The Surprising Power of Online Experiments

David Steinberg.


One of the hot topics in internet commerce is A/B testing – the use of designed experiments to maximize revenue from web sites. The fact that experimental design is a great way to test ideas should not be a surprise to readers of this column. And many businesses have caught on to the great opportunities offered by testing ideas using designed experiments, rather than relying on opinions and prejudices. Seeing the approach highlighted in an august venue like the Harvard Business Review adds to the prestige of the domain.

The article is very easy reading, with many interesting examples. Kohavi heads the experimentation team at Microsoft and has a wealth of experience with online experiments. Thomke is a professor at the Harvard Business School who specializes in innovation. They make an excellent team for setting out the basics of A/B testing and how it helps promote business. The article is a good read for anyone who wants an introduction to the topic.

Read the paper:
The Surprising Power of Online Experiments. Kohavi, R. Thomke, S. Harvard Business Review, September-October 2017. 

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