Brandets Insights

A/B Testing Ethics Can’t Be Ignored

June 17, 2019, Written by 0 comment

Every company tries to boost its business by reaching out to its consumers in one way or the other. Advertising one’s business through emails was common some years ago, and while it is still practiced today, there are many other ways to improving your webpages or attract more traffic to your website.

A/B testing has proved itself to be one of the easiest and best ways to understand more about your costumers and improve your brand accordingly. In this simple method, you put two different designs side by side and test them in the real world, and then compare the results to decide which changes to make. But due to its effectiveness, A/B testing has become a little too common today and people are being used as test subjects every day without even knowing about it. This begs questions to be asked about whether A/B testing ethics can or can’t be ignored.

Facebook’s Recent Experiment on People’s Moods:

Facebook, the website that receives a huge amount of controversial press, has crossed yet another line recently. The people at Facebook decided to try and manipulate people’s moods by showing them more positive or negative stories on their New Feeds. They used this experiment on 689,003 users and deduced the results on the basis of what the users posted after going through their News Feed, whether a happy feed made them happy or a depressing feed made them sad.

While the experiment didn’t provide any concrete results at all, it gave rise to an uproar. People don’t like being manipulated like this without any sort of consent at all and Facebook didn’t even seek the approval from the Ethics Board. This was a type of A/B testing that shows that the ethics related to this method just can’t be ignored.

Dangers that such Experiments Pose:

Without asking for consent or notifying people, Facebook could have potentially negatively altered the News Feed of someone with severe depression. This can lead to things like suicide in some cases. Other people can also get depressed even when their News Feed is made happier, because they realize that their life isn’t as good as other people.

Recommendations to Ensure Ethical Behavior:

There is a need for companies to ensure ethical use of A/B testing. We are made subjects to A/B testing every day in multiple ways, but some limits should be made in the customers’ best interests.

  • An option to opt out of such experiments that play directly with people’s moods or feelings should be provided.
  • The Federal Trade Commission that audits privacy settings for many companies like Facebook should add a layer of ethics it its policies.
  • Companies should properly train and educate their scientists about the ethics related to A/B testing so that they can design these experiments in ways that are more safe and compassionate to the people.

These are just some ways in which we can make sure that A/B testing doesn’t prove to be emotionally or physically harmful to someone. These ethics can’t be ignored anymore and consumers and companies need to work together in order to find a middle ground so that the advancement of technology doesn’t put people’s privacy and feelings at risk.

A/B Testing for Mobile

Online businesses are always trying to change their websites for the better. They try to alter their webpages in ways that will increase traffic and lead to more sales. There are multiple ways in which they can determine which changes to make, but one of the most effective is the simple yet ingenious method of A/B testing.

A/B testing is a method through which you make two different models for the same page and then test them against each other simultaneously so that you can figure out which one works better. A/B testing is being used by many companies today and with the advances in mobile technology, the future of smartphone-based A/B testing is becoming a reality.

Why A/B Testing?

There are only a few ways that produce anything near to concrete results for companies trying to make positive changes to their online webpages, and A/B testing is one of them. It takes two distinct design solutions and lets users interact with them so that companies can see which one catches more attention. This gives them with quantitative data and they can clearly see which set of changes lead to more traffic and sales. Testing one’s page again and again helps generate more revenue while providing more information about the users and keeps the page evolving constantly.

Meet Optimizely – The Mobile A/B Testing Platform:

Optimizely is one of the most known online platforms that help companies in performing A/B tests. The platform’s success can be seen through the number of customers it has attracted since its launch. Optimizely has seen 8000 customers from all over the globe so far with 7 billion visitor experiences.

As the next big step, the online A/B testing platform has decided to go mobile. Optimizely understands that mobile technology has made itself a huge part of our lives today and companies need to be able to perform their A/B tests on the go. With this move, the platform has made it clear that A/B testing for mobile is today’s reality, and this is the way to make this marketing technique more accessible to the customers.

In order to really kick start their mobile version, Optimizely is offering free starter plans to companies and letting them experiment with A/B testing before they decide to choose it as their permanent testing platform.

A/B testing might be a seemingly simple process but Optimizely’s earnings of $88.2 million in just a few years suggests how effective it can be. With the move to take their services to the smartphone world, they have just gone one step ahead to making their services more accessible and profitable.

Optimizely is currently offering their mobile services on iOS alone, and will soon take their services to Android as well. This will help more and more users to try out the platform and learn in a more hands-on way how A/B testing works.

Mobile technology has changed the way our world works, and the corporate portion of it is no different. More and more companies today are taking their services mobile, so it makes sense to help them control their webpage’s success through mobile-based platforms. Optimizely has done exactly that and is trying to show the world that A/B testing for mobile is the new reality of today’s technological world.