BlueKai and Optimizely will partner to create personalized Web site experiences for users. Marketers will be able to change anything on their Web site that they could have changed with Optimizely, but instead of testing if changes to a "Buy" button will boost conversions, for example, they will use BlueKai's data to customize the Web site to each user and increase conversions through personalization. "It could be used for recommendation engines, changing the home page, or any creative on the site," elaborates Optimizely's head of partnerships, Dan Glazer.
The companies have traditionally worked in different areas of the marketing space. Optimizely does A/B and multivariate testing for Web sites, allowing brands to see how changes impact the user experience and sales. BlueKai allows marketers to combine first- and third-party data to provide more relevant marketing with a higher ROI. BlueKai creates an anonymous profile based on actions it has observed a user take, captured through cookies. That information may, for example, be used to serve advertising for a car to a consumer who has been browsing auto Web sites. Now that information can also be used to customize Web site content.
The partnership between BlueKai and Optimizely is "taking that same idea of showing personalized ads, and showing personalized content on the Web site," Glazer says. The partnership had been in the works for six months, predating BlueKai's acquisition by Oracle.
During that time, Optimizely has been building infrastructure on its end to support the partnership. In order to pair with BlueKai, Optimizely built an API. That API will in turn allow other data management platforms, such as Bizo, Lotame, and Demandbase, to plug in, providing similar personalization abilities for marketers using those platforms. "It enables anyone to build an integration with the API, which will appeal to developers," Glazer says.
The tool will allow marketers to be nimble in their personalization efforts. Optimizely prides itself on having an easy-to-use, WYSIWYG interface that marketers can use to change details on the site without having to go to IT. "This partnership shows marketers how easy it is to leverage data to improve the experience of their customers with their brand," noted Omar Tawakol, CEO of BlueKai, in a statement.
The ability to personalize sites through the partnership has been live for a few weeks with select customers, and Glazer is already seeing significant interest in the industry. "The response is overwhelming. A lot of our longtime enterprise customers have reached out to us about this." It has particular value for direct response-oriented clients. "Insurance, travel, anything where there is a clear conversion, or clear intent with the Web site, it will make sure the first visit is closer to that intent," Glazer says.
The news comes in the wake of other recent announcements for both BlueKai and Optimizely. BlueKai was acquired by Oracle in February, where it will be an add-on to the company's marketing cloud. In November 2013, Optimizely announced an integration with ClickTale, which provides in-page Web analytics. "Marketing and adtech is converging, so expect more of these niche types of acquisitions; it's not going to be just partnerships," says Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research.