Website Conversion Optimization Using A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing

Contrary to the common misconception, building a highly converting website is not a single time exercise. It is not an event. Based on empirical evidence provided by web analytics platforms such as Google Analytics and proven concepts such as the goal of achieving high conversions that requires a layout defined in terms of content, images with a particular website layout to achieve those higher conversions. However, when dealing with prospect-to-client conversions, there is always room for growth and improvement. This continual process of making systematic changes to the website for improving the website performance and increasing the conversions is called ‘conversion optimization.’

Website conversion optimization is backed by the data insights rather than guesses or intuition. Conversion optimization is generally carried out using A/B Testing and/or Multivariate Testing.

A/B Testing
A/B Testing or split testing is the most commonly used method of testing and an easy way to test a landing page. It is used to test two variations of the same page. It can be used to test a small, single variation as the color of a button on the webpage or larger tests, such as different layouts of the webpage.

A variation of this is the A/B/n testing in which one or more variations can be tested against the original, existing version. The traffic is randomly and equally distributed among the variations to analyze how users interact with the webpage. The desired actions or the conversion rates are then measured across these variations to find the one that performs the best. The winner is determined based on the statistical significance of the results. So, the winner is determined based on both the conversion rates and the number of observations or the users who visited the webpage.

Multivariate Testing
Multivariate Testing is conducted to identify how combinations of different elements within a webpage work the best. For example, you can test the placement and size of the image, different content types, colors etc., all at the same time. The total number of variation of a page will be equal to the number of variations of Element 1 X the number of variations of the Element 2 X the number of variations of the Element 3 and so on. If you are testing 4 variations of home page image and 5 variations of the content that will go along with the image, you will have 4*5=20 combinations that will be tested. The traffic will be equally distributed among these twenty variations to come up with the specific combination of elements that works best.

A/B Testing or Multivariate Testing?
A/B testing is generally used while making broad, large changes to the webpage. Multivariate Testing is generally used when few key elements or sections of the page are being tested. Also, your choice will be highly dependent on the website traffic you receive because you will have to receive enough traffic to each variation to statistically determine a winner. In order to get meaningful results quickly, you will have to choose pages that have high traffic. And, when considering multivariate testing versus A/B testing, in order to obtain statistically significant results, you would need higher traffic to run multivariate tests compared to A/B tests. Finally, consider sequencing A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing, since they complement each other. While you can assess the impact of major changes using A/B Testing, Multivariate Testing can help you in refining the internal elements thereafter.
Website Conversion Optimization can have a huge impact on your bottom line. It helps you improve results from your marketing efforts, lower customer acquisition costs, maximize ROI and most importantly, drive increased conversion through the sales funnel. You will not only drive a higher number of customers taking the first step in your funnel, but you will also see improvement in every step, which will lead to an outsized percentage increase in the final conversions.

This is a guest blog written by Michelle Keyser, Director Content and Social Media Marketing, of GlobalDirective.  She is a strategist and blog contributor for the digital marketing agency.