BlueConic dialogues deliver your content and message to customers and visitors. Sometimes there are multiple ways to deliver the same message. For example, to personalize page content, you might display a lightbox, change the content to display a banner, or use a toaster that pops up at the bottom of the page. To maximize your reach, you'll want to find the most effective way to reach your customers and visitors.
Enter dialogue optimization.
BlueConic can help you determine the most effective way to reach your marketing goals. Configure BlueConic to evaluate the scores for the variants of a dialogue and then take a specific action. For example, you can see whether displaying a lightbox consistently leads to more clicks than displaying a banner. If the lightbox leads to more clicks or conversions, you can tell the BlueConic optimizer to automatically target customers with the more effective lightbox and to stop showing the less effective banner.
Before you can start to optimize your message, you will first need multiple variants for a dialogue. To create new variants, open an existing Dialogue, select Optimization in the top right corner, select [Add Variant] under the existing variants in the Optimization tab of the Dialogues menu. Your original dialogue is then converted into an optimizer dialogue.
Dialogues with multiple variants subtly change their navigation bar:
- Instead of the "What" tab, you now have a menu showing "Variant A" and the other variants. You can use this menu to quickly switch between variants.
- The menu bar now also show an "Add Variant" shortcut so you can quickly add a new variant.
This navigation bar change also brings up an interesting tidbit: the "Who," "When," "Where," and "Why" settings are the same for the entire dialogue, regardless of the selected variant. So for example, if you configured a specific segment on the "Who" tab, that segment is used by all variants. If you want to serve your alternative dialogue to a different segment of visitors (on the "Who" tab), you cannot do this by adding a variant. Instead, you would have to create a new dialogue to do this.
Configuring optimization settings
When you select Optimization on the dialogue navigation bar, you will notice a table listing all existing dialogue variants:
The first row in this table is the Original dialogue; in analytics this is called the control group. This represents the original content that someone would see if there were no variants. It allows you to test whether or not the dialogue is improving results over the original content. After all, why have a dialogue if it isn't effective?
You can add or remove columns in the table by clicking the configuration (cog) icon on the top right of the table.
The following information is shown in the table:
|Name||The name of the variant. To navigate to the settings for a variant, click it in the list.|
The distribution percentage shows what chance a variant presently has of being served to new visitors. This value is read only, except for the original control group variant and for when the optimizer strategy is set to "A/B testing".
For variants with an "A/B testing" Variants Strategy, you can fill in a distribution percentage in this column for all variants. The percentages you enter determine how often the variants are shown to visitors in relation to each other. For example, if you enter 70% for Variant A and 30% for Variant B, 70% of the visitors will be served Variant A and 30% of the visitors will be served Variant B.
|Type||The type of Dialogue: Content, Lightbox, Form, etc.|
|Views||The number of times the variant has been viewed.|
|Clicks||The number of times the variant has been clicked.|
|Direct conversions||The number of times the variant has directly led to a conversion.|
|Click/views ratio||The percentage of times that the variant has led to a click out of the total number of times the variant has been viewed.|
|Direct conversions/views ratio||The percentage of times that the variant has led to a conversion out of the total number of times the variant has been viewed.|
|Direct conversions/clicks ratio||The percentage of times that the variant has led to a conversion out of the total number of times the variant has been clicked.|
|Lift of clicks/views ratio||The percentage of times that the variant has led to a click out of the total number of times the variant has been viewed, relative to that same percentage for the control group. Positive lift means the variant is doing better than the control group, negative lift means it is doing worse.|
|Lift of direct conversions/views ratio||The percentage of times that the variant has led to a conversion out of the total number of times the variant has been viewed, relative to that same percentage for the control group. Positive lift means the variant is doing better than the control group, negative lift means it is doing worse.|
|Lift of direct conversions/clicks ratio||The percentage of times that the variant has led to a conversion out of the total number of times the variant has been clicked, relative to that same percentage for the control group. Positive lift means the variant is doing better than the control group, negative lift means it is doing worse.|
|Conversion moments||The number of conversion moments in the dialogue or variant.|
|On/Off||With the on/off switch you can switch individual variants on or off and determine whether or not they should be actively used in the optimizer. The On/Off switch can have three values:
The variant is switched off
The variant is switched on, and it is active. (The optimizer containing it is active.)
The variant is switched on, but the dialogue as a whole has not yet been enabled.
|Copy and Delete||When you hover over a line in the table in the last column the copy and delete icons appear. Use these to either copy a variant or delete it from the list.|
Creating a new variant
To create a new variant from the "Variants" tab, select the [Add variant] button below the table.
