Problems to Consider When A/B Testing

0 comments, 30/04/2014, by , in Marketing

A/B TestingIf you have already jumped into the world of online marketing, then you have probably heard of the concept of A/B testing. This is the name for the simple act of creating multiple variations of any marketing strategy, using it to determine which elements perform better and which ones do not do so well. Many people struggle with determining whether or not the differences between their campaigns are to do with the content appeal or simply a variance in sample sizes’ preferences. Whether you have just started tinkering with A/B campaigns or have been using them for ages, you probably should be aware of potential problems that can hide results or skew them. Below, we’ll discuss some of these problems so you can be more informed.

Your Sample Sizes

Many people who conduct A/B testing don’t have large budgets with which to play. Because of this, our campaigns are often whittled down to smaller sample sizes and we use this to determine which ads will perform better. The problem in this, however, is that small sample sizes can deform true results and even outright lie in many cases. In a case where just a few dozen clicks are monitored, campaign A may perform twice as well as campaign B; in a scenario where five hundred clicks are monitored, the results may be even or campaign B may even outperform campaign A. When using smaller sample sizes, we can sometimes be fooled into thinking that one approach is better than another, when there is no actual difference in true performance.

Your Designs

While A/B testing can be a great way to determine which ads you want to be pinging links for, your results are only as good as your ads. Think about it this way: if you design three different scenarios with calls to actions, but all of your campaigns are poorly constructed and suffer from bad design, then the results are going to be pithy across the board. Some might say that you can still determine which ad is better in such a situation, but the reality is that you are underselling your potential when you create less than desirable marketing copy. If you want to get the best bang for your buck, then you must ensure that your ad copy is up to par and desirable to those who will see it. When this criteria is met, then you can evaluate which ones are truly the best.

Your Scope

Particularly the case with niche targeting, your audience sizes and reach may also be playing a role in skewing which ads are more effective than others. Many people as of late have been pinging links in niche SERPs, which can be a great way to build traffic – but not such a great place in which to do A/B testing. Your audience will be limited and rather uniform, which means that those who engage with your ad are more likely to have the same characteristics than those who might click on the same ad in a larger market. This, in turn, can skew the overall appeal of your ads – even in these niche markets.

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