In their simplest form, A/B and multivariate testing mean showing different versions of content to random subsets of the same audience, following the data to see which version led to stronger engagement. A/B testing is the most common methodology, involving testing two separate versions where all other aspects of the page remain static. Multivariate testing, where multiple factors are tested concurrently, is also common and effective. Designed and implemented properly, testing is one of the most effective ways to generate big improvements with less effort.
A robust testing strategy is a cornerstone for site optimization and continuous improvement. Using the same content and the same marketing are likely to yield the same results. For those who want to grow their business and build a relationship with new or prospective clients, positive forward change is a necessity. However, effective change is an easier concept than accomplishment. Thankfully, testing (A/B and multivariate) offers an easy solution to make only changes that will grow engagement over the long term.
WHY SHOULD COMPANIES BE TESTING THEIR CONTENT AND FUNCTIONALITIES?
- Assumptions are dangerous. Making assumptions about what’s great about current content and/or what changes will improve results can lead to problems that steamroll the conversion funnel and future updates.
- Less commitment. If a change leads to lower engagement than the page/site typically generates, just cease the test. There is no need to revert content to the previous format.
- Save development time. Tools such as Google Optimize provide an interface through which all changes can be made, needing only a single script added to the site rather than a full-scale redevelopment.
- Incremental rollouts. When doing larger redesigns, multivariate testing allows updates to be made in smaller batches, ensuring that long-term results follow the individual best options.
- Grow confidence. Long-term updates and changes will be rolled out knowing that data proved they were superior options.