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A/B Testing Personas Personas

A/B Testing Personas: Using Data-Driven Personas for A/B Testing

The following is a post from the APG Team’s summer 2020 intern, Jaad Mohammed.
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A/B Testing Personas: Using Data-Driven Personas for A/B Testing
A/B Testing Personas: Using Data-Driven Personas for A/B Testing

Once we have created a data-driven personas using the persona creation process, we can then test to determine which of these personas give us better results. We can analyze these results and decide which of our personas should be given more importance while making decisions for design, product improvement, online advertising, design use cases, etc. This is where A/B test comes in handy.

What is A/B testing?

In simple terms. A/B testing is comparing the results of two plans, courses of action, ads, interfaces, or whatever. A/B testing is a user experience research methodology generally used by e-commerce companies to increase their open click rates/site traffic by conducting experiments and making changes based on the outcome of the test.

A/B Testing
A/B Testing Personas: Using Data-Driven Personas for A/B Testing

For our A/B testing, it is two personas. Let’s call the Persona A and Persona B. If Persona A shows more positive results compared to Persona B, it can be concluded that Persona A is a more effective persona.

Here is an scenario that can illustrate the use of personas with A/B testing.

Say, a smartphone company has made a brand-new phone that looks very cool, available in a variety of colors, and comes with the latest high spec hardware in the market. According to the company’s market research, there are two buyer personas that represent the majority of their market audience in almost equal numbers.

  • Persona A: Loves the brand for its integration of the latest hardware.
  • Persona B: Loves the appeal of the phone due to its smart look and color variety.

Now the company wants to decide which of these personas should be targeted in their ad campaigns to successfully attract a higher number of potential customers. For this, the company sets up a stall in two different malls with almost equal numbers of visitors per day. One stall will advertise and promote the looks and colors available for the phone while the other stall promotes the phone’s hardware specifications.

After analyzing the results and understanding the customers’ interests, the company can position its entire marketing campaigns around the persona that brought them more customers.

HubSpot talks about the A/B testing methodology in detail. Saneesh Veetil mentions some points to keep in mind to conduct A/B testing effectively in How to use A/B Testing to Create Buyer Persona.

John Goethert explains his findings on an A/B test he had conducted.

More questions about the value of personas? Read this!

Salminen, J., Jung, S.G., Chowdhury, S. Şengün, S., and Jansen, B. J.  (2020) Personas and Analytics: A Comparative User Study of Efficiency and Effectiveness for a User Identification Task. ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’20), Honolulu, HI, USA. 25–30 April, 1-13.

By Jim Jansen

Dr. Jansen is a Principal Scientist in the social computing group of the Qatar Computing Research Institute, and a professor with the College of Science and Engineering, Hamad bin Khalifa University, and an adjunct professor with the College of Information Sciences and Technology at The Pennsylvania State University. He is a graduate of West Point and has a Ph.D. in computer science from Texas A&M University, along with master degrees from Texas A&M (computer science) and Troy State (international relations). Dr. Jim Jansen served in the U.S. Army as an Infantry enlisted soldier and communication commissioned officer.