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Why You Need to Run Multivariate Tests

Ruban Corbo June 25, 2012

It’s been several years since your website’s last major update. The design is starting to look outdated even though you’re still adding new content every day. You know it’s time for change, but you’re understandably hesitant because things seem to be working out just fine: you’ve got a steady stream of traffic, most of who are recurrent visitors, and the income that you’re getting from your site has been consistent so far.

But this won’t last for long. Keep in mind that change is the only thing that’s constant, especially in the online world. You’ve got to adapt to the trends and keep up with the times by updating, not only in terms of content, but also in design. This is so you can stay relevant among the throng of websites who belong in the same niche as you do.

Where Multivariate Tests Come In

At this point, what you can do is test. Two methods commonly used nowadays is A/B testing and multivariate testing. In both methods, two different versions of a single website are presented to the site’s audience simultaneously. The variation that gets the most clicks, results in the most sales, or has higher conversions is then deemed to be the better version of the two.

The methods vary in the number of elements to be modified. A/B tests specify that only one component can be changed, while any number of variations can be introduced in multivariate tests.

Uses for Multivariate Testing

Multivariate testing is primarily used in website optimization. For this purpose, designers and site administrators test out options for certain design elements and pick which one to use for the final version of the website based on the test results.

Testing is also done for email marketing and advertising campaigns. The goal is to come up with content, designs, and materials that will appeal to the majority of its intended audience in order to deploy a more effective and higher impact campaign.

Source: http://wireframes.linowski.ca/tag/multivariate/

How to Run a Multivariate Test

Below you’ll find the general guidelines that are followed in conducting multivariate tests:

Step 1: Site Survey

A survey of the site is recommended to figure out which elements and components are to be tweaked. Most people make a list at this stage so they can have something to refer to in the later stages of the test.

Step 2: Test Design

Once the elements have been listed down and grouped together according to test batches, the group to run tests on first should be selected. The variations for the chosen elements are then drawn up for use in the test.

Step 3: Multivariate Test Deployment

The multivariate test can be run by hiring a third-party service to take care of the IT aspects. You can also choose to run it yourself by employing tools like Google’s Website Optimizer, which is available for free online.

Step 4: Results analysis

When the test has run its course, run analytics and analyze the results that you were able to obtain. Determine which version performed better based on the criterion that you’re using to gauge the success or effectiveness of your campaign, be it the number of sales or conversions.

Step 5: Implementation

Once you’ve determined which version is better, implement the better variation. When you’re done with that, move on to conduct more tests to further optimize your content.

About Author

Ruban Corbo

This guest post is contributed by Ruben Corbo, a freelance writer that writes about technology, gaming, music, and online marketing where you can read more about product recommendation engines. You can read more about this particular subject at Maxymiser.com as well as traffic to sales converting topics. When Ruben is not writing, he is composing or producing music for short films and other visual arts. View all posts by Ruban Corbo →

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