Marc Andreessen once said, “software is eating the world,” and as the rapid pace of innovation on the internet continues, this quote is turning out to be more of a prophecy. While the greater index of internet innovation is apparent on a large scale, the incremental changes that actually lead to improvement are almost imperceivable. So how can you implement a strategy to make these micro adjustments that can result in huge innovation?

 To understand how customers interact with your product or service, it is essential to test and experiment with the user interface and subsequent user experience. Product managers are obsessed with A/B testing and multivariate testing. A/B tests in software are the simultaneous deployment of two variations, or in the case of multivariate tests, many variations, to determine the best possible implementation. The proof of the optimal user experience will be in the data, but what if you don’t consider—or control—external factors.

This is where a control group is vital. A control group is the subgroup of the experiment that does not see any variables change. Control groups are important for statistical significance in the results of an A/B or multivariate test because they ensure that outside forces are not at work to diminish the results.

A/B tests have traditionally been viewed as a fork in the road with only two possible routes. In reality, these tests can be like sailing on the open ocean, with endless possibilities. Multivariate tests are turning A/B testing into “A through Z” testing. CleverTap coined the term A/B/C testing to raise awareness around the importance of a control group within A/B tests.

What are the benefits of including a control group within your testing strategy?

  • A reliable benchmark to measure the real net change in engagement.

  • Indicates whether a new version is actually better than the original.

  • Removes some threat of cognitive biases on behalf of the experimenter.

 The scientific method has been the framework for which nearly every scientific discovery has been made since the dark ages. Cross-disciplinary lessons are what bring enlightenment and progression, which is why it’s important that control groups transcend the physical sciences and become more prevalent in the modern workplace.

 In the visual below, CleverTap has outlined how a control group can be included within your A/B testing strategy and the benefits for its inclusion. Optimizing your testing strategy should be a priority if you want to reveal methods for increasing conversions, sales, and user experience. If you are interested to learn more about automating your mobile marketing strategy, check out CleverTap’s intelligent mobile marketing platform.

What is a control group in A/B Testing

This piece was contributed by:

Drew Page |

Drew is a content marketing specialist from San Diego, CA. He loves learning, writing and playing music. When not working, you can find him in the ocean, in the kitchen or in a book.