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Anne Taylor
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Artificial Intelligence in A/B Testing: A Quick Look at What’s Going Down Right Now

May 13, 2020 –

Artificial Intelligence!

AI is the stuff of myths and sci-fi.

Whenever AI is depicted on screen, it is presented as this uber efficient, omniscient entity that can predict the future, alter the present and plot against humanity with consummate skill.

The real state of Artificial Intelligence is drastically different. It is more a complement to established processes than a force that can reinvent the wheel for industries.

But as with anything new and promising, a lot of expectations are riding the AI wave and industries are sending feelers into the world of artificial intelligence, recruiting AI bots to presumably make lives easier.

One such department that is leveraging AI for its myriad advantages concerns itself with online web traffic. The information on ‘how AI is utilized’ or ‘to what extent AI is helpful in conversion rate optimization’, will be discussed in details down below. So without further ado, let us get started!

AI: How Can it Improve Conversion Rates?

Artificial intelligence relies on its machine learning capabilities to make informed decisions. So in this respect it mimics the human ability to get better with time.

Generally speaking, AI relies on two different methods to improve conversion rates across websites; displaying persuasive messages and enhancing A/B testing methodology to derive better results.

When it comes to the former, AI displays pop-ups and other messages that create a sense of urgency and scarcity among the clients. When it comes to the latter, AI with its machine learning abilities allows the traditional A/B testing to surpass over-used techniques.

AI constantly makes use of evolutionary algorithms, data metrics, and predictive algorithms to analyze a web page. This is then followed by a complete breakdown of all the great-performing elements available in that particular webpage. This enables the marketers to create a website that is the amalgamation of all the best-performing features resulting in a massive surge in conversion rates.

What Goes on Under the Hood of an AI Powered Testing Tool?

Artificial Intelligence’s main draw lies in the fact that it improves the productivity of a testing program.

Based on the inputs it is fed AI powered testing tools claim to deliver results with less visitors or traffic than traditional A/B testing solutions.

Plus, AI is capable of grasping the intricacies of multivariate testing (incorporating several changes in one variant) faster than its human optimizer counterparts.

But the A/B testing principles are there. They are at work. The cycles of testing are simply expedited because of the considerable resources at the disposal of AI systems with tremendous computing power.

This is why AI can never completely wipe the discipline of A/B testing out of existence.

AI will always need A/B testing methodology to provide workable insights.

Itching to Try AI Powered A/B Testing?

AI systems are in their nascent stage. There are bound to be bugs and kinks. Take the plunge if:

  • You have more ideas to test out which cannot be tested through A/B testing alone.
  • You are short on time and would like to have better yet faster results.
  • You want to test out a handful of ideas, all at once.
  • Your resources are limited and you have a defined testing schedule.

And when you do so, be ready to come face-to-face with some of the potential downsides.

  • There will be an instant loss of transparency around how changes are chosen for implementation. If you are not a great fan of brainstorming for hypotheses generation, this might seem like a big advantage. However, you might just fall of short of understanding exactly why certain fixes worked.
  • You will be vulnerable to system flaws. Good old traditional A/B testing is a familiar friend. Yet ask any tester about how frustrating the process of not getting why certain features of a tool are not delivering as promised is and you can get an idea of how this feeling will be compounded with AI systems where most of the “thinking and tweaking” will happen behind the scenes.

AI’s Impact on the Industry as a Whole

The incorporation of AI into the Conversion Rate Optimization has piqued the interest of many marketers. Traditional conversion rate optimization has been around for a while now and the honeymoon phase is well and truly over. This discipline is effective but it calls for an investment of time and other resources, plus a willingness to keep at it till you learn the fundamentals and see reliable results.

It’s no small wonder that Artificial Intelligence, with its promise of simplifying everything and introducing an element of automating tedious processes is peaking in terms of the hype around it.

Will AI work? Will it flop? Only time can tell that.

What we do know for sure that the focus shouldn’t waver from identifying accurate channels of user behavioral data that can be fed to AI driven testing tools to build and refine prediction models for crafting hypothesis and determining winning variants.

Humans & AI Testing in Harmony:

The future is not black or white.

Autonomous AI systems iteratively improving websites without human intervention are not here yet. As with everything, humans and AI testing in harmony, filling in gaps and going off of each other’s strengths is a much more likely scenario.

Originally published May 13, 2020 - Updated August 10, 2020

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