Five Ways to Segment or Target Your Optimizations

Some of the greatest opportunities to optimize your website traffic lay in particular segments or channels of traffic. At Omniture Digital, we like to start off each engagement with a client by looking at the traffic that arrives at their site. We break down their traffic into segments based on source and identify opportunities to be more relevant to these visitors. By receiving more relevant content, visitors will positively respond after arriving at the site. This in turn delivers a ton of value to the client and sets us up to do a deeper dive with iterative testing based on initial learnings.

In order to make the visitors experience more relevant you have to be able to target content or track these segments of traffic as they arrive on your site. In my last post I talked about targeting content to cart abandoners but here I will walk through 5 ways you can target or segment campaigns for your visitors using Omniture Test&Target.

1. URL Parameters

URL parameters are probably one of the easiest and more popular ways you can test content for a group of visitors. Here is an example of URL parameters:

In the above link, there are three URL parameters and each of them has values. The first URL parameter is ‘sid’ and it has a value of ‘omtr_blog’, the second parameter is ‘author’ and it has a value of ‘hawkins’, and finally the third parameter is ‘post’ and its value is 2.

The first URL parameter always starts with a question mark (?) while each URL parameter after it is separated by an ampersand (&).

Google’s Matt Cutts wrote a great post that dives into this even further.

Here is a quick example of how to leverage URL parameters to show relevant content to email visitors.

A month or so back I received this email from Omniture regarding the Omniture Summit.

Summit is certainly an event worthy of its own landing page but what if you wanted a relevant experience for each visitor who receives an email from you? It certainly isn’t feasible to create a custom landing page for each email but with targeting you can use an existing landing page that can be made relevant to each email you send out.

Using the Summit email as an example, here is the live campaign that is triggered by the URL parameter assigned to the click through URL; visit this link:

Now, visit this link:

See the difference? All I had to do what create the content that I wanted for the visitor rather than create a whole new landing page. Many times you can even use the HTML that is in the email itself making this really easy to get up and running. You just need to align the click through URL parameters to the emails you send out.

Some other common ways to leverage URL parameters include paid search landing pages, banner ad landing pages, as well as internal pages on your site. We often use URL parameters to QA tests in a live environment by showing test content on live pages with URL parameters such as ‘?test=testandtarget’.

2. Referring URL Parameters

Referring URL parameters are another great resource to use for targeting as well as segmenting. Referring URL parameters represent the URL parameters of the page that linked to the page you are on.

In this image, we can see how a website gets referring URL parameters.

Website A on the left has the URL parameters ‘sid’ and ‘src’ and their values are ‘1’ and ‘233’ respectively. The red button on website A links to website B with this URL: When someone clicks on that button they are passing all of the URL parameters on Website A to Website B as referring URL parameters. Website B can use both now to target or segment on the referring URL parameters from Website A or the URL parameters that it now has in its own URL.

Referring URL parameters can be quite helpful if you are unable to edit the linking URL with parameters of your own.

You can also do some interesting stuff with referring URL parameters from search engines on your paid traffic. Here is the referring URL from Google on a search for ‘Test and Target’:

Here is what some of the values mean:

hl = host language. In this case it is en for English but if I was coming off of Spanish Google it would equal not en but es.

q = the query. This is the exact term that was entered into Google and passed to nicely to your page. Yahoo uses the parameter ‘p’ while Google and MSN use ‘q’.

btnG = a normal search rather then the I’m feeling Lucky button.

3. Mbox Parameters

Mbox parameters are similar to other parameters in that they have a name and a value associated with them. Mbox parameters aren’t available via the URL of the website but rather they are coded into the Mbox on your website. The values assigned to these mbox parameters could be static or dynamically populated with any server side variable.

Some of the most common variables I have seen assigned are:

Mbox parameters can also be used to dynamically pass us important data on product pages. That information is then used to provide automated product suggestions within Test&Target. I will dive into this in greater detail in a later post and provide live examples but at a high-level Test&Target can be used to show product recommendations via an offer using various algorithms, including the following:

4. Profile Parameters

Profiles provide limitless opportunities to target and test. In my last post I covered an example of targeting cart abandoners using profiles. That example illustrated the ability to self-define behaviors on your site and to tag those visitors for targeting.

By being able to self-define behaviors and then tag or profile those visitors that performed those behaviors you create many opportunities to leverage your traffic.

With profiles you can capture things like:

Here is a quick example of seeing some profile parameters in action:

5. Geographic Location

I think some of the most interesting data available in your analytics includes where your visitors are coming from and how these different areas convert. You may see that one area of the country converts quite well while another does not. By targeting relevant messaging based on the geographic location, you have an opportunity to increase the conversion rates of these under-performing areas.

Geographic location targeting also provides an opportunity to show relevant products. For example, if you are a nationwide retailer,you could show snow blowers to the Midwest and Northeast during the winter while continuing to show Floridians patio furniture.

Another great use of geographic targeting is to leverage DMA information. If you have a television or radio commercial going out to a particular area, you can target specific DMAs to reinforce that messaging on your website.

To see the geographic targeting in action, visit this link:

If you are a Test &Target customer and would like to see how these examples are set up, please send me a note at bhawkins at and I will set you up with login instructions. In this same demo account I have many valuable profile scripts worth checking out. You can copy these scripts to your own account for use as well.