An Introduction to Multivariate Testing

As a business owner, you’re probably wondering how you can get the most from the visitors to your website. You have a solid website that is designed-well, but how do you know your customers are reacting positively towards it? Multivariate testing is popular among internet marketers in that it tests the efficiency of various creative/content executions on a website.group

 

Gone are the days where you have to rely on focus groups or telephone surveys. With multivariate testing, you can ascertain the effectiveness of content and offers in a simple, easy to understand format. In this article I will break down the components of Multivariate Testing and show you the benefits of employing these techniques to your website.

 

Multivariate Testing

Essentially, multivariate testing allows you to identify different sections/factors on a page which effect conversion rate. Different variations of those factors are created, which are then combined to give rise to multiple different versions of the website. Although multivariate testing takes longer than A/B testing, it’s likely to produce better results.

Benefits

Benefits exist through the use of multivariate testing. They include:

  • Solving your website issues by replacing subjectivity and guesswork with decisions based on data.
  • Budget savings and removal of the risks normally associated with (unqualified) design changes.
  • Testing as many variables as you like means you may catch something you otherwise wouldn’t have through conducting A/B testing.

Subsequently, learning about the effects of 10, 20, or 30 changes in the same timeframe allows the company to learn about changes in the marketplace more quickly – giving them a leg up over the competition.

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Designing for Increasing Desire and Taking Action

Online readers/shoppers/thrill-seekers are looking for one thing no matter where they go: value. The higher perceived value someone gets from a site, the more likely they are to stay, shop around, subscribe, and come back.

Increasing the desire to look around, shop, follow, and take other action should be the main goal of the website. One thing to watch out for is being too much of salesperson to your readers. More often than not, readers are looking for an easy way to sign up and less of a sales pitch. Multivariate testing helps accomplish this, by finding the desired layout and calls to action that viewers are looking for.

You have a unique product, something that should speak to your readers/viewers/visitors in the right way. Determining the right tone and verbiage to use helps visitors gladly choose your website over someone else’s.

What Else Should I Test?

Calls to action are just one piece of the puzzle. You should also test:

  • Headings
  • Sub-headings
  • Opening paragraph
  • Images
  • Offers
  • Hyperlinks
  • Submit button
  • The location of different elements
  • Colors

When Should I Test?

The standard practice is to start multivariate testing after your site launches and has a bit of regular traffic coming in. This traffic will determine just who is coming to your site, the bounce rate, the pages they are visiting, and how long they’re staying. A great indicator of what needs to be tested first is the least trafficked page on your site. Google Analytics is a helpful tool in understanding these metrics.

The benefit of a designer doing multivariate testing is that you will get a feel of what elements work and what one’s won’t. This takes a lot of the guesswork away from the design process, ensuring the elements you later employ in your design are ones that produce measurable results.

Setting Up a Multivariate Test

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Google’s Website Optimizer is the easiest way to see the effects that making changes to page elements has on your conversion rate. Best of all, this user-friendly tool is free. Here’s how to set up a test:

  • Define which pages to test
  • Define what elements to test
  • Add tags to the original page, the variation page and the conversion pages to allow tracking.

Enter the website URLs you are testing into the Google Website Optimizer.

Access results on Google Website Optimizer to see which variant is the most successful.

Conclusion

The success of a website can really only be measured quantitatively in the results it brings the site. Data is the indicator of a problem while the design of a website will fix it. Multivariate testing is a tool to engage just how effective the design of your website is. Take these ideas into account while measuring the effectiveness of your own website.

Blake Sanders is a high speed internet enthusiast and online marketer who writes about behavioral targeting for the Maxymiser multivariate testing company.

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