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May 30, 2018

A/B testing infrastructure for a modern product manager

Mike Sędzielewski
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A/B testing is, without doubt, a must-have thing in the tool belt of any product manager. Tech giants like Netflix or Pinterest invest a small fortune into highly customized user experiment platforms. Smaller projects end up integrating limited in functionality but easy to deploy SaaS tools like Optimizely or VWO. Is there a middle ground? In this note, I’d like to present 3 affordable cloud tools which can help you build the right product by enabling advanced A/B tests throughout the customer journey.

Testing SEO

Let’s start off with the acquisition part; successful online products cannot skip search engine optimization in their efforts to attract new customers. SEO monitors, on-page optimizations, hiring freelance copywriters, backlink rescue email campaigns - some companies employ massive resources to climb Google’s first-page ladder. If this is the case for your business, you should consider adding Rankscience to your tactics.

Rankscience (RS) is an early stage startup which wants to automate the A/B testing of organic traffic. How does it work? The first and non-optional step is to channel your traffic through RS’s CDN (they promise its nominal latency is fast < 25ms). RS claims that, technically, this can be a 2-minute change for most customers. Having this in place, RS can roll out content experiments, for example, they can take your landing page and host 2 variants, each one with a different title. After a given time, the RS dashboard shows which variant has won, i.e. is higher in SERP. All of this is done automatically. Unfortunately, the team behind RS hasn’t published the number and type of experiments they can automate or how they decide which ones to run first.

‍RankScience claims an average boost to organic search traffic of 37 percent within three months, arguing such gains are a substantial step up from the competition — albeit it only has “a couple of dozen” customers at this point. (source Techcrunch)

Testing user experience

Supposing you’ve convinced your visitors to get onto your website. Now, you need to overcome the equally hard challenge - onboarding. Onboarding involves a plethora of different things for various types of online business, but there is one thing in common - once you build a user-friendly application, the odds for the conversion become higher.

But there’s no silver bullet solution to achieving a top-notch UX. It’s your job as product manager to iterate until you find it. In software, the iteration consists of 3 parts: design, build, measure. Now, your task is to run it as fast as possible. Sounds easy, but when you want to iterate over many features in parallel, things get complicated pretty quickly. This problem is undertaken by LaunchDarkly (LD).

‍A huge thing for us is risk. LaunchDarkly takes risk off the table – so says a LaunchDarkly customer

LD offers an API-first platform to run experiments with “feature flags”. Thanks to LD, you can release features when you want and to the customers you want, taking the burden of the roll-out off the developer’s shoulders. LD shows the metrics of which variants perform better and lead to better user experience overall. Lastly, when the feature/variant goes totally south, you can kill it with the click of a button.

Testing offers

When you get to the point where your customers are pleased with your intuitive UI, the last step is to convince them with your offer. Benefits can be multiple but, usually, everything boils down to the cost. You can do many things to change the perception of cost and these things can be tested with Voucherify. It’s an API-first platform to launch personalized promotions faster.

Voucherify building blocks save you time and internal resources you’d otherwise spend in development and let your marketing team focus on growing and retaining your customer base. The software enables testing of multiple coupon, discount, referral, and loyalty campaigns against your customer segments. The API and programmatic building blocks allow you to create highly personalized incentives built on top of the CRM data. Next, it automates promotion distribution by integrating with your email, SMS, landing page, push notification, mobile app, and other channels. Finally, when a promotional campaign is live, Voucherify’s dashboard shows how it performs and whether there are any incidents with the redemption.

Has Voucherify helped us to improve our sales performance? Definitely! It’s a little bit dependent on the target group and the product selection but most of the campaigns have a rate of 5% or higher! - says a Voucherify user

Summary

API-based programmatic platforms help you build an advanced A/B testing infrastructure in a matter of days instead of months. Experiments can be integrated into your current ecosystem quicker, results are provided almost real-time, and operational and developer effort is reduced. With their affordable pricing and ability to start small, there’s less excuse for not having a robust experimenting environment for your product. Make sure, though, that the software vendors you consider are enterprise-ready.

Tagged:
A/B testing
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marketing
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software
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