4 Steps to Effective Multivariate Testing

by elijah.parfitt on March 15, 2012

Multivariate Testing

Do you wonder how your website is really performing? You put alot of time into making it resonate with your audience, but how can you be sure it’s giving you the results you’re looking for?

Through multivariate testing you can track how visitors are responding to particular elements or the website in whole. How is this process done so you can be sure you’re getting the most out of your online marketing efforts?

Let’s briefly review so you can begin multivariate testing effectively.

1. Identify Goals
You’ll want to approach multivariate testing from the top down. What is the overarching goal(s) you’re trying to achieve with your website, email marketing campaign, banner ads, or paid placement campaigns. Some challenges that can be solved with multivariate testing include:

Optimizing purchases and sales, converting a higher percentage of visitors to customers.

Improving sign-up rate, reducing bounce rate, increasing newsletter subscriptions

Remember that figuring out your goals means your testing efforts will take less time in the long run, with results that are more likely to be statistically sound.

If you’re already testing, it’s not to late to establish business goals. If your website serves multiple goals, such as a blog looking to attract more subscribers, it’s best to clearly define one goal at a time. In any scenario, it’s not possible to receive measurable results until you’ve addressed issues that need resolved, so take the time to identify goals.

2. List Challenges
After listing the goals you want your website to achieve, it’s time to take a step back and generate challenges that may be preventing your website from achieving them and thus the conversion rate you’re after. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, consider the following:

Web Analytics: An excellent tool to gather data on what is going on in terms of visitor activity is through web analytics. Data on referral sources, bounce rates, and search keywords can provide valuable insight.

Self-Evaluation: From your perspective, if your website meeting the demand of your demographic? Is your website striking enough to provide a visitor who has no background information about it a reason to stick around? Improve your website by asking these and other self-critical questions to improve your site.

Focus on the overall user experience and make a list of all the factors that may be influencing a low conversion rate. It may be something as simple as a call to action not placed prominently on the page, or your sign-up form being too long. Chances are your conversions are low on a page and through multivariate testing, you’ll be able to get a clearer understanding of the elements that are affecting the customer experience.


3. Set Up Test

It’s now time to begin testing. Google’s Website Optimizer is a free tool free, basic multivariate testing tool. It’s the easiest way to see how making changes to page elements has on conversion rates. After the test is set up, traffic will be directly evenly amongst the variations. In short, the website will display a specifically chosen variation of one element to the visitor.

But don’t stop after one test – continue to refine your online marketing after a few tests. Even small improvements over time will lead to large improvements. Expectations of customers change over time; the best way to keep up with shifting tastes is to continue to test over time.

4. Anaylze Rsults

Make the most of your testing efforts by analyzing the reports and implementing changes based on them. Google Website Optimizer has great reporting features that allow you to see which variation was most successful.

Are your results statistically significant? You don’t want to read too far into your results when only a few conversions have been reached. The great thing about multivariate testing is it only takes a small sample size to reach a higher confidence level.

This is because multivariate tests only take hundreds per test cell to reach a 95% confidence level, versus thousands for a/b tests. Make sure you’re aware of how these numbers are formed. It can mean the difference between being tricked into incorrect conclusions.

The great thing about multivariate testing is it doesn’t have to stop after one test. You can continue to finesse and fine-tune your website for peak performance and to provide an informative experience for the site’s visitors.


Conclusion

Website testing is becoming commonplace in internet marketing strategies. It essentially enables you to convert based on the traffic you already receive, rather than trying to increase traffic and convert less.

Through these 4 steps you’ll be able to set and run a multivariate test effectively; cutting down on time and energy had you not gone in with a plan, while getting the conversion rates and online customer experiences you’re looking for. Have you experimented with Multivariate testing before?

I’d love to hear your experiences and what parts of your site you tested!

Image Credit: Contactology
 

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Article by Elijah Parfitt

Tech writer EJ Parfitt has been writing for maxymiser and has already picked up steam with several tech and sites . During his free time , you're sure to catch him competing in local chess tournaments in downtown Fort Lauderdale FL .

Elijah has written 1 awesome articles for this blog.

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{ 5 comments }

Mark@SOCIAL METRICS PRO March 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I always look into the Google adwords to check if my website is anywhere is the pages. Because keeping a good track of your business is the key for you find if it is growing or it needs to improve.

Alex@ web hosting hub March 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Online business is the same like any other business. You just cannot ignore the whole market you have to play the game and analyze your business and your competitors.

Microsoft Word March 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Such a great information by you on this topic. I want to learn more about it. It seems like very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Please keep posting.

Guarantor Loans March 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I think Multivariate Testing is a very important part of any small business, I especially agree with the first part about goal setting, I look to set goals regarding SERPs , conversion and bounce rate.

irenelim March 28, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Thanks for sharing, yes, the multivariate testing really important to my small business. I hope with these suggestion, I can improve and increase more visitors.. TQ

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