Best Practices to Establish a Single Source of Truth (SSOT) for A/B Testing

Your CX testing lives or dies on the standard of your knowledge. You’ll be able to’t kind legitimate, testable hypotheses utilizing questionable knowledge. And you’ll’t belief the outcomes of your assessments should you don’t know you’re taking a look at correct metrics.

That’s why it’s essential to construct your testing program round a Single Supply of Reality (SSOT) dataset. Should you can’t, even the best A/B take a look at will lack worth. This text explores why establishing an SSOT is so necessary and shares among the field-tested finest practices we’ve developed for doing that right here at Kameleoon.

What’s an SSOT

Trendy enterprise decision-making needs to be data-driven. Sustaining an SSOT implies that for CX experimentation, or another operate, you standardize on one knowledge supply because the definitive “reality” round which you conduct that group’s work and inform your organization’s choices. 

With out an SSOT, you danger your data fragmenting into silos guarded by completely different groups for various capabilities. There’s no standardization, no consensus, and no option to know whether or not anybody is making choices primarily based on the most effective out there data.

An SSOT isn’t a selected know-how or a system. It’s a enterprise observe designed to get optimum outcomes out of your group’s actions. Some corporations have saved thousands and thousands by shifting to an SSOT data strategy with out even touching the underlying work.

Research have proven that high-quality buyer habits metrics stay essentially the most sought-after knowledge for informing strategic choices. For a number of years operating, in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ annual CEO survey, CEOs fee that as an important metric they need for strategic planning.

What’s A/B testing

A/B testing is a technique for experimenting with web sites, cellular functions, or adverts by evaluating the efficiency of an unique model—the A, or management, model—to a modified B model. The aim is to gather efficiency knowledge for every, conduct statistical analyses, and decide, primarily based on knowledge, which model carried out the most effective.
A/B testing works for testing extra than simply single net web page parts. For instance, you should utilize it to optimize pricing, validate product options, and personalize web sites to completely different customer segments. As well as, A/B assessments are the inspiration of many different CX optimization methods, together with multivariate testing, product advice, and profile-based concentrating on.

Who wants an SSOT for his or her testing?

Experimentation groups are swimming by means of knowledge generated of their analytics platforms, CRM, testing platforms, and extra. They should set up an SSOT for testing to make clear what their groups need to do. Let’s take into account an instance.

Considered one of Kameleoon’s shoppers launched a marketing campaign to optimize its web site’s search operate. They carried out server-side assessments that concerned monitoring visitors to an entry web page.

However they encountered an issue many experimentation applications face: the info in Google Analytics confirmed one variety of web page visits, and their experimentation software confirmed one other. The distinction was over 9 p.c. 

Being an e-commerce web site with over 1,000,000 guests per thirty days, the choice of which knowledge set to belief made an enormous distinction within the firm’s KPI reporting. Whereas some mid and enterprise manufacturers can ignore disparities as much as 10 p.c in customer statistics, a 9 p.c disparity in knowledge made this firm’s experimentation group nervous. 

This group had solely lately gotten buy-in for his or her experimentation program, together with a funds to spend money on instruments like Kameleoon. They have been hoping for assessments with clear conclusions. As an alternative, the accuracy of their knowledge was unsure. They wanted to determine an SSOT.

We helped this firm clear up their customer knowledge monitoring, set up an SSOT and get the testing outcomes they wanted to develop. To do this, we helped them undertake seven SSOT finest practices. We share these finest practices right here as a result of any CX group seeking to wrangle their testing knowledge and get essentially the most from their experimentation program can use these to develop.

Finest practices for eliminating take a look at knowledge discrepancies and establishing an SSOT

1. Earlier than you do anything, conduct an A/A take a look at

Whereas an A/B take a look at compares an outdated versus a brand new model of your product or web page, an A/A take a look at compares like towards like. Why would you need to do that? So you possibly can examine the info generated by every monitoring platform.

Within the A/A take a look at, each variations are the identical, however customers who see them will likely be completely different: 

Screenshot of Kameleoon A/A test

Methods to take motion

Earlier than you conduct any critical A/B testing or roll out a brand new implementation the place you’ll need to collect knowledge, run an A/A take a look at to calibrate. In an ideal world, your A/A take a look at will return an identical outcomes. In actuality, that hardly ever occurs, however you’ll nonetheless learn the way a lot of a discrepancy you’re coping with.

For instance, operating an A/A take a look at permits you to see what metrics Google Analytics will get in comparison with your testing software throughout the identical classes, customers, visits, conversions, or whichever metric you need to measure.

2. Monitor guests and visits the identical means in all of your instruments

The variety of guests or visits tracked by your analytics instruments won’t ever match up exactly with customers and classes. Nevertheless, you can also make positive visits are counted the identical means in your analytics and A/B platforms to lower the discrepancy. 

In Google Analytics, there are two methods a go to ends: 

  • Time-based expiration: Right here, the session expires after half-hour of inactivity or at midnight. Whereas, for instance, in Kameleoon, it’s after half-hour of inactivity.
  • Marketing campaign change: If the identical customer arrives through one marketing campaign, leaves after 2 minutes, after which comes again through a special marketing campaign 2 minutes later, Google Analytics will depend two visits. Some A/B testing instruments will see this as one.

