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What is Multivariate Testing?

Friday, March 30th, 2012 · Posted by Susan Tatum · in No Comments

Technically – and according to Wikipedia — multivariate testing is a “process by which more than one component of a website may be tested in a live environment”.

To a website owner or application developer, it’s an awesome tool for getting more customers, users or leads.

Why do you need it?

The main objective of your key conversion pages is to get visitors to take action – sign up for a free trial, upgrade to a paid version, subscribe to your newsletter, request a quote … whatever. We know from years of experimenting and sharing results that website visitors’ decision to take action is affected by all kinds of crazy things like colors and fonts and headlines and images, and even the way these elements are positioned on the page.

It’s pretty much unpredictable.

Testing removes the guesswork

The only way to know for sure which combination of elements is going to get the most action is to test all the combinations against each other – showing each version to a portion of your visitors and measuring how many do what you want them to do. Then use that data to pick your winner.

This is multivariate (or multi-variable) testing.

Why is it better than A/B testing?

With A/B testing you test one full page against another. Your experiment is limited in scope by how many pages you want to build.

Multivariate testing allows you to test individual elements in different combinations without having to build actual pages. You are MUCH more likely to find the very best performing combination with this type of testing.