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Nneka Otika
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Can A/B Testing Hurt Your Business? 4 Ways Using the Wrong A/B Testing Tool Can Hurt Your Business

May 27, 2020 –

Are you aware that marketers spent a third of their marketing budgets on Martech in 2019?

Gartner Inc reports that marketers are investing more in marketing technology to achieve improved efficiency and increased ROI. It comes as no surprise that optimization, personalization and experimentation tools have received more investments in recent years. The number of companies who prioritized CRO as part of their budget rose from 53% in 2017 to nearly 58% in 2018. And that number grew even further in 2019.

Since A/B testing remains the most common type of test optimization teams run, A/B testing tools get a huge chunk of that increased Martech investment. The choice of an A/B testing tool is a delicate affair as using the wrong tool can mean increased spending that doesn’t translate to an increase in revenue.

It may not be immediately obvious that your company is bleeding money and time.

Here are some hidden costs to using the wrong A/B testing tool:

Reduced Marketing Effectiveness

An optimization program is usually designed to achieve marketing goals like reduce churn, increase revenue, improve user experience etc. A great A/B testing tool powers optimization. A wrong testing tool can make it hard to be effective in achieving these goals.

A wrong CRO tool may just be one with tons of features you are currently underutilizing. A 2019 Gartner study says while investment in Martech has grown, 42% of marketers in the UK and North America are still underutilizing their marketing stack. Optimization and personalization tools are notoriously underutilized because many marketers believe they are difficult to use even though they are effective.

This belief stems from many marketers opting for an integrated suite approach with A/B testing tools. Such tools come with a wide range of features, which may sound amazing on paper, but are rarely used. This may be because some of their features are already present in other tools in your stack or just not relevant enough for your marketing goals. Gartner reports that marketing teams who used an integrated approach spent $1.4 million more than teams that used Martech tailored to their specific needs.

Not only is paying for more features than you need wasteful, it also reduces your marketing effectiveness. Integrated suite tools are usually complex with steep learning curves that impede marketers from using the tool fully to increase ROI, reduce churn, improve user experience and more. Marketers who used an integrated suite approach to their marketing technology were only 28% effective in achieving marketing goals compared to 45% for marketers who chose tools tailored exactly to their unique needs.

Loss of Valuable Traffic

Just like foot traffic is important to brick and mortar stores, web traffic is vital to online companies. There are over 4.5 billion people using the internet worldwide. These people are the target of most marketing actions online. Companies use SEO and PPC to entice web traffic to their websites, hoping to sell to them. These techniques are so effective and in demand that PPC expenditure surpassed $10 billion in 2017 while SEO services are expected to hit $80 billion this year in the US alone!

Chances are your team is using either SEO, PPC, or even both to drive traffic to your website. Your efforts and resources expanded on driving traffic may all be in vain, if you’re using the wrong A/B testing tool.

A/B testing tools are not created equal. Some may impact your website’s load time.

top 8 fastest A/B testing tools
Source: CXL

Page speed is important as it affects conversions, organic rankings and user experience. When testing on a page, your A/B testing tool can increase page load time. A Google study found that a second delay in mobile page speed can reduce conversions by as much as 20%. With over 3 billion people using their smartphones to access the internet, faster mobile page speed is more important than ever before.

Another area where your A/B testing tool could cost you hard earned traffic is flash of original content. This flicker occurs when visitors to test pages see the original page before the test variation is loaded. Some testing tools load their script asynchronously to reduce their impact on your page speed. But this can cause flickering. Visitors will leave if they keep experiencing this, as no one enjoys being tested on without permission. CRO tools like Convert Experiences with its SmartInsert™ Technology not only eliminates flicker, but also has little impact on page speed.

Increased Operating Costs

Whether a Fortune 500 company or a mom & pop shop, keeping operating costs down is a goal of every business. Be it reducing unproductive time, interruptions or labor costs, businesses want to keep overhead costs down.

This can be hard to accomplish when you spend hours weekly trapped on the phone trying to reach the right support agent to fix an issue with your testing tool. The time spent on calls to support reduces your overall productivity and costs your company money. Gallup reports that unproductivity costs companies $7 trillion globally every year.

Labor costs contribute to 70% of operation costs for businesses. Every time you pull a developer away from their responsibilities and tie them up with complicated testing tool set-ups, you are driving up operation costs. Think about overtime pay spent so devs can work on integrating your new CRO tool with your current Martech stack.

A testing tool that requires extensive dev resources right out of the box with unresponsive support agents will increase your operating costs significantly.

Privacy and Data Risks

This figure goes up when broken down on a country-by-country basis. In the US, the cost to a business that experiencesa data breach is $8.19 million. With the EU’s data protection law (GDPR) in place, the cost of a data breach is now much higher. Companies who process any data from EU citizens will have to comply fully with GDPR lest they risk steep fines. In 2019, France’sdata protection agency fined Google $57 million for data breaches. Just recently in Spain, a smallcafe was fined €1,500 for violating a section of GDPR by the AEPD, Spain’s data regulatory agency.

Experimentation tools collect data about visitors seeing your variations. Is this data anonymized? Does it fully comply with GDPR standards? If your A/B testing tool collects and stores personally identifiable information about visitors (especially from the EU), it can open your business up to fines, which may range from thousands to millions of dollars. AGDPR compliant testing tool is the only way to be sure that your business faces no liability in collecting, storing and handling visitors’ data in the event of a data breach.

Conclusion

The wrong A/B testing tool doesn’t just cost your company money, it can also cost you money and open your company up to liabilities. A tool that you can tailor to your needs with minimal impact on page speed and 4 times faster than industry average support response is what you need.

That tool has a name: Convert Experiences. Try it for 15 days for free. No credit cards required.

Originally published May 27, 2020 - Updated June 19, 2020

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