Default Banner

To A/B Test or To Personalize?

A/b testing or website personalization?

To A/B test or to Personalize?These are two separate concepts each geared to deliver more effective marketing.

Let’s examine a few important aspects of these before we go any further.

As is true for most things, a/b testing and personalization also have their unique pros and cons.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is an approach towards making your website/emailer/online ads more effective by testing each aspect of them individually to see what delivers the greatest effectiveness. It’s a process of identifying which combination of elements, placed in what order can deliver the best results.

Even if you have been carrying out a/b testing for years and have tested every element on your site, you can convince yourself that you don’t need website personalization only if your company is a single product/service selling entity and you sell to the same people in the same way, every time. This is a highly unlikely scenario.

With multiple products and services, the task of A/B testing is far more complex, as one can only test one variable at a time. Testing multiple elements, one at a time can be tedious with a high possibility of confusion and errors. However, complexity should not necessarily be a deterrent to effectiveness and the investment of effort is often worth it.

A/B testing builds effectiveness by focusing on what works with various segments of prospects. It looks at what works with the majority in each segment. What it misses out on are commercially important people who are not represented by the majority but possess significant business potential and this is where personalization comes in.


Personalized marketing is about marketing to individuals based on their individual preferences and choices. This helps make them feel more predisposed towards the brand and inclined to buy. Personalized marketing includes personalizing website appearance, information, products, offers etc. This is based on data of the individual’s preferences if he is a regular customer.

But companies can hardly mine lots of data from a first time site visitor and target them with a great personalized experience. It takes time to build that kind of robust, informative database and apply it into your website experience. Sometimes marketers use a combination of individual data and data analytics to predict what the customer will like based on the behavior of other customers who closely resemble the individuals’ profile.

So, you should be using a/b testing, which will help you have a strong foothold with the best performing elements till your database gathers strength.

If you have a large website, it may not be likely to gain so much of traffic that you have sufficient data to personalize every page/section. In such a case, a/b testing is useful which helps to optimize specific points on your site.

Personalizing your website without a/b testing is like being a brand that is very interactive and friendly but does not know what its customers like.

Website personalization lets you can target every unique individual audience member. If you have your user personas down right, you can easily target almost everyone in your target audience by embedding their personas in your website.

What we suggest is that you take up both a/b testing and personalization. What do you think about a/b testing vs. personalization?

Team Position2

April 9, 2014

By Team Position2