Multivariate Testing vs A/B Testing
In general, businesses use multivariate testing and A/B split testing to evaluate the way their web pages and advertisements are performing.
Although these types of tests are similar in some ways, they are very different in others. That’s why it’s important to understand each.
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A/B split testing
We’ll start with A/B split testing, since A/B tests are more common.
An A/B split test includes multiple variations of one element on your site. But it’s critical that you only alter that one element so you can properly attribute any changes in data to it.
For instance, let’s consider a web page that’s selling picture frames. A web developer may want to conduct a test between two headlines: “Buy Picture Frames” or “Buy Cheap Picture Frames.”
The question to be answered is whether the word “cheap” makes any difference when it comes to conversions. Two landing pages are developed, and the results are tracked.
After an appropriate number of people go through the split test, the developer compares the results of the tests against one another. The developer then decides which headline to use based on the results.
Multivariate testing uses the basic elements of A/B testing, but it tests multiple parts of your page at one time.
Going back to our last example, that means you could test the headline of a page along with the layout of the products you offer.
That makes multivariate testing great for site overhauls and other major changes online. You can use it to see which newly-made pages get the best response from your audience without testing single elements at a time.
Heat maps are also helpful in this kind of testing so you can see where people click the most as they’re on your page. With that information, you can alter your variations on each page even further for better results.
Which Is Better: A/B or multivariate testing?
A/B tests and multivariate tests each have their pros and cons.
Let’s take a look at both:
Pros: With multivariate testing, you don’t have to wait to test many variables. You can test them all at once, giving you the opportunity to get faster results.
Cons: Multivariate testing is good for large-scale projects, but it won’t help you refine an existing page.
Pros: You can immediately tell what variations of a single element work best on a page. Often, one variable will be noticeably better than the other(s).
Cons: A/B testing requires that you systematically weed out all the variables you’re considering by positioning them against each other. You can’t test multiple variables on your page at one time, as you do in multivariate testing.
Deciding which works for you
Although multivariate testing and A/B split testing each have their pros and cons, choosing which one to use depends on your needs.
Are you looking to refine your current pages for better conversions? Then A/B tests are the way to go.
Are you testing whole new pages on your site after a sweeping redesign? Then multivariate tests will show you what you need to know.
It’s also important to note that these tests aren’t just once-and-done things for your site. You can — and should — continually improve your site to get the best possible results from every page.
This is important because you’re never really done with optimization. It’s an ongoing process that requires time, effort, and know-how to make everything work the way you want.
But the payoff of that work can be incredible. Just changing something like your URL format could result in a conversion increase, even without touching the page.
The point is that you never know what might make your site convert more customers until you test it. That’s why testing is so valuable to companies online, especially B2B companies that rely on leads and B2C companies that sell directly over the Internet.
So if you want to get more customers and make sure every page you own is getting you results, determine which testing style works for you and then give it a shot.
You’ll probably find something great.
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WebFX knows multivariate and A/B testing
At WebFX, we have a team of testing experts who know exactly how to determine the effectiveness of your site elements and emails. They use these tests to improve and refine your marketing strategies, so you can get more leads, customers, and brand awareness online. We’ve used both kinds of testing for our clients in the past — and we’ll do the same for you.
Contact us today to lay out a testing strategy for your company!
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