Select the deciding factor in determining success of a variant from the menu:
These are the available optimization goals:
|Clicks/views ratio||Top variant is based on the best ratio of views that lead to a click. More clicks per view means the variant is considered to be more successful.|
|Direct conversions/views ratio||Top variant is based on the best ratio of views that lead to a direct conversion. More conversions per view means the variant is considered to be more successful.|
|Direct conversions/clicks ratio||Top variant is based on the best ratio of clicks that lead to a direct conversion. More conversions per click means the variant is considered to be more successful.|
|Direct conversions/unique views ratio||The top variant is based on the number of direct conversions divided by the number of unique profiles that have viewed the variant.|
|Direct conversions/unique clicks ratio||The top variant is based on the number of direct conversions divided by the number of unique profiles that have clicked on this variant.|
|Total conversions/views ratio||The top variant is based on the sum of direct and indirect conversions divided by the total number of views for this variant.|
|Total conversions/clicks ratio||The top variant is based on the sum of direct and indirect conversions divided by the total number of clicks for this variant.|
|Total conversions/unique views ratio||The top variant is based on the total number of conversions registered divided by the number of unique profiles that have viewed this variant.|
|Total conversions/unique clicks ratio||The top variant is based on the total number of conversions registered over the number of unique profiles that have clicked this variant.|
Select the strategy that BlueConic should used to pick the dialogue variant that people should see when encountering the dialogue for the first time. On subsequent encounters, they will see the same variant that was presented the first time.
The options are:
For more information about the available strategies and usage examples, see Optimization use cases. Select the "Variants Strategy."
The Evaluate at setting makes it possible for you to determine how the variants are performing with respect to each other at a specific point. For example, this lets you configure optimization to stop showing all variants except for the best-performing one, or to automatically serve up the variants that score higher more often than those that score lower. Options for the evaluation period are:
|Views||The "After evaluation" action will be in force after the number of views specified. The number of views is counted against all variants in the optimizer. For example, if you have an optimizer with four variants (Variant A, Variant B, Variant C, and Variant D) and the number of views is 10, any combination of views between the four variants that adds up to 10 triggers the evaluation.|
|Clicks||The "After evaluation" action will be in force after the number of clicks specified. The number of clicks is counted against all variants in the optimizer. For example, if you have an optimizer with three variants (Variant A, Variant B, and Variant C) and the number of clicks is 5, any combination of clicks between the three variants that adds up to 5 triggers the evaluation.|
|Conversions||The "After evaluation" action will be in force after the number of conversions specified. The number of conversions is counted against all variants in the optimizer. For example, if you have an optimizer with two variants (Variant A and Variant B) and the number of conversions is 20, any combination of conversions between the two variants that adds up to 20 triggers the evaluation.|
|Date||The effectiveness of the variants will be evaluated on the date specified.|
You can define more than one of the above options. When the first is matched, the evaluation will take place.
Enter the desired value(s) in the text field(s). If you want to base the evaluation on a date, click the date picker and select the date from the calendar.
Changing the "Evaluate at" settings during the evaluation period
If you change the "Evaluate at" criteria before any of the goals has been reached (views, clicks, conversions, and/or date), the historical data for the variants is kept, and the tracking of values continues until the evaluation period ends.
Use this setting to take a specific action after the evaluation period ends. Select the "After evaluation" setting from the drop-down menu.
The options are:
|Automatic optimization||BlueConic uses the Automatic optimization strategy to serve variants to visitors.|
|Stop serving any variant||The optimizer will not target any more visitors with variants.|
|Serve specific variant||The optimizer will serve the variant you specify to all website visitors. After you select "Serve specific variant," a second drop-down list will appear from which you can select the variant to be served.|
|Serve winning variant||The optimizer will serve the variant that is determined to be the best according to the optimization goal when the evaluation period ends. When the evaluation period ends, the variant that achieved the highest overall score is considered the winning variant and that is the variant that will be served exclusively from this point forward.|
Adding variants during the evaluation period
If you add a variant to an optimizer during the evaluation period, BlueConic will keep track of just as it tracks the other variants and you can see its distribution values in the variants overview table.
Adding variants after the evaluation period ends
If you add a variant to an optimizer after the evaluation has occurred, what happens next depends on the "After evaluation" setting. The following table summarizes what will happen with new variants added after an evaluation period ends.
|Automatic optimization||The new variant will be served along with the existing variants and its effectiveness will be scored. As time passes, if its effectiveness is higher than the existing variants, it will be served increasingly more often than those that are less effective. The process continues as such with the currently best performing variants always being served more often than those that perform less well.|
|Stop serving any variant||The new variant will not be served to any visitors.|
|Serve specific variant||The new variant will only be served if it is selected as the specific variant to use.|
|Serve winning variant||The new variant will not be shown.|
You can configure a variant by navigating to the variants section. You can do this by either clicking on a variant name in the variants table, or by selecting the variant from the drop-down menu.
