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: www​.siteB​.com/​?​s​i​d​=​2​&​a​m​p​;​s​r​c=A. 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:

  • Dynam­i­cally cal­cu­lated page ad value
  • Price on Order Thank You page
  • Quan­tity purchased
  • Unique Pur­chase ID’s
  • Prod­uct ID on Prod­uct Page
  • Cat­e­gory Page data

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:

  • Peo­ple who bought this bought that
  • Top Sell­ers
  • Most Viewed
  • Opti­mized Rec­om­men­da­tions (based on RPV, Con­ver­sion, and Sales)
  • Peo­ple who viewed this even­tu­ally purchased….

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:

  • vis­its to a par­tic­u­lar page or groups of pages
  • num­ber of visits
  • day of the week, the hour of day
  • pre­vi­ous purchases
  • browser
  • oper­at­ing system
  • pro­file information
  • behav­ioral brows­ing infor­ma­tion. If you wanted to, you could even tar­get those vis­i­tors that have made three pre­vi­ous vis­its to your site, arrived last on a Tues­day, and once made a $50 pur­chase. You can get as gran­u­lar as you want.

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 omni​ture​.com 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.


Excellent post. Really opened my eyes to the power Test & Target.