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Frequently Asked Questions

About Visual Website Optimizer

  1. How does Visual Website Optimizer work?
  2. How much improvement in conversions can you expect?
  3. What types of conversion goals are supported by VWO?
  4. Miscellaneous Information

Possible Concerns

  1. Where is Visual Website Optimizer hosted? How reliable is it?
  2. How secure is Visual Website Optimizer?
  3. How scalable is Visual Website Optimizer?
  4. How much extra load-time does VWO create on a website?
  5. Will using Visual Website Optimizer negatively affect your SEO efforts?

How does Visual Website Optimizer work?

  1. When you create your first A/B test, you get a one-time code snippet from Visual Website Optimizer (VWO). Add this code to your website’s HTML and you’re good to go. Create unlimited tests anywhere on your website. There’s no need for you to add the code again.

  2. When visitors land on the page on which you’re running a test, VWO code calls for the test pages set up by you during the design phase. These pages are then randomly served to visitors who become a part of your test(s).

  3. If it is a split URL test, VWO divides the traffic between the two (or more) URLs that you’ve set up for your test. Visitors are randomly directed to these URLs.

  4. Once the page is displayed and the conversion goal is completed by the visitor, Visual Website Optimizer logs it in your conversion data.

Technical Explanation:

As soon as a visitor lands on your website, the JavaScript code snippet inserted by you in your website’s HTML contacts the VWO server. Two parts of the response is then sent by the server, which comprises of:

  1. Static JavaScript code for running the test.

  2. Dynamic test data, which has specifically been set by you for the test that is running on the current page URL.

Both the static and dynamic responses are heavily cached by us at our backend. This keeps response times minimal. The (g)zipping and minification of the code reduces these response times even further.

On the basis of the server response, the elements in the DOM (Document Object Model) are automatically replaced to display the variation that the visitor has been assigned.

In case of a Click, Form submission or Engagement as a conversion goal, a VWO function binds to a click event on the page that checks if a conversion has occurred.

After section replacements and binding of goals, the page is displayed to the visitor.

How much improvement in conversions can you expect?

Conversion improvements depend on a lot of factors.

Running small A/B tests, like button color tests or headline tests usually have far lesser impact than running tests with big changes.

Often when your test hypotheses are backed by background research like usability findings, heatmap analysis, or customer feedback, you can expect higher improvements in your website conversion rate.

A/B test results can still be quite unpredictable and best practices may not always work. It is recommended that you test any changes before you make them permanent on your website.

Typically, you should be happy with at least >10% improvements in conversions. In some cases, you can even celebrate a conversion lift of more than 300%.

Read existing VWO case studies to get a balanced perspective.

What types of conversion goals are supported by VWO?

  1. Click on a link - Specify a URL when setting up a test. The moment it is clicked on your test page, it will be counted as a conversion goal. For example, if your conversion goal is the download event, you will need to specify click on the download URL (the value contained in href attribute of a tag) as the conversion goal. And when a visitor completes this action, a conversion goal will be registered by VWO.

  2. Visit to a page - Submit the URL in your test for which the goal needs to be triggered. If a visitor arrives on this URL from your test page, a conversion goal is logged into the data. For example, if you want to track visits to your features page from the homepage, the conversion goal will be triggered in VWO as soon as the visitor is redirected to the features page.

  3. Form submission - This conversion goal triggers if the specified form is submitted by the visitor.

  4. Engagement - It records clicks on any link (i.e. anchor element), button, or input element (with ‘type’ attribute equal to image, submit or button) present on the page.

  5. Custom Conversion Goal - This option is for technically-advanced users who want more than the default goals available in Visual Website Optimizer. You will get a JavaScript code, a call to which will trigger the conversion goal.

  6. Revenue Goal - This option enables you to track revenue metrics, like total sales, revenue per visitor and average order value.

  7. Click on Element - This goal tracks a click on any DOM element (or collection of elements) on the page. See this link for more details.

Miscellaneous Information

  1. Full factorial approach to multivariate testing

  2. Uses cookies to track visitors

  3. Visitors see same variation even on repeat visits

  4. Conversions can be triggered even on repeat visits

  5. The same test can run on multiple pages on the website

  6. Multiple tests can be run on the same page

  7. The test results are realtime; there is no lag

  8. To understand statistical concepts that form the basis of Visual Website Optimizer, read this blog post

Where is Visual Website Optimizer hosted? How reliable is it?

Visual Website Optimizer is hosted with SoftLayer, one of the most reliable hosting providers out there. Historically, we have seen 99.99% uptime. The static JavaScript is delivered via Amazon Cloudfront and in case of an extremely unlikely event of downtime, our asynchronus JavaScript code is designed to gracefully degrade. Our innovative approach ensures your website doesn't slow down while the Visual Website Optimizer snippet is being loaded.

Visual Website Optimizer has been used on websites of leading companies, banks and government institutes without any hitches.

How secure is Visual Website Optimizer?

We take security of your data very seriously. We support HTTPS and never store your password in plain-text (hash them with a secret salt, for you techies out there) and (honestly!) take care of all essential security measures to ensure optimum protection for your data. Rest assured that VWO is safe and secure. If you have any specific security questions for VWO, feel free to shoot us an email.

Visual Website Optimizer has many enterprise security features as well.

How scalable is Visual Website Optimizer?

We are currently handling billions of requests per month and can easily accommodate millions of additional requests. We have special provisions for high-traffic testing. Make sure you contact us before testing >100,000 visitors per day. For a lesser-traffic site than this, simply sign-up and get started.

How much extra load-time does VWO add to a website?

Our scripts are (g)zipped to minimize their size and heavily cached at the server-side (hello Memcache and APC) and client-side (via browser caching of Javascript). Our servers are pretty fast too (thanks to SoftLayer). So additional load is minimal (around 50ms on average).

You can check our ping time statistics here.

Will using Visual Website Optimizer negatively affect your SEO efforts?

Your test pages are created dynamically when someone visits your page. And to display the dynamically generated page, a visitor needs to have both JavaScript and cookies enabled.

The good news is, Googlebot and other search engine crawlers do not support Javascript and cookies. So they only see your original page. As a result, your SEO efforts remain unaffected while using Visual Website Optimizer. For more details, read this.