Building a Foundation for More Flexible A/B Testing: Applications of Interim Monitoring to Large Scale Data
Volume 21, Issue 2 (2023): Special Issue: Symposium Data Science and Statistics 2022, pp. 412–427
Pub. online: 21 April 2023 Type: Statistical Data Science Open Access
15 December 2022
15 December 2022
17 April 2023
17 April 2023
21 April 2023
21 April 2023
The use of error spending functions and stopping rules has become a powerful tool for conducting interim analyses. The implementation of an interim analysis is broadly desired not only in traditional clinical trials but also in A/B tests. Although many papers have summarized error spending approaches, limited work has been done in the context of large-scale data that assists in finding the “optimal” boundary. In this paper, we summarized fifteen boundaries that consist of five error spending functions that allow early termination for futility, difference, or both, as well as a fixed sample size design without interim monitoring. The simulation is based on a practical A/B testing problem comparing two independent proportions. We examine sample sizes across a range of values from 500 to 250,000 per arm to reflect different settings where A/B testing may be utilized. The choices of optimal boundaries are summarized using a proposed loss function that incorporates different weights for the expected sample size under a null experiment with no difference between variants, the expected sample size under an experiment with a difference in the variants, and the maximum sample size needed if the A/B test did not stop early at an interim analysis. The results are presented for simulation settings based on adequately powered, under-powered, and over-powered designs with recommendations for selecting the “optimal” design in each setting.
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