When a test runs on a web page, content flickering refers to the flashing of the old page content before the new content has had the chance to trigger. The visitor may therefore end up seeing both before/after versions of the page (albeit briefly). This is caused by a delay in the triggering of the testing platform’s tag, generally due to the tag in question not being properly implemented, or the page’s load time being poor.
Content flickering should be strictly avoided as it is likely to deter visitors. At best, they might realise that they are in a test, which could influence the way they interact with your site. As worst, they might think there is a problem on the page and abandon their visit.
In cases where the basic techniques aforementioned do not work, content flickering can be minimised by using page hiding: in this case, your testing platform will use the most appropriate page hide method for your site (opacity, hide, shift…) and apply it to pages where a test is running. This will result in the brief display of a blank page instead of the old page content, giving the new content enough time to load. However, to be as effective as possible, page hide should be as succinct as possible and have a built-in timeout safeguard in case the new content cannot be retrieved fast enough.
Webtrends Optimize provides strategies that ensure that content flickering won’t occur on your website. For ease, you have the option to mask the entire website or pages, allowing you to test quickly and freely with no further considerations.
Alternatively, you can specify Custom CSS Selectors that only mask the portions of the page you ask for – allowing the rest of the page to load naturally and thus keeping Time to First Render/First Paint at its optimal.
Between these strategies, we ensure that you won’t get content flickering, and so users won’t get a disturbed experience when running experiments or serving personalised/targeted content.
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