Methods to take motion

Test how guests and visits are counted in your analytics software and guarantee it’s the similar to your testing software. Or that you could change it. At Kameleoon, we suggest utilizing your analytics platform as the only supply of reality. 

In GA, you possibly can edit how lengthy till classes and campaigns are timed out underneath Session Settings. 

Google Analytics screenshot.

Why? SSOTs ought to be outlined on the organizational degree. So even when your testing group spends their complete day working with knowledge in your testing platform, different groups should still must reference knowledge from GA for different functions. Set the SSOT to be the dataset referenced by your group’s broadest vary of groups.

3. Create browser and model filters in your analytics software 

Many A/B testing platforms don’t run on Web Explorer, so any visits in that browser are routinely excluded from experiment reviews. However IE may nonetheless trigger an information discrepancy should you goal giant, legacy organizations utilizing it.

One other potential monitoring subject is that Google Analytics is appropriate with all browser variations, whereas A/B testing instruments normally preserve full compatibility with solely the final a number of variations.

Methods to take motion

In Google Analytics, create custom filters primarily based on the browsers and the browser variations you care about so all platforms match. You do that in

For instance, underneath View, right here’s how you’d exclude an older model of Google Chrome:

Google analytics screenshot.

4. Filter problematic visitors in all of your instruments

Preserve your SSOT knowledge set as clear as potential by solely accumulating knowledge from respectable viewers members. You don’t need to muddy your knowledge with bot, troll, tracker bugs, or different outlier visitors. Don’t fear about decreases in quantity, the standard of your outcomes will go up.

Methods to take motion

Superior A/B testing instruments provide a number of bot filtering settings out-of-the-box. For instance, they’ll routinely take away visitors from collected statistics in the event that they detect outlier habits or if the session falls right into a suspicious exercise situation.

However, should you’re utilizing GA, it’s as much as you to determine learn how to detect and exclude bot visitors out of your analytics knowledge utilizing filters. For reference, listed below are some circumstances you would possibly need to exclude. 

  • Length of go to > 120 minutes
  • Length of go to < 100 milliseconds
  • Variety of occasions (conversions, clicks, concentrating on, product, web page view, and many others.) > 10K

You additionally need to exclude inner visitors from inside your group. Keep in mind, the aim in constructing this SSOT dataset is to have a definitive supply of knowledge about your precise clients, not your colleagues.

To filter out internal traffic in GA, go to Admin panel > All Filters and create a brand new filter. Set the filter sort to ‘undefined.’ Then, add the interior IP ranges you’d prefer to exclude.

Google analytics screenshot.

5. Keep away from advert blockers

Many guests use advert blockers akin to Adblock, Ghostery, and uBlock. Some adblockers may also block client-side trackers, together with analytics occasions from experimentation instruments.

If a good portion of your guests have advert blockers enabled of their browser, there’s a excessive likelihood that the variety of visits recorded will fluctuate between your A/B testing software and your analytics platform.

Methods to take motion

Some platforms can present “on-premise” monitoring request URLs that permit them to keep away from being blocked by advert blockers. Right here, monitoring occurs server-side, so client-side code blocking, akin to from an adblocker, doesn’t cease respectable monitoring. Activate it on all potential platforms.

One other option to higher perceive the discrepancy between your analytics and testing platforms is to ship an occasion to your analytics platform after your testing software has loaded. That ought to offer you a transparent thought of the proportion of tourists utilizing advert blockers that block your A/B testing software. Then you’ll have to filter your visitors to exclude guests utilizing advert blockers.

6. Set up your instruments on the entire similar pages

Snippet placement is a standard root trigger of knowledge discrepancies, particularly if you wish to run an experiment that targets a complete website. The reason is is that many experimentation instruments deal with the “total website” as all of the pages carrying its code snippet. Sadly, that might even embrace your staging website in case you have snippets copied there. 

Methods to take motion

Should you haven’t already, now is a superb time to run that A/A take a look at to calibrate your platforms. Then, guarantee all of your instruments are applied on the identical pages. 

One option to determine in the event that they’re not is to interrupt down your knowledge by the visited web page URLs. This can present you all the primary URLs the place the experiment has run in an effort to determine these the place your testing software shouldn’t have loaded. Right here’s how this selection seems like in Kameleoon: 

Kameleoon's data breakdown

Closing Ideas

After cautious evaluation, Kameleoon decided that the shopper with an information discrepancy encountered that final downside. Google Analytics and their testing software weren’t operating on the identical pages. 

Whereas GA tracked all visitors going to their search outcomes web page, they configured their testing software with a narrower parameter—the experiment counted visits to the entry web page solely after a search within the search bar.

Whereas each pages regarded the identical, the URLs have been completely different, creating an information discrepancy. Nevertheless, as soon as resolved, they’d a dependable SSOT for testing knowledge and have been to generate many useful insights. 

By recognizing the place the out-of-the-box settings in your testing tool don’t align along with your analytics monitoring, you possibly can determine which variety of guests to report or learn how to use your settings to reduce the distinction.

Eradicate discrepancies, set up a single supply of reality, and rally your groups round one frequent knowledge set. Establishing an SSOT is step one to higher, extra dependable, and extra insightful testing.

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