What is Multivariate Testing & How Can it Help You Market Your Business Online?

Multivariate testing… it sounds like something straight out of a statistics text book. But it is actually an effective tool that online sellers and small business owners can use to focus and fine tune their online marketing efforts.

One of the biggest mistakes online sellers and small business owners make online is that they fail to take advantage of simple, yet proven marketing strategies and tools. Just because you work for yourself or run a small company with limited resources, it does not mean you cannot execute professional Internet marketing strategies to promote your website. One great thing about Internet marketing is how its essential rules remain the same no matter what kind of business you may have online.

Marketing success boils down to understanding these rules and knowing how to apply them. It’s all in those little “tweaks” along the way that help you effectively optimize your web presence to meet your market’s attitudes and needs. This is where multivariate testing comes in.

An Explanation of Multivariate Testing

One of the best (and most effective) ways to optimize the various aspects of your website or online store is via online testing and the monitoring of key metrics connected to your business goals. Even if you have never before conducted at online test, you may have heard of split or A/B testing, where two versions of a web element (such as the text of a call to action, the color of a widget, or one of two possible images) are monitored and measured for their effectiveness in producing certain defined goals.

With multivariate testing, the measurement of multiple aspects of a webpage can be conducted simultaneously. Until recently, this type of testing tool was only available to large corporations and organizations- those who had the resources to spend on their content management systems. Today, however, the bar has come down allowing even the smallest or businesses and groups to conduct highly sophisticated tests. In short, multivariate testing has the following characteristics:

  • It can be used to test various aspects of your website.
  • Tests can be run simultaneously.
  • Throughout the duration of the test, all elements in consideration must be regularly monitored and evaluated.
  • Multivariate testing generates both immediate and long-term results.

Multivariate testing does work as long as you execute it properly. Regardless of the results of the particular test, the process required for performing multivariate testing will almost always yield precious data about your website – data that you can put to good use with other marketing strategies.

How to Perform Multivariate Testing

Multivariate testing can be broken down into the follow

Step 1: Choose which aspects of your website to test.

You can start with aspects that are prominently visible on your homepage and may have an immediate impact on your target market at their first visit to your website.

  1. Title of your website or website header
  2. Formatting (font style, color, size, and performance) for your website header
  3. Description of your website on your homepage

Step 2: Create variants for each aspect.

This second step is where things start to get a bit more complicated. For each aspect you have determined requires changes, you need to come up with maybe three or four variants. This is just to have a good selection to choose from.

Step 3: Create all possible combinations.

If you were to make a mathematical table for this, then it would be something like the one below.


Those are just a few of the various combinations that you can make with the variants or choices you have come up with. For multivariate testing to work, however, it is important that you take the time and effort to test every possible combination.

Step 4: Monitor and evaluate the results.

Everything about multivariate testing can be automated with the right software. From generating possible combinations to monitoring and evaluating the results – all these can be taken care of with the good web analytics tool, such as conducting content experiments in Google Analytics. These programs will also ensure that the specified tests are running simultaneously and at the appropriate time.

Step 5: Determine the necessary changes and modifications.

The results will typically show you what you can do, both instantly and over the long-term to facilitate improvement and growth.

Step 6: Execute the changes and monitor their performance.

Do not waste time executing the changes that have been deemed necessary by multivariate testing results. Delaying could cost you potential traffic, engagement, and conversions, and do not forget to monitor the performance of your website after the changes have been implemented.