Your website is one of your best sales and brand-building tools. It is your opportunity to support existing clients and customers or potentially convert interested consumers into new business.
To be successful, your site primarily needs a combination of clear, concise design and layout, relevant content and simple functionality. And while we often create a site we believe is a masterpiece and a sure thing to increase our bottom line, without insights into how consumers use it, we don’t know if our masterpiece will be a success or failure. This is where website performance testing comes in.
Like consumer focus groups and A/B testing, Multivariate testing is a method of user testing site performance. It is used for measuring website, mobile and email campaign performance and helps us understand the impact a tested element has on conversion rate.
A valuable part of any human experience strategy, testing with multivariables enables us to examine all possible combinations of elements against predefined criteria and identify the most successful one.
More complex and requiring more time than A/B testing, Multivariate goes beyond simply comparing two approaches — an A and B site. Put simply, it produces much more comprehensive and useful results. It examines every possible variable and defines the best option for your users. Multivariate testing comprises three main steps:
- Elements that influence the conversion rate are selected for website performance testing.
- Multiple versions of the page are created which use different versions of the selected elements. The more elements selected and versions created, the longer it will take to get results. Valid results will require a statistically significant number of visitors to each version.
- Traffic is split between the various versions, so user testing can be conducted on all. The one with the best conversion rate is identified. In short, users are voting on a version without even knowing it.
Once Multivariate user testing is complete, strategic analysis of the results will provide a clear-cut direction for your site that will achieve optimal results.
So how do you get started?
For a DIY job, Google Website Optimizer can be used as a website performance testing device. We like to take user acceptance testing one step further by combining different methods with carefully developed analysis strategies. The more information we have, the more new business you create with your website.
While there are many testing methodologies, Multivariate testing is a straight-forward process that produces strong results. If you’re looking for a reason to invest in it over simpler, faster methodologies such as A/B testing, here are three:
- The results are much more specific than those produced in A/B testing.
- The information gained can be used to increase conversion rate if the ‘voted in’ version is implemented well.
- The right approach to your site will create more leads and more new business. Multivariate testing helps identify the most efficient approach so you not only increase business but reduce the cost per lead.
Multivariate user testing can be conducted using one of two methods:
- Full factorial testing: traffic is split in equal volumes between versions.
- Partial or fractional factorial testing: not all of the versions are exposed to web traffic. Research is used to provide information on the remaining versions.
As specialists in the digital marketing field, we advise customers regularly on how to get the most out of testing so they ultimately get the most out of their site. We develop comprehensive digital strategies, that include user acceptance testing, such as Multivariate testing or consumer focus groups, right through to site launch, promotion and monitoring.
Our most important advice: make sure you implement user acceptance testing properly. If you have the budget, get advice from experts who can help you measure your outcomes better, interpret the results and define new steps to take in the process of optimising your websites UI. A poor site that is difficult to use or too complex, will deter users before they even get to see what you are offering.
Testing your site before initially launching or making major changes is vital to site success.
For more information about testing your website’s performance, please contact Platform on (02) 9911 7788.