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Tips & Tricks for Building Your Experimentation Program

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Speed matters on the web. And, it matters even more today on the mobile web. Mobile traffic continues to grow year over year, but the user experience lags behind. We’ve all experienced the pain of trying to sit patiently as Safari tries to load a video or an article for us before we eventually abandon the experience altogether. Users expect the same experience on mobile devices as they do on desktops. In 2019, it’s clear that the mobile web is in need of performance and user experience improvements.

Improving site performance has been core to Optimizely’s vision as an enabler for optimizing the entire user experience. We’ve previously written about our dedication to site performance and our commitment to helping developers and marketers deliver lightning-fast web experiences. In an effort to increase performance, we’ve seen customers migrate to modern web technologies like Single Page Applications (SPAs). This, in turn, led us to adapt our experimentation approach as well. Last year, Optimizely became the first experimentation company to provide out-of-the-box support for dynamic websites on frameworks like React and Angular.

We continue to support our customers in their adoption of performant web technologies. And as of today, Optimizely is once again the first experimentation company to extend support to AMP.

If you’re unfamiliar with AMP, it’s an open-source project spearheaded by Google to make the web incredibly fast. You’ve probably experienced this technology before on your own devices  — when you click on a link, you don’t have to wait for the article to load because it’s been preloaded natively. AMP also includes a lot of smart JavaScript optimizations that reduce the page load time when the page cannot be loaded from cache. AMP also brings this same experience to the entire web; It is a responsive web framework that works across all devices — mobile users simply get the added bonus of the AMP cache. Leaders in media like CNN, the Washington Post, and Wired Magazine are among the early adopters to be delivering AMP experiences today.

To keep things performant, AMP has historically restricted any third-party JavaScript from being added to pages. This meant that customers that wanted to do A/B testing, were restricted to just simple CSS level toggles — essentially toggling CSS styles your developers would have to write by hand on the page. But many sophisticated experimentation teams need to do much more. With Optimizely’s support, you will now be able to run sophisticated a/b tests created in the Optimizely interface on any AMP pages.

Today, customers like the Action Network have already started to use Optimizely + AMP to test brand colors and their core value proposition in their messaging — without needing a developer. According to Brandon Cohen, a Product Manager at Action Network, “collecting data in Optimizely makes it easy for us to see what’s working, adjust in near real-time and continue testing to help drive business decisions.” Brandon can now experiment across Action Network’s vast array of sports and news articles, which powered by AMP update as the action happens.

Since the beginning, Optimizely’s ambition has been to make “A/B testing you’ll actually use.” Our simple WYSIWYG visual editor has empowered marketers and business users alike to test their ideas. With this partnership, you can continue to run experiments from the same Optimizely Web user interface you know and love, without ever leaving Optimizely. We are excited to be partnering with performance leaders in the space to help make the mobile web a better experience. We are excited to see the growth of AMP and to see what you will do with the ability to deeply experiment on AMP.

To learn more, you can watch a recording of the demo at AMP Conf 2019 in Tokyo, Japan where Jeffrey Jose, a Product Manager at Google, gave a demo of Optimizely on stage. Optimizely is also excited to extend a beta invitation to select Optimizely Web customers starting April 30th. Please contact your Customer Success Manager to learn more about getting started.

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