What is multivariate testing?
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If you’re serious about online profits, you need to be carrying out split tests on your webpages. The results from multivariate testing and A/B split testing can be amazing; increases in revenue of over 100% are not uncommon.
What is a split test?
In a simple split test, different visitors see different versions of one of your pages. For example, some visitors may see the existing version of a page, whereas others see a new version. Split-testing software “keeps score” of which version generates the most conversions. (A conversion can be whatever you want it to be—orders placed, leads submitted, etc.)
Once you have enough data, the software announces which page was the winner. You then promote that page to be the new “champion.”
The test described above would be called an A/B test, because two page versions were tested, Version A and Version B. A test with three page versions would be called an A/B/C test. “A/B/n” is often used as shorthand for a test that has n different page versions.
What is multivariate testing?
Depending on how frequently you get conversions, it can take weeks or months—or longer—to collect enough data to declare a winner. You may get frustrated waiting for one test to finish before you run the next one. If so, multivariate testing may help. It allows you to carry out several A/B/n split tests on different page elements simultaneously. For example, you may choose to test two different headlines whilst testing two different calls to action.
If you haven’t heard of multivariate testing, maybe you know it by another name, such as
- MVT testing.
- Taguchi method (which is a type of multivariate testing).
- The name of one of the software tools, such as Visual Website Optimizer, Optimizely, Adobe Test&Target, Sitespect, and Google Analytics Content Experiments (which is free).
Most of the software tools allow you to carry out both multivariate tests and A/B/n split tests.
Here are some great resources to help you get the best results from multivariate testing software:
- Avinash Kaushik’s book Web Analytics—An Hour A Day contains some solid advice on carrying out split testing. See pages 237–262. Here is one of Avinash’s blog posts about experimentation and testing.
- Marketing Sherpa’s Landing Page Handbook is an intelligently written overview of the subject.
- This article includes an overview of multivariate testing and a list of 108 ways to use it.
- Jonathan Mendez created this good and thorough guide to multivariate testing.
- Our comparison of A/B testing tools should help you to identify the software that’s most suitable for your needs.
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