Multivariate Testing

Professionalqa multivariate testing image

Change is good; The fact is very much true in all respect. Change has become the necessity to compete and survive. Updating and upgrading your website with different configurational changes, layouts and settings is a good move in the direction of improving SEO of the website, and subsequently the engagement of the users. But, whether these changes work or not? Our article-multivariate testing is all about that.

What is Multivariate testing?

Multivariate testing is a technique in which different elements of a webpage is tