Redirect Experiment: which URL do I give prospective users? How can I test it myself?
This is my first time using Optimizely. I am running a redirect experiment to test two different versions of my site. I chose one as the "original" (Site A) and set the second as the variant (Site B). For the "Experiment Details" on the home page I specified under "URL targeting" that the experiment should run for both URLs.
I want to link to the sites on social media and then send users to the experiment (so 50% get Site A and 50% get site B). Does it matter which site I send them too? Do I have to always give the URL of Site A, as the "original" site? Does the experiment mean that 50% of visitors too Site A will be served Site B or will 50% of visitors to Site B also be served Site A?
How can I test whether the experiment is working myself? I want to try to go to the sites and see which one I am given, but it seems that I only ever get the one that I type in even though my experiment is running.
Welcome to the Optimizely community!
For your redirect test -
You'll want to always send people to the original url. Optimizely will then handle dispersing users to different variations based on the split you've determined via traffic allocation. Optimizely defaults the traffic allocation t0 50/50 between each variation, but you can change that yourself within the options menu. Please note that sending visitors to the redirect url (in lieu of the original url) will not allocate them into the experiment - they must navigate to the original url and be redirected.
I've included some links that will be able to help you get started in not only setting up the experiment but QA'ing it.
For QA -
To QA you will want to use an incognito window and close it out each time before trying a new session. It sounds like you have been cookied into a specific variation, and as a result you are continuing to see that variation only. This is the nature of the product and how Optimizely ensures a consistent experience for your visitors. Optimizely uses an endUserID Cookie (https://help.optimizely.com/hc/en-us/articles/200040335-How-Optimizely-Works-Snippet-order-of-execut... in order to identify returning visitors and ensure that they are consistently bucketed into the same variation each time. After bucketing yourself into the experiment via an incognito window, close the window each time (rather than opening a new tab). You will then note that you are bucketed into a different variation each time.
Here's some great documentation to get you started -
Traffic Allocation https://help.optimizely.com/hc/en-us/articles/200040115
Optimizely Academy https://learn.optimizely.com/lms/index.php?r=site/index&login=1
Redirect Test Creation https://help.optimizely.com/hc/en-us/articles/200040675
Pre-Launch Checklist https://help.optimizely.com/hc/en-us/articles/201862554
Technical Support Engineer