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# What is SRM?

#### Introduction

SRM stands for Sample Ratio Mismatch, it is simply a mismatch between the expected number of samples (visitors in the case of A/B testing) between variants.

Let’s say that our site gets around 15k visitors per week. We have 3 variants, the control (which is the original unchanged page), and 2 variations. How much traffic do you expect each one to receive if it was equally allocated? The answer would be that each variant should receive 15,000 / 3 = 5000 visitors, in an ideal world.

Now it is very unlikely that each variant would receive exactly 5000 visitors, but a number very close to that, like 4982, or 5021. That slight variation is normal, and due to simple randomness! But we can intuitively sense that if one of the variants received 3500 visitors and the others around 5000, then something might be wrong for that one!

The SRM test is a test that uses the Chi-square goodness of fit test to test for such problems, instead of using our own “intuition”. It will know for instance if 4850, or 4750 visitors compared to the other number of visitors received are “normal” or not! If there is a big enough variation, our test will trigger at 99% confidence!

As for unequal allocations, SRM tests also work because the respective proportions of allocations are known and taken into account.

You might ask, how often is it “normal” to see an SRM? As explained by Lukas Vermeer in his SRM FAQ, even big tech firms do obverse a natural SRM frequency of 6% to 10% in their experiments.

Now if the SRM repeats more frequently, it warrants a deeper investigation into the experiment design for instance. If you encounter such problems, please do not hesitate to reach out to us, we are always here to help!

For an in depth SRM analysis check also our blog article here.

#### Understanding SRM p-values

SRM p-values indicate the probability of observing a sample ratio mismatch as extreme as or more extreme than the one observed, assuming the null hypothesis (no real mismatch) is true. Lower p-values suggest stronger evidence against the null hypothesis.
Here's how to interpret them:
1. 0.00000: This extremely low p-value (less than 0.00001) indicates very strong evidence of a sample ratio mismatch. It suggests the observed distribution of visitors across variants is highly unlikely to occur by chance.
2. 0.00015: This very low p-value still provides strong evidence of a sample ratio mismatch, though not as extreme as 0.00000. It suggests the observed distribution is unlikely to occur by chance (only about 0.015% probability).
3. 1.00000: This p-value indicates no evidence of a sample ratio mismatch. The observed distribution of visitors across variants is entirely consistent with what would be expected by chance.
In practice, a commonly used threshold for "statistical significance" is 0.05 or 0.01. P-values below these thresholds would typically flag a potential SRM issue that warrants investigation.
Remember that while very low p-values suggest a likely issue, they don't explain the cause. Factors like tracking problems, redirect issues, or genuine differences in how variants load could all potentially cause SRMs.

#### Enable SRM checks for your reports

You can enable the SRM checks on your Project Configuration > More Settings and be able to see the SRM tags on the report itself.

The tag will look like this: