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hybrid experimentation

What exactly is a “hybrid experiment?”

June 23, 2022
Reading time: 
10 minutes

A hybrid experiment is a server-side test that benefits from key client-side capabilities without relying on a developer. While developers are required to build the test, they are not needed to code tracking, pull in external segments for targeting purposes, or to configure integrations to third-party tools.

Hybrid experimentation is only possible on a unified testing platform, meaning its client and server-side capabilities are built on the same architecture. Kameleoon is the only experimentation platform that offers teams the ability to build hybrid experiments.

FAQs about hybrid experimentation

1. What is so useful about hybrid experimentation?

In most organizations, development resources are scarce.

While marketers and product marketers (PMs) think in terms of conversion rate optimization (CRO) and growth key performance indicators (KPIs), developers concentrate on delivering value to customers through strictly controlled release cycles. The latter can make it difficult to reliably schedule or predict when developer bandwidth will be available to build server-side tests.

As a result, growth and product teams are sensitive to enlist and rely on developers for their optimization needs. Hybrid experimentation increases server-side test velocity by not needing to ask a developer to code tracking, set up integrations to third-party tools like email solutions, or pull in external segments.

Simply put, it makes server-side testing easier.

2. If you offer client and server-side experimentation, aren’t you “hybrid?”

Many platforms say they offer client and server-side experimentation. They may claim they are integrated because both test types show up in a single dashboard, for example.

While the platform may offer the ability to build both a client or a server-side A/B test, since the architectures of each are different, it can not create a hybrid experiment.

Having two separate user interfaces (UI) or solutions for client and server-side experimentation exacerbates “silo tension” between teams. It forces growth teams and PMs to use developer resources not only to build the test, but to bring in external segments and send the results to external solutions for analysis and activation. Since teams can not easily utilize their existing martech and segments for server-side testing, the ROI of the experimentation program can be threatened.

Finally, teams that do not work on a unified platform will likely have to use one UI for client-side and another for server-side A/B testing. The data model or statistical methodology for each test type is often not the same, making it hard for the organization to have a single “source of truth.”

A single, unified platform not only allows users to build hybrid experiments, it can pull teams together and increase the overall ROI of an experimentation program.

3. Are developers still needed for hybrid experimentation?

Yes, absolutely. Developers code the server-side experiment. But with hybrid experimentation, they do not need to configure code for analytics tracking or set up third-party integrations. Once developers configure the hybrid test, anyone can iterate on and analyze it. Marketers or PMs can activate data derived from the server-side test without relying on the developer.

4. Can I use my preferred analytics tools even though the experiment runs server-side?

Yes, you can use your preferred analytics tools, including, but not limited to, Google Analytics, Contentsquare, and Mixpanel without relying on a developer if the platform, like Kameleoon, offers hybrid experimentation.

5. How do I know if hybrid experimentation is right for my team?

There are three main scenarios where hybrid experimentation is likely right for you.

Teams looking to scale experimentation. You are already running sophisticated client-side tests and want to leverage the capability and benefits of server-side experimentation.

For product managers who want a faster test velocity. You are a product manager and want to run server-side or “feature experiments” more quickly and easily.

Busy development teams. With hybrid experimentation, developers save a lot of time not having to manage experiments and integrations to third-party tools. If marketing and PMs team want to be more self-sufficient running server-side tests, then hybrid is advantageous.

Hybrid is less advantageous for those teams that rely on a single suite of solutions for all their analytic, activation, and data needs. It’s best for companies who build best-of-breed tech stacks.

Are you ready for hybrid experimentation? Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • Are developer resources constrained to where you need to be judicious in requesting support for your experimentation needs?
  • Do you already rely heavily on third-party analytics tools or other solutions for your client or server-side experiments?
  • Do you often build tests targeted to custom segments or cohorts stored in your CDP or data layer?
  • Would it be helpful if you could build server-side tests and then optimize them using a client-side graphic or code editor?

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should investigate hybrid experimentation.

How does Kameleoon Hybrid work?

Kameleoon is a unified experimentation platform with a large library of updated server-side SDKs, which are required for server-side experimentation. It is the only platform on the market with a single architecture designed to build client and server-side tests. As a result, Kameleoon customers use Kameleoon HybridTM to create hybrid experiments. Kameleoon HybridTM is a part of Kameleoon’s Full Stack solution.

Building a hybrid test is easy and straightforward

Just like you would create any test, you can create a hybrid experiment on Kameleoon. To create a hybrid experiment, please see this user manual article. We’ve summarized the steps below.

Select “Build a Hybrid test” from the code-based test options. Choose to build a hybrid test after installing the relevant SDK that supports your backend programming language. See all Kameleoon SDKs here.

After developers build the test, target the hybrid test using your external segments. Our Hybrid solution lets you retrieve third-party audiences from your other martech tools and target them in server-side experiments without requiring a developer to jump in and code the integration. This is made possible thanks to the External Segment Sync.

Choose your KPIs and goals. Have the data sent to your preferred analytics solution. Take action on server-side experimentation results by syncing the data to your analytics, customer data, and messaging tools.

Edit the test using a graphic editor, if relevant and helpful. You can add additional changes to your server-side experiment using our client-side solution without asking your developer to release a new code in production. You can, for instance, inject CSS/JS on top of your server-side experiment or even use our graphic editor to make quick updates. This is one of the perks of Kameleoon HybridTM.

Break down the results on the Kameleoon reporting page, or in your preferred analytics solution. With Kameleoon HybridTM, you will get 25+ breakdown reports and filters normally only available for client-side testing for your server-side test. The reporting will generate insights about how your customer segments interacted with your server-side experiments. This feature comes out of the box, with no additional coding.

 


Ready to get started? See this step-by-step guide on how to build a hybrid experiment.

Request a demo to see how Kameleoon HybridTM can make server-side testing easier for your program. See how it works.

Questions? Curious? We'd love to hear from you. Please reach us at product@kameleoon.com

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