Multivariate and A/B Testing for Websites, What Is It and Why Do It?

What is A/B Testing? A /B testing establishes one website as a baseline control sample for comparison with other websites. The tests are des...

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing establishes one website as a baseline control sample for comparison with other websites. The tests are designed to improve response rates from visitors. This type of testing is effective with banner advertisements, buttons, images, text, design and landing pages. When website elements such as layouts, images, copy texts and colors are tested through this method, website developers notice significant improvements.

When one website is compared against another, developers and business owners can determine which are most effective. Companies use A/B testing to encourage more people to purchase their product or to encourage more people to subscribe to their website.

What is Multivariate Testing?

Multivariate testing allows testing to occur in a live environment. Web developers may receive results in real time and make adjustments accordingly. The multivariate test is only limited by the amount of time it takes to solicit a statistically valid sample of visitors. Limitless combinations can be tested simultaneously with this method.

Multivariate testing may be used to monitor the checkout process on an ecommerce website. Monitoring the checkout process will essentially tell the client about the conversion rate. During the test, web developers may change the appearance of the landing page or the content on the page to determine if it affects the company’s conversion rate. Certain elements are known to consistently provide the greatest increase in conversions. Companies need to determine which elements work the best with their clientele, product or services.

To test a website dynamically, a dedicated server will be configured to display the variations of the content in proportion to the visitors. Each visitor’s behavior will be studied to determine the best presentation of the material on the website. Many companies choose to outsource these services to allow web developers to change the website information as the information is gathered. Some companies monitor their websites 24 hours per day and seven days per week to maximize the number of visitors and sales conversions. The key with multivariate testing is that it can test multiple elements (e.g. images, heading, buttons) on multiple pages in the same test to work out the best combinations of factors.

What are the Benefits of A/B Testing?

The more visitors that come to the website, the more potential conversions a customer may have. Companies use A/B testing to increase conversions of the current visitors to the website and to maximize their marketing budget. For example, a website that receives 1,000 visits and 50 sign ups per month may want to focus on increasing conversions rather than generating additional visitors to the website. Amazon.com reputedly used A/B testing for years (well before most online marketers even knew what it was), to optimize landing pages and product pages although it is likely they now use more advance methods such as multivariate testing and other methods.

A website that does not yield sales conversions or subscription is not useful to the company. Most people do not launch websites solely to provide information from the public. Most companies want visitors to sign up for a subscription to the site or want the visitor to purchase a product. Businesses that participate in A/B testing and multivariate testing maximize their marketing dollars by providing website presentations that encourage the visitor to buy or commit to the service.

Examples of Testing Tools

Google’s Web Optimizer. Google has a free tool that will help business owners test their blogs and websites for effectiveness. Google’s Web Optimizer is free to all Internet users. Google’s Web Optimizer is an affordable solution to some of the more expensive multivariate testing tools or A/B testing services. Each landing page variation created will require an addition of unique JavaScript code. This tool will also integrate AdWords into the testing methodology.

Optimizely. Optimizely costs website owner’s approximately $19 per month. Users only have to modify their site by adding a small line of code before the closing tag. The data will be available in real time. Google Web Optimizer is not a real-time tool. Thus, Optimizely has the advantage in this capacity.

SumoOptimize. SumoOptimize features a WYSIWYG page editor that offers web owners real time results. This company offers a range in prices to suit the needs of all business owners. A free version of this website is also available if necessary.

Maxymiser: Maxymiser are a company specializing in both multivariate and A/B testing solutions who offer a high level of service with consultants who are experts in increasing conversion rates through testing, website personalization and other means.

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