A/B testing comes out of the closet

One of the best kept secrets of web success, A/B testing, is ever so slowly sneaking out of the closet. In the last week or two we’ve seen Google’s very public A/B test and now Twitter has come out of the closet with a range of sign-up variations being tested. It seems that a new sport of “spotting testing” is taking off – so maybe rather than everyone having to test everything we could sit and watch and see what wins elsewhere and simply copy the successful stuff?

The copy approach could certainly work, it would be certainly cheap and (sort of) embraces the “crowdsourcing” philosophy that is gaining traction. However, if you are only as good as the next guy then you are simply “keeping up with the neighbours”. It’s not going to give you a competitive advantage unless your competitors are blind; which many probably still are.

True innovation, tested properly, can give a company competitive advantage if properly implemented – so real thought-leading organisations need to plough their own development and testing furrow whilst keeping an eye out for what others (not just competitors) are doing.

Not testing yet? You’re screwed, probably, even if you’re not screwed you’re certainly handicapping your marketing efforts.