When sales take a hit, most webmasters pull up site traffic data to figure out what could have gone wrong. This seems like a reasonable approach, except traffic isn’t the only thing that should be considered. One aspect that’s just as important but is often overlooked is how much you’re converting from your current traffic.
Different firms have varying definitions for conversion. For example, an online retailer would consider making a sale as converting on a user, while a blog site would view users signing up to be newsletter subscribers as converting on their traffic. Regardless of what course of action you’re hoping your audience will take, one thing that will help you get there is multivariate testing.
(Courtesy of Rob Enslin)
Multivariate testing is an online marketing test method that involves the presentation of two different options of a website to actual site visitors. It’s similar to A/B testing in this sense. However, both methods differ in the number of elements that are to be modified between the versions used in every test run.
Multivariate tests are designed to test out different designs on a new website or modifications on existing ones in order to determine which version the site users prefer.
The method has been around for quite a while now and is actually being used by a number of big-name firms to improve the look and feel of their websites to increase conversions and enhance their users’ experience at the same time.
The goal of most websites is to make a profit or raise income to keep the site or business running. In order to do this, the site visitors, who are the potential customers here, should be able to get a satisfying experience from using the site, as well as have their needs met.
The first step to conducting a multivariate test is to determine which elements on the site are to be tested. It’s recommended that you do a general assessment of your entire site and make a list of all the elements you want to modify and improve. Group them together into batches so you can run tests that tackle one group of elements at a time.
The next part of the process is to design the variations that you will be using in the multivariate tests. They can range from slightly distinct to extremely different, depending on the options you have in mind for your site. When these are ready, it’s time to actually run the tests.
You can have a third-party firm take care of the tests or use a tool like Google’s Website Optimizer to help you do the tests and run analytics yourself. The duration of the test will depend on the amount of traffic that your site gets. In other words, you can run it for a shorter period of time if you have a lot of people visiting your site on a daily basis.
Go through the results once the test has concluded, and determine which site variation performed better based on the data gathered. Implement the changes on the actual site, and run another test to optimize even more portions of your website.
The bottom line is, multivariate testing is crucial and necessary once you have a high volume traffic website. If you’re selling something on your website and you’re getting a lot of traffic, then you’ve gotten through the hard part, but tracking it’s just as crucial. Which is why this method will basically help you realize what needs to be changed because even fonts on your website matter, so it’s best to realize which one works better and you may have to repeat the process to perfect it entirely. So don’t neglect the tracking process with these methods. They may not even be just to convert your traffic into sales, but simply just to get your visitors to click in a certain area of your blog or website. I hope this helps readers with their internet marketing endeavors.
To learn more about Multivariate testing, we recommend reading Experiment!: Website conversion rate optimization with A/B and multivariate testing.
Ruben Corbo is a freelance writer that writes about technology, gaming, music, and online marketing especially topics about A/B Testing and multivariate testing. Ruben is also an avid gamer and music composer for short films and other visual arts.
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Hi good article Ruben. To bad Google’s Website Optimizer is not around anymore. The new version is Google Analytics Content Experiments and does not offer multivariate testing (MVT) anymore. So if your looking to setup a MVT see many tools on http://whichmvt.com or try ours at Convert.com
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