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How Multivariate Testing Can Change Your Internet Marketing Direction

Author: mark b  |  Category: Internet Marketing
Published: January 24, 2009

Internet marketing has changed tremendously over the last few years; advances in technology and methodology have made online marketing the most effective form of advertising and promoting your business. With these advancements and the myriad of online marketing opportunities, how do you measure the actual success of your marketing plan or single advertising effort?

Until recently many online marketers gauged the success of their marketing plans by the number of site visitors, click rates, and conversions, and quite a bit of guess work! Testing the effectiveness of your web-based offers can be much more accurate by employing Multivariate testing modalities, such as “A/B Split Testing” or the “Taguchi Method”.

A/B Split Testing:

A/B testing is exactly what it sounds like, testing the difference in the return between advertisement “A” and advertisement “B”. This measurement tool is the simpler form of testing between the two modalities explained in this article.

A/B testing allows you to test two landing pages against each other in real-time. The two web-based offerings need to be almost identical; almost, meaning that you make just one change between the two versions or your advertisement or landing page. This one change can be just about anything; it can be simply changing the background color, text color, adding a photo or graphic, changing the text arrangement, or changing your headline. Both versions of your advertisement will be live at the same time, allowing you to compare the results of their effectiveness against each other.

The outcome of A/B split testing is pretty straightforward. You launch both ads, determine the length of time of data collection and then wait to collect enough data. Tracking the results can be done in-house; either manually by adding specific tracking code in your HTML, or with specially designed software. There are also free services like Google Web Optimizer, but either way, you’ll be able to strategically design your marketing campaigns based on the results.

The real beauty of split testing is that it allows you to increase your exposure by launching new marketing offers at the same time, without putting your optimization and ranking efforts at risk.

Taguchi Method

Taguchi method was developed by statistician Genichi Taguchi and was originally intended to improve the quality of manufactured goods, but online marketers have employed this practice in measuring the outcome and effectiveness of web-based offers and on-line advertising campaigns.

The Taguchi method is a system where, with a landing page, pay-per-click campaign, or other online direct response promotions, you test not one but many variables; you can use just about any element of the page, from graphics to font, colors to background images, ordering of bullet list items, the possibilities are essentially endless.

If you haven’t used the Taguchi method, try beginning your test with three headlines, three images, three body texts and three link texts. For test results to be accurate, you have to create nine different landing pages. Taguchi testing uses a mathematical equation to determine which headline, which image, body text, and link text works best. Obviously, the more elements you seek to test, the more valuable Taguchi testing proves to be, because you’ve already used the simpler form of testing, A/B split testing and at this point you want a more in-depth view of the search and shopping behaviors of your customers!

The method itself may seem extremely complicated and technical, but it is really focused on helping you test a variety of different elements simultaneously, so you can ascertain the best possible combination in the shortest possible time. This method also requires quite a bit of time to design and facilitate, and for those who don’t have that kind of time, there are a number of Taguchi vendors, experts and software available.

Multivariate testing goes far beyond just one campaign; it should be incorporated in your marketing strategy as an ongoing practice. What you learn from the likes and dislikes of your target audience could greatly enhance the success of your future marketing endeavors and in the end, the overall success of your business.


Tony and his wife, Charlavan, own and operate Mandarich Media Group, LLC, in Scottsdale, AZ, a full-service web media business specializing in Arizona Internet Marketing and Arizona Website Promotion.

Author: mark b

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