Watch this video or read through our step-by-step setup guide to learn about core features of Unless. In this guide we'll teach you about audiences, variations, and the difference between hosted and self-hosted URLs.
To keep it hands-on and to give you a better idea of "why" personalization can improve marketing, we will use a practical example throughout this setup guide.
Let's imagine we're the marketer for the fictional restaurant “Food & Stuff”:
Let's say we want to run a campaign promoting special lunch time and dinner offers. So, we’ll need to create a link that responds with different versions of our landing page based on the time of the day.
To get started, go to unless.com and log in to your account. Next, you'll be automatically redirected to the dashboard.
When you log in for the first time, you'll go through the setup wizard. The wizard will give you a general idea of what you can do with Unless. This article is an addition to that and it is meant to help you create your first campaign outside the wizard.
1. Step: Dashboard & Page Overview
The dashboard contains a list of all the pages you have personalized so far. Let’s now personalize the homepage. For this, click on the “Add web page” button, paste your page’s full URL and click on create.
When it comes to personalization, you have two options: You can either personalize for all traffic that comes to your website or for a specific marketing campaign.
Campaign-based personalization allows you to create short-lived, hyper-targeted personalizations. These can be used for your Christmas newsletter, paid ads, a social media campaign, etc.
On the other hand, ”All traffic” means that you personalize for everyone who visits your page, for example for all organic traffic, all direct traffic, etc.
To make this a bit less abstract, let’s say you send out a weekly newsletter. If you want to personalize for all your email traffic, you would use the “All traffic” feature. However, if you want to create a different layer of personalization for your newsletter each week, use the Campaign feature.
As you can see above, currently the status of “all traffic” is set to “disabled”. This is because we haven’t installed the script on our homepage yet. And for now, we’ll leave it like this since our focus is on how to set up a personalized campaign.
Let’s click on “new campaign”. Give your campaign a name, and add information about the source and the traffic channel.
Filling this out is important because Unless uses this information to automatically add UTM parameters to campaign links. This makes tracking and analyzing your campaign’s performance much easier.
2. Step: Campaign Details
After clicking “create”, we get directed to the Campaign details.
Now, the basic premise of personalization is that page visitors have different needs and expectations, so delivering one site experience to everyone leaves you with a page that doesn't truly resonate with anyone. To tackle this problem, Unless lets you create different variations of your page, each targeted at a specific audience group.
In case of our campaign for “Food&Stuff”, we want to show our visitors different specials based on time. For users clicking around lunchtime we want to show promotion A, for users clicking around dinner, we want to show promotion B.
To realize this, we’ll need to create two page variations. Let’s jump right in and add our first variation, the one for Lunch time.
As mentioned before, you have to think of two aspects: First, for whom do we want to personalize? What defines our audience? And second, what do we want to change about the page?
First, let’s take a look at the audience. An audience, or better yet, an audience segment, is a group of visitors who have something in common. For example, their location or the device they used to access the site. Those common points are referred to as conditions. In order to become part of an audience, a visitor has to meet them.
In our case, we’ll choose the condition “time”. After all, what our lunch audience has in common is the time they visit our page.
Let's argue we want to show the lunch variation from 12:00 pm until 4 pm. Now we can save the audience.
Now, it’s time to edit our page variation. The page will open in a new browser window and at first, it will look exactly like the original page. Through the inline editor we can start changing it.
Here you can see how the editor looks. For this example, we will change the headline and swap out an image. Once done we have to hit ‘publish’.
We will now switch back to the dashboard and repeat this process for our dinner variation. Let’s say this variation should be visible from 6 pm until 11:00 pm. Then, as with the earlier lunch example, we edit the text and images we want to change and the dinner variation is ready.
We now have a variation we want to display during lunch time and one for dinner. Which brings up the question: What will our visitors see during the rest of the day? This is where the first, automatically generated variation comes into play.
Basically, this is what’s going to happen once we put this campaign live: When someone clicks on our campaign link, Unless will analyze the visitor, determine to which audience group they belong, and show the matching page variation.
Unless checks your variations in descending order. If the visitor doesn’t match the first audience, it checks the second audience, then the third, and so on. And if a visitor doesn’t fit into any audience segment you created, they’ll see the “Default” variation. That’s also why you can’t edit its audience.
In the case of our time-based campaign, if a visitor clicks on the link around breakfast, they’ll just see the default variation. And since we didn’t edit the default variation, it means that they’ll just see the original page.
5. Control Group
One more thing we haven’t mentioned yet, is the control group. This feature is useful if you want to check how your personalizations perform in comparison to your original page.
Just like in an A/B test, users of the control group will see the original, unpersonalized version of your page. For this campaign we don’t want a control group, so we’ll set it to 0%.
Speaking of performance, the analytics tab helps you keep track of your KPIs.
For this page it’s currently empty but, it breaks down performance per variation.
7. Live Version
Okay, looks like we’re done. But before we start sharing our link, let’s click on "Open Campaign" to check if everything works properly. It’s 8pm here in Amsterdam, so the link directs us to the "Dinner" variation.
Now, as I mentioned before, Unless automatically attaches UTM parameters to your campaign links which helps you track each campaign’s performance.
What’s also interesting about this link is that it starts with unless.com, followed by a slash(/) and five digits (e.g. https://unless.com/a1b2c).
8. Hosted vs. on your own domain
Let's now navigate to the “Distribute” tab to see more about the hosted vs. on your own domain solutions.
What distinguished Unless from other personalization tools is the lightspeed setup. You can start personalizing immediately, without even having to install a script. For this, Unless creates a mirrored version of your page and hosts it under an Unless URL (e.g. https://unless.com/a1b2c). This is a fully working page and you can take this link and start sharing it.
However, you might want to publish your campaign under your own URL, for this you’ll need to switch to "on your own domain".
First, you have to install the script. As you can see in the GIF above, I have already done that, so I switched from “hosted” to “on your own domain”.
In the final step, I get a new URL pointing directly to my page, demo.unless.com. What’s interesting again is the parameter attached to the URL. It makes your campaign URL unique.
This is important because imagine we’d create a second campaign that also points to demo.unless.com. If the campaigns had the same destination URL, the personalizations would overlap which we don’t want, of course.
Okay that’s it - everything there is to know about a personalized Unless campaign. Now we can take this link and share it on the fictional Facebook page of “Food&Stuff”.
For more guides on the different features Unless has to offer, browse our Knowledge Base.