How to use the assignment expiration settings to best control traffic to your campaigns.
One of the Advanced Settings for campaigns is the Assignment Expiration section. The settings in this group allow you to specify when a visitor's assignment to a specific Campaign expires. When the visitor expires, they can still use your website but will no longer be assigned to this Campaign. Depending on the type of campaign you're running, you will likely want to adjust these settings. Additionally, there are some clever use cases that this setting can easily accommodate.
- What expiration options are available?
- When should I set the expiration options to the highest/longest setting?
- When would I want to keep the options at a lower/shorter setting?
- Use cases for non-standard settings
What expiration options are available?
Use the Visits field to enter a specific number of Visits within the campaign after which the visitor expires from the Campaign.
Use the Duration field to enter a specific period of time after their first visit in the campaign which the visitor expires from the Campaign, regardless of the number of visits.
Previous Visit Gap
Specifies that the visitor expires from the Campaign when the amount of time since his or her last visit is greater than this amount.
When should I set the expiration options to the highest/longest setting?
You want to keep your expiration settings at their highest options when you have a campaign that a user should see forever, so long as the campaign is active. The most common use-case is for personalization campaigns when you are not testing different experiences, but showing a specific treatment to a targeted group or all users. This might be a winning variation from one of your previous campaigns, a hot-fix for a production bug, or personalized treatments for a specified group. Either way, once a user is assigned, you want them to see the change always.
Note that when you create a new Personalization campaign, SiteSpect will automatically max out the expiration settings.
The other common scenario is when you have an experiment that is testing experiences aimed at increasing retention long-term. The campaign will be running for many months, so you want to ensure users in your test group continue to see the correct change for the length of the campaign.
When would I want to keep the options at a lower/shorter setting?
Low visit and short duration expiration settings are generally the default for true A/B/n type experiments and are most useful for 1) controlling outliers and 2) managing campaign assignments when running many campaigns at once and/or one or two very long-running campaigns.
- Controlling for outliers: When your goal is to assess the differences between multiple variation groups, you want to ensure your data is representative of your typical user. Maybe most of your users visit your site 2-3 times within the time frame of your typical campaign. But you have a small handful of power users who visit multiple times a day, every day.
These loyal users likely behave quite differently than your typical user and could be less influenced by your test changes. By limiting the number of visits within a campaign for an individual user, you will capture any potential behavior shifts for the initial visits of these power users, but remove much of the noise around their many repeat visits.
- Managing campaign assignments: If you have many campaigns running in a non-overlay set (in order to keep the data clean) you want to maximize the number of users who are exposed to each campaign. Since your visitors are split between these campaigns, if you have some that are running for a long time, users will get "stuck" in the campaign, and will never be eligible for your other tests. See Concurrent Assignment Ceiling for more information about the maximum number of campaigns each user can be assigned to.
By giving a shorter time limit or a smaller maximum number of visits, you are able to gather valuable data from this user in your campaign and then free them up to be assigned to a new campaign. You will end up with a higher number of users assigned to each of your experiments.
Use cases for non-standard settings
Use case #1—limited-time promo campaign
You want to offer a special promo for all new users who enter through one of your social media campaigns. You want to run the campaign for a month, but each individual user should only have access to the promo for 48 hours.
How to accomplish:
In the campaign, you can use a combination of Audiences to specify that 1) the user is new/unrecognized and 2) the user entered from a social media campaign. In the Assignment Expiration settings, you would set the options so that an individual user gets kicked out of the campaign after 48 hours. The campaign will continue to accept new assignments, but 48 hours after the user is assigned, they will be kicked out and no longer eligible for the promo.
- Visits: 15 +
(It doesn't matter how many times the user visits your site while in this campaign, only the time elapsed)
- Duration: 48 hours
- Previous Visit Gap: 48 hours
Use Case #2—Long-running campaign for active users
You have a campaign that you know is going to be running for many months which is offering incentives to keep users active. Because of this, you want users who return at least once a month to remain in the campaign for the duration, but you want to kick out users who don't visit often.
How to accomplish:
In the Assignment Expiration settings, you want to set a very high visit count, since the goal is to keep users coming back often. Duration (time since initial assignment) should be high as well, but you will want to set the Previous Visit Gap to 30 days. With these settings, users who continue to visit frequently will remain in the campaign for the entire time it's running, but a less engaged user who doesn't visit for over a month will be kicked out.
- Visits: 1500 +
- Duration: 1 year +
- Previous Visit Gap: 30 days
Use Case #3—Only show changes for the first two visits
You launched new products on September 1st. For the month of September, you want to show a modal to all visitors with these newly added products, but you only want to show the modal for the user's first two visits in the month. After that, these products are no longer "new" for that user.
How to accomplish:
All users are eligible to see the modal, so you don't need any special audiences. In the Assignment Expiration settings, you will set the options so that an individual user gets kicked out of the campaign after 2 visits. It doesn't matter how much time is between the two visits, but after two visits, that user will be removed from the test. The campaign can also be configured to turn off at the end of the month, so no users will see the change after September is over.
- Visits: 2
- Duration: 30 days
- Previous Visit Gap: 30 days
(It doesn't matter how much time elapses between initial assignment, or between visits. The only concern is how many times the user has visited while this campaign is live.)