The appearance of the variants section will depend on the type of variant that is chosen. For complete information on the configuration of a specific type of variant, select the Optimization tab and select the variant type from the drop-down menu.
In the right hand sidebar you will find a properties widget for the variant.
In this widget you can:
- Change the name for the variant
- Switch the variant on or off. The On/Off switch has three states:
The variant is switched off
The variant is switched on, and it is active. The dialogue itself is also active.
The variant is switched on, but the dialogue as a whole has not yet been enabled.
- Change the type of plugin for that variant. The default plugin that is selected when a new dialogue is created is "Content."
- For some interaction types additional settings can be made in this properties windows, for example for a lightbox you can specify the size of the lightbox in this widget.
Optimization use cases
Given the multiple combinations possible when mixing Variants Strategies and Optimization Goals, deciding which to use can sometimes pose a challenge. This section describes use cases for each strategy that help to illustrate which strategy or goal pairings are best used in specific circumstances.
The "Rotating" strategy serves the defined variants in a rotating order. For example, if you have three variants (A, B, and C), they will be served in the same order each time to every visitor triggering the dialogue. For example, the first time the visitor triggers a variant they will be served variant B. The next time they trigger a variant, they will be served variant C. The following time, variant A. Each successive time, the order B-C-A will be used again. This strategy applies to all visitors.
The "Rotating" strategy is best used when:
- The messages contained within the variants are seen as equal when compared to each other.
- You want each visitor to see all the messages in order to maximize the chance that one of them will catch the visitor's attention.
- You want to spread more than one message to each visitor in the likelihood that two or more messages will complement each other and lead to stronger engagement.
- You want to target the visitor with more than one type of interaction in order to see which is most effective (banner, lightbox, content, etc.).
When using the "Rotating" strategy, the variants are definitive and you typically will not add any more to the optimizer during the evaluation period.
For example, the following three banner variants have been added to an optimizer and will be shown on a rotating basis at the same position on the web page:
The messages contained in these three variants are all different selling points but at the same time they are equal and do not conflict with each other. Because you do not know which selling point will be most effective, you want each visitor to see all three variants in order to spread all messages equally. Are visitors more influenced by the ability to enhance their website through personalization, comply with online privacy regulations or create long lasting relationships? Or are they influenced by the fact that they can both add personalization and comply with online privacy laws using your product? The "Rotating" strategy makes it possible to engage your website visitors with a differing message for each visit.
The "A/B testing" strategy selects a variant at random from the optimizer and serves the same variant to the unique visitor from then on each time they visit your website. This strategy is best used when:
- You want to divide your website visitors into separate groups in order to be able to directly compare the effectiveness of each variant with the other variants.
- The messages contained within the variants conflict with each other and you only want each visitor to see one of them and not all of them.
- Seeing more than one of the variants could lead to an inconsistent visitor experience.
Consider the following example: you are offering a discount on the sale of an item but do not know whether it is better to offer an exact monetary savings value or a discount based on a percentage of the full price. Which is better?
Variant A offers a 20% discount off the full price of an item while Variant B offers the concrete amount of $15. By serving each message exclusively to two groups of website visitors, you can determine over time which of the offers is more appealing.
Another example: You have three variants containing messages that range from formal, to informal, to highly personal:
Some visitors will be more engaged by the formal, some by the informal and some by the highly personal. However, if the tone of the message that the visitor receives varies with each visit, this could lead to confusion or a degraded experience that could lead to disengagement. Using the "A/B testing" variant, the experience of the visitor remains consistent.
Using the "Automatic" optimization, you let BlueConic perform the optimization for you. This strategy is based on a self-learning mechanism that continuously monitors historical data gathered from all variants and serves to visitors more often the variant(s) that are achieving the Optimization Goal at the highest rates at the given time. Over time the performance of variants can vary and the "Automatic" strategy will change the variants it is serving based on the current situation. The "Automatic" strategy is best used in the following scenarios:
- You want to maximize clicks and conversions.
- You want to limit the loss of conversions during the evaluation period.
- You want to continue to modify, add or remove variants during the evaluation period.
- You do not know how long you need to test the variants in order to achieve significant results.
- In all situations where the "Rotating" and "A/B testing" strategies are not effective or desired.
Variants comparison line graph
For each optimizer, you can view a line graph that shows how each of the variants is performing. For complete information, see Variants comparison line graph.
See results in the Variants Table Insight
To create a dashboard with performance metrics for variant dialogues, see Variants Table insight.