April Optimizer of the Month: Mike Stevenson from Empyr

by RachelFiore ‎04-05-2017 April 5, 2017 - edited ‎04-05-2017 April 5, 2017

We love getting to know all of our community members and each month we love to highlight one of our top users for continuing to ask and answer questions, and for staying actively engaged.



This month we’re excited to introduce Mike Stevenson, who with his Empyr team, eats, sleeps and breathes experimentation. He shares about his most successful experiment with Empyr and Optimizely, what he thinks is the best about running experiments, and a personal run in with a shark on vacation. (No really, we’re not kidding -See below). Learn more about Mike and his experience and make sure to congratulate him! Kudos Mike!


Where are you located?

I’m in San Diego, California


What is your job title?

Digital Marketing & Brand Manager


Tell us more about Empyr

Empyr is an online-to-offline platform that uses card-linked technology to power rewards programs for some of the largest websites and apps. With these programs, online consumers automatically earn either cash back or points at offline merchants by simply paying with their linked debit or credit cards. At the same time, the online publisher generates revenue every time one of their users make an offline purchase. Any website or app can tap into our API to build their own rewards program.


What does “experimentation” mean at Empyr?

We eat, sleep, and breathe experimentation! We have a bunch of great publishers on board plus more in the pipeline, and our goal is to provide all of them with optimized and objective product/marketing best practices. To accomplish this, we use our own B2C card-linked program, Mogl, as a sandbox to rapidly iterate different designs and messaging. We then translate our findings to our partners so they can build successful card-linked programs. So to say experimentation is extremely important for us would be an understatement.


What is the best thing about doing experimentation at Empyr?

The best thing would have to be the creative freedom we have for our experiments. Since we’re testing to find shareable learnings, it’s okay for us to be more brave with our experimentation which allows us to unlock findings that might not have been as readily apparent.


What size is the experimentation team at Empyr?

We’re small and scrappy. I work with our CEO who is extremely savvy with product/marketing, and a growth marketing consultant that supports our goals. We all contribute to the end result, my job involving copywriting, graphic design, front-end dev, setting up the experiments in Optimizely, and analyzing results.


What is one of the biggest experiment wins Empyr has seen?

We were able to increase our number of MAU’s signed up through the use of an interstitial and optimized signup process, and increased signup page conversions by 5% by experimenting our design and messaging.


What is the most interesting learning you’ve gained from an experiment?

Time and time again, we see that the simple usually works best. It’s easy to get caught up in designing something with all the bells and whistles, but if that design gets lost on the user then it’s almost a waste of time. We’ve seen that for our case, straight and to the point messaging with minimal extraneous design elements typically takes the win for driving our users to convert.


What’s one thing you would change about Optimizely?

This might be unnecessary with the ability to link with Analytics platforms, but I would love a simple option to view a timeline of results that takes data from all experiments that share common goals. That way I could easily hop into my results panel and track conversions over time to quickly and visually analyze all-time results right inside Optimizely. Other than that, Optimizely is pretty amazing!


Share an interesting tidbit about yourself (doesn’t have to be work related) At Optimizely we have a tradition of all new hires sharing a fun fact about themselves. What’s a fun fact about you?

I learned i could have been an olympic swimmer during my first time ever snorkeling in Panama. The boat left me behind and right before it picked me up I watched a hammerhead shark swim right underneath me. I’ve never swam so fast in my life. Now I prefer to stay ON the boat.


‎04-06-2017 April 6, 2017

Congrats Mike! I enjoyed what you had to say about design, I can totally relate from past experiences.

Experimentation Hero
‎04-07-2017 April 7, 2017

Congrats Mike Stevenson ...good for you!

by mkstvnsn
‎04-17-2017 April 17, 2017

Thanks @robertchan, you're a huge asset to this community and always such an excellent resource. So a big thanks back to you!

Level 2