Landing Page Optimization: Multi-Variate vs. A/B Testing

The pros and cons of using these types of landing page optimization tests

How many of you regularly test your landing pages and landing page templates?

If you are like many publishers, you’re probably raising your hand partially. You likely test your landing pages, but probably not as often as you should.

Even that is better than other publishers, who rarely or never test landing pages. This could be due to a lack of staffing, or not understanding how to run the tests.

Regardless of the reasons why publishers do not test, I wanted to go over two types of landing page tests, multi-variate and A/B, while listing the pros and cons of each. This way, you can make an educated decision on your landing page testing process going forward.

Multi-variate testing for landing pages

A multi-variate test deals with the variables on a single page. The focal points of a multi-variate test may include multiple headlines, multiple images, multiple call-to-actions, long vs. short copy or reduced form fields.

Unlike the process of scientific testing, multi-variate tests can focus on multiple factors at a time, helping to determine the most beneficial combination of page elements.

Before conducting a multi-variate test, it’s important to realize that it will take some time, which is dependent on the amount of website traffic you’re able to attract. Since multi-variate testing helps determine what website components lead to more conversions, you will have to wait till you receive enough conversions to make your data worthwhile.

Pros of multi-variate testing

-Encourages innovative thinking as it’s based on testing, not guessing.

-It uses existing layouts.

-It lessens the risk of seasonality.

-It is economical as it involves a single page and/or URL.

-Multi-variate testing is SEO and CMS friendly.

Cons of multi-variate testing

-It requires skill and planning.

-The process is technology dependent.

-It may require follow-on testing.

-It is less appropriate for layout testing.

-Multi-variate testing requires higher traffic requirements.

-Testers need to be comfortable with statistics.


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A/B testing for landing pages

An A/B test focuses on multi-step online page flows like the ones found in shopping carts, the lead conversion process or an application process. They are important as they focus on website components that dictate sales and conversions.

From answering simple questions to helping with major layout changes or redesigns, an A/B test is the direction you should go.

Pros of A/B testing

-They are easy to conduct because they have only one variable.

-A/B tests are fast to set up and quick to execute.

-They provide a simple analysis.

-A/B tests require lower traffic volumes for completion.

-They have the ability to split traffic.

Cons of A/B testing

-A/B tests limit innovative thinking and are restrictive as they have only one variable.

-There is a lack of insight as to what won or lost in the test.

-There may be build-out overhead associated.

-A/B tests have a design heavy reliance.

Now that you’ve seen the pros and cons of both multi-variate and A/B tests, which are you going to use first?

Do you still need help with figuring out how to properly execute a multi-variate test or an A/B test? If so, join us on Tuesday, August 2nd for our Landing Page Testing & Optimization webinar. This 90-minute program will show you proven testing methods for increasing website conversion rates, which are useful for all online publishers.


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