A/B Testing vs. Personalization

Testing and personalization are often referenced together and might even sometimes seem interchangeable. Here we outline how to refer to each, and the best approach for your business goals.    
 
Testing
 
Optimizing the experience by introducing new content to only a subset of users at first, and then adopting the new change only if it performs better on average than current content.    
 
Personalization
 
Enabling a set of tools to categorize and serve up targeted content to unique users based on data for that person with the goal of a lift in individual performance that is larger than an overall generic approach.    
 
An illustration
 
Since sometimes lengthy explanations don’t quite paint the perfect picture of how we can derive benefits from both testing and personalization, yet can’t see the difference easily– lets review a realistic scenario below…    
 
Testing Example - In Numbers
 
Below is a sample A/B test.  
 
Results are of 1 test x 3 different variations to all users:  
 
 
Testing: Both tested versions produce a nice lift V1 (30%) and V2 (15%).  
The V1 variation has the highest conversion rate and is the “winner” with a conversion rate of 3% .  
 
Personalization Example - In Numbers
In this sample, we have all users divided up into 3 audience segments for personalization.
 
Results are of 1 test x 3 different test variations to those 3 personalized audiences:
 
>  
Personalization
:  
Each audience preferred a different variation.  The variation with the highest conversion rate for each individual audience is the “winner” for that audience, resulting in 3 personalized experiences with an average conversion rate =   4%    
 
Results - Comparing Testing to Personalization  
By choosing to personalize instead of just testing, the average conversion rate is 4% instead of 3%. 
That’s a 33% benefit by choosing the personalization approach over simply A/B testing!
 
Getting started with your own optimization strategy is a step in the right direction, regardless of if its testing or personalization based. For more details on our recommendations on how to get started, take a look at our blog post here  – or drop us a line to see how R2i might be the perfect fit in driving measurable change at your organization.
 

About the author: Andrea Goldstein

Andrea is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst and the trailblazer for our R2i presence in Los Angeles, CA. She began her career executing campaigns and producing content across multiple online and offline channels on both the client and agency side. She identifies data as the common thread and truly fell in love with analytics after witnessing the magical data visualization power of Tableau’s reporting software. With a passion to make raw data beautiful, Andrea integrates cross-channel data to create easy-to-read digital dashboards. She is most interested in helping clients answer their toughest business questions by reimagining the data to reveal trends, identify areas of optimization, and forecast performance - striving for the ultimate “wow” factor.

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