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Configure a user profile service

This topic describes how to use the default or how to set up a custom User Profile Service for the Optimizely Android SDK.

Use a User Profile Service to persist information about your users and ensure variation assignments are sticky. For example, if you are working on a backend website, you can create an implementation that reads and saves user profiles from a Redis or memcached store.

The Android SDK defaults to a User Profile Service that stores this state directly on the device. See the Android SDK User Profile Service.

Use manager.userProfileService.lookup to read a customer’s user profile.

If the User Profile Service does not bucket a user as you expect, then check whether other features are overriding the bucketing. For more information, see How bucketing works.

Implement a service

If you want to implement a custom User Profile Service rather than using the default service provided by the Android SDK, then refer to the code samples below. Your own User Profile Service should expose two functions with the following signatures:

  • lookup: Takes a user ID string and returns a user profile matching the schema below.
  • save: Takes a user profile and persists it.

If you want to use the User Profile Service purely for tracking purposes and not sticky bucketing, you can implement only the save method (always return nil from lookup).

The code example below shows the JSON schema for the user profile object.

Use experiment_bucket_map to override the default bucketing behavior and define an alternate experiment variation for a given user. For each experiment that you want to override, add an object to the map. Use the experiment ID as the key and include a variation_id property that specifies the desired variation. If there is not an entry for an experiment, then the default bucketing behavior persists.

In the example below, ^[a-zA-Z0-9]+$ is the experiment ID.

  "title": "UserProfile",
  "type": "object",
  "properties": {
    "user_id": {"type": "string"},
    "experiment_bucket_map": {"type": "object",
                              "patternProperties": {
                                 "^[a-zA-Z0-9]+$": {"type": "object",
                                                    "properties": {"variation_id": {"type":"string"}},
                                                    "required": ["variation_id"]}
  "required": ["user_id", "experiment_bucket_map"]

The SDK uses the User Profile Service you provide to override Optimizely's default bucketing behavior in cases when an experiment assignment has been saved.

For both Swift and Android apps, the User Profile Service will persist variation assignments across app updates. However, the User Profile Service will not persist variation assignments across app re-installs.

When implementing your own User Profile Service, we recommend loading the user profiles into the User Profile Service on initialization and avoiding performing expensive, blocking lookups on the lookup function to minimize the performance impact of incorporating the service.

No op in Android

In Android, the default User Profile Service is also sticky. This can be overruled by disabling UserProfileService in your Android app. To do so, define a CustomUserProfileService class inheriting on our DefaultUserProfileService class, but overriding the lookupmethod to always return null. See the example below:

public class CustomUserProfileService implements UserProfileService {

    public Map<String, Object> lookup(String userId) throws Exception {
        return null;

    public void save(Map<String, Object> userProfile) throws Exception {


Pass this to your OptimizelyManager:

CustomUserProfileService customUserProfileService = new CustomUserProfileService();
optimizelyManager = OptimizelyManager.builder(PROJECT_ID).withUserProfileService(customUserProfileService).build(getApplicationContext());

With this custom implementation, the bucketing will no longer be sticky when the traffic allocation changes.