Multivariate and A/B testing are two methods used to test many ideas on how to improve the market perception of your product or service simultaneously. In internet marketing A/B testing is usually done to see which of two types of content is more effective. Multivariate testing, on the other hand, allows for the testing of an unlimited number of options simultaneously. Multivariate testing can help a webmaster understand which content or website design is more effective in improving potential customers’ conversion rate. Used properly both multivariate and A/B testing can be quite helpful in tracking and understanding the behaviour of visitors to a website.
Multivariate and A/B testing yield accurate results because all the variations offer the same information and options. The only thing that changes is how the material is presented. For a website owner this information can be invaluable. It can allow them to present their products and services in a manner that has proven to be most attractive to customers. This can result in increased sales or registrations or whatever the means of conversion is. Using these two forms of testing can save the website owner time and make them a lot more money.
More detailed information can be found on the Maxymiser website if you want more detailed descriptions of A/B testing and multivariate testing.
Why run these tests?
The multivariate and A/B testing concepts are being used increasingly by businesses on the internet because they work. Whatever means one uses to get potential clients to one’s website, knowing what configuration is most likely to make them commit is essential. Increasing the flow of potential customers to your website is important; but without a high rate of conversion it is meaningless. Your marketing dollar will have been wasted if visitors to your website are not motivated to convert. Knowing exactly what makes them convert is like owning a license to print money. Multivariate and A/B testing allows you to gather this valuable information.
How can bloggers use these techniques?
Many bloggers will not have given too much thought to multivariate or A/B testing and often become preoccupied with driving traffic to their sites. Whilst this is important there’s little point getting lots of traffic if you are not achieving your goals (for examples sake we will assume that your aim is to make money from your blog). First identify what actions you are looking for visitors to achieve on a page of your site; for example this could be to click on an AdSense advert or a newsletter sign-up button. Next decide what you want to test by changing different elements of the page. Using the example of a newsletter sign-up this can include size, colour and placement of the sign-up button on the page, images used, titles and content on the page. A/B testing is the easiest method to get started with, by changing one of these elements on your page each time you can see which version works best. It’s often worth making big changes to start with then fine tuning these once you find the winner from the initial A/B test. If you manage to increase newsletter sign-ups from 0.5% to 1% then this will mean twice as many sign-ups and twice as many new, potential customers to promote products of services to in your newsletters.
Thankfully running A/B testing is not as complicated as it used to be and can be carried out free of charge using Google’s Website Optimizer. Google include lots of useful tutorial videos so it’s easy to get started.
Being able to increase the rate of conversion of visitors to one’s website can mean the difference between success and failure for any blogger or online business. Using A/B or multivariate testing can be an important key to success and should not be ignored.
This article is by Richard Patterson, a freelance online marketer who writes about all aspects of online marketing including SEO, PPC and landing page optimisation.