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Force variation URLs + New Optimizely

CornerstoneHQ 08-15-16

Force variation URLs + New Optimizely

Hey guys,


The force variation parameters don't appear to work when running new Optimizely.


We're currently running the old and new versions alongside each other, as we wanted to test the new features.


When setting up tests on 'New Optimizely', the ?optimizely_xEXPERIMENT=1 parameter does not seem to force a particular variant in the same way as 'Old Optimizely'. I've trawled through the Optiverse, but as it's in beta, there doesn't seem to be much documentation on it.


Take the following URL as an example:


The updated changes do not load. Disabling force variation parameter is unchecked in settings. Additionally, the optimizely2 object in Chrome's Developer Tools does not have the same variationMap function to run, so I can't see which variations are being loaded.


I appreciate that the new QA tool makes this feature largely redundant, but it would be useful to be able to share variant previews with other colleagues, in particular where new we test new features that may (for example) affect checkout flow.


Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated.






Re: Force variation URLs + New Optimizely

Hi Cornerstone,


Thanks for asking your question here! I understand your use case. In the New Optimizely we use a different type of force parameter: "optimizely_x=variationID", where you replace "variationID" with the actual ID, see here. At the moment it's not yet easy to find the ID. I've submitted a feature request to make it easier to find it. For now, please open the preview, and then in the URL bar you'll find the "optimizely_x=variationID".



Can you give that a go?




Hudson 10-28-16

Re: Force variation URLs + New Optimizely



To clarify how to use Force Variation in Optimizely X:




- This is the same exact format as classic Optimizely; only, instead of the variation index (using 1, 2, 3), we're using the exact variation ID!


- You can find the campaign & variation ID in the URL in the Optimizely interface


@CornerstoneHQ @nils


Please verify that this works for you!



robertchan 10-28-16

Re: Force variation URLs + New Optimizely

I'm curious whether using force variation in X produces consistent experiences as simply hitting the default preview button in an experiment. In classic, I was sometimes unable to see my experiment as expected unless I used a force variation.
Robert Chan

Experimentation Hero
JasonDahlin 10-28-16

Re: Force variation URLs + New Optimizely

Echoing @robertchan's question - I am also wondering if this same condition exists in Optimizely X?


There is a difference in timing between Previewing the experiment and forcing the experiment.  In cases where page-logic changes the structure of the HTML, things that worked in Previewing would not work in a live experiment.  This is most evident when a plugin or similar manipulates HTML (like building a slideshow based on a set of <li>).

--Jason Dahlin
Analytics and Testing Guru Smiley Happy

Experimentation Hero
Gabriele 10-28-16

Re: Force variation URLs + New Optimizely

[ Edited ]

Thank you all guys for the useful answers!


I was wondering if there was a way to enforce a user to a specific variation without showing the url parameter, so let's say I wanna have a link somewhere so that when a user clicks there he/she is redirected to a specific variation without showing it on the url. Would a simple redirect to the base url work since the variation infos are saved in a cookie ?

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