Advanced Machine Learning, Data Mining, and Online Advertising Services
If you are running a B2B business, you know the traffic to your website is an order of magnitude less than B2C counterparts (e.g. a few hundreds daily visitors). The low-traffic nature of B2B websites introudces several challenges to product/marketing development. Here, we discuss the challenges and try to propose alternative solutions to adress the issue.
Let's say you have a coin and you want to find out if one flips the coini, what's the chance of seeing head. You can take an experimental approach by flipping the coin several times and recording the results of each test. At the end, you compute the percentage of heads to model Pr(Head).
Since this is a random experiemnt, we need to have a tool by which we can measure the uncertainty of our calculations. The Law of large numbers and Central limit theorem provide a framework to formulate the uncertainty.
If you filp a coin N times and observe head S times, you estimate the head probabilty as follows:
Pr(Head) = S/N
Intuitively, one expects that the larger the N is more confident we will be in our estimation. By the Central Limit Theorem, when N is large enough, the probability distribution of the random variable p=S/N is approximated by a Normal distribution with mean p and variance pq/N where: q = 1 - p. Suppose we want to be 95% confident in our p estimation. One can show that for given S and N pair, the estimated p falls in the following range with 95% confidence:
Suppose in N(=1000) trials we had S(=590) successes. Then, p=S/N=590/1000=0.59 and the confidence interval for the estimated p is:
Thus, with 95% chance p falls in the following interval which is tight:
Now, for the second example let's assume you have two variations of landing pages on your website that you want to test in order to find out which version has a higher conversion rate. Let's assume that your website is getting 200 visitors per day. Thus, for the A/B testing, each LP's version gets 100 visitors per day in average. Let's say after one day, you get 3 conversions on the version A and 2 conversion on the second version. One can calculate the 95% confidence interval for version A as shown below:
Similarly, the 95% confidence interval for the version B is shown below:
You right away see the issue. The confidence intervals of two tests overlap and we clearly don't have a winning version due to low traffic. How many samples do you need to be confident in picking the best-converting LP? The rough answer is in order of thousands. For a low-traffic B2B website, this means we need to wait in order of days before being able to make any concrete optimization conclusion. Note that for a proper A/B test you change one design or copy element of your LP at a time. So testing a number of elements in a LP makes the test to last even longer!
We face similar challenges when running advertising campaigns, optimizing landing pages or testing a new feature for a B2B product. However, there are some intelligent alternatives to approach this problem. For one B2B client we needed to run many experiments with real users where we showed them new features for evaluation. We quickly noticed A/B testing is not an option when we're testing with a limited number of users.
We changed our experiments methodology to be more qualitative than quantitative. This means that we needed to ask thoughtful questions from users to capture their thinking model and emotions on presented features. We started capturing users feedback in more qualitative way by focusing on positive & negative feedbacks. Optimizing the product while focusing on elements that users liked/disliked help product deveopment move towards [global] optimal point.
Let us know if you have had similar experience during your product development cycles and how you approached it in the comment section.