One of the advantages of digital marketing is the ability to continually analyze and adjust your marketing based on performance. Marketers who drive the best return on their digital advertising are the ones who are constantly reviewing and improving their website, landing pages, digital ad campaigns, and social media advertising.

Depiction of an A/B test
In regards to website testing, the two best practices are A/B testing and Multivariate testing. While these methods are similar, there are important differences that must be considered to receive the most meaningful results for your business.

Let’s review the goals of website testing and how to determine which method is best for you.

What are the goals of website testing?

The primary reason for regular website testing is to measure your website against your marketing goals and identify areas that could improve performance.

Having clear goals as to what your website must achieve along with reliable analytics is critical in measuring its success. While your website may have multiple goals, common objectives include:

  • Driving online sales through an eCommerce platform
  • Soliciting product/service inquiries
  • Scheduling appointments or consultations
  • Growing your mailing list

Incorporating effective website testing will allow you to measure how various elements affect user behaviour, including:

  • Page copy
  • Content organization
  • Page design
  • Font usage
  • Colour usage
  • Form structure

A/B testing vs. Multivariate testing

As mentioned previously, the two most common website testing methods are A/B testing and Multivariate testing.

A/B testing (also referred to as “split testing”) is the comparison of two webpages that have the same call-to-action but differences in their content, design, copy, or colours, etc. When a user accesses the page URL, they are directed to one of the two versions of the page. Once you have enough visits to each of the pages, you can then review the analytics to see which page performed better. The number of visits you will need prior to analyzing the results will depend on the test you are running and the statistical significance you are looking to achieve.

While most A/B testing is run as a comparison between two webpages, it can also be performed with more pages within the same test (three pages = A/B/C testing, etc.).

Multivariate testing uses the same principle as A/B testing but adds more complexity by comparing a higher number of variables. Multivariate testing is put in place to measure how multiple variables within a design contribute towards the webpage goal. The objective is to determine the best combination of different elements on the page to increase conversions.

Multivariate testing is effective for optimizing a webpage that has multiple elements in play. For example, a webpage that includes a catchy headline, an explainer video, a sign-up form, and a link for more information may be tested by creating two video versions, three different headlines, and two different lengths of the sign-up form. Users would be funnelled to all possible combinations of these elements to determine which combination performs best.

Multivariate testing is generally recommended for webpages that receive a substantial amount of daily traffic as the more variations that need to be tested, the longer it takes to obtain meaningful data.

In summary, A/B testing allows you to analyze one webpage versus another (or multiple pages) while multivariate testing allows you to test the effectiveness of multiple elements within a webpage.

Which method of website testing is right for me?

A/B testing is recommended for:

  • Younger brands who are looking to learn about their audience at a higher level
  • Webpages that do not receive a high amount of traffic
  • Businesses that are looking for a quicker analysis on webpage performance
  • Testing based on a small set of variables

Multivariate testing is recommended for:

  • Webpages that receive a high amount of traffic
  • Businesses that are collecting data to guide them through a website redesign
  • Businesses that are looking to analyze website performance through a longer cycle
  • Testing based on a larger set of variables

Whether you test your website performance using A/B Testing or Multivariate Testing, you will need to select a webpage(s) that receive enough traffic to provide meaningful data.

How Rocket Digital can help

If you are looking to improve the performance of your website or landing pages, we can assist you in collecting valuable data through A/B Testing or Multivariate Testing. Based on the test results, we will provide recommendations on how to optimize and improve your digital marketing performance.