, removing the surprise and frustration of QA after the design is complete.

Cross browser testing is an integral part of any test’s QA process. With so many varying web, mobile and tablet browsers, designs can come out looking much different than expected. Testers spend hours making their variant design as beautiful and functional as possible. It is devastating when one browser sabotages a possible winning test because of a technical issue. Optimizely decided to implement CBT directly into the visual editor tool taking out all guesswork and ensuring your beautiful design is rendered correctly on all browsers.

Combining both the responsive design tool and the cross-browser testing makes the Visual Editor a powerful design and QA tool that will streamline design and QA for all testers.

Overall, Optimizely X is a more efficient and smarter tool than its predecessor, Optimizely Classic. The new features mentioned are only a handful of the updates that were made to the platform. We suggest taking a look for yourself to appreciate the full breadth of changes. The CRO team here at Vertical Nerve can't wait to get started testing!


Claire Fitzpatrick

Claire Fitzpatrick

CRO Specialist

Claire started out with Vertical Nerve as a Digital Optimization intern in our CRO department while pursuing her Masters of Marketing at The University of Texas at Dallas. Since graduating in December of 2016, Claire has transitioned to CRO Specialist. In her free time, Claire enjoys reading books about psychology and riding horses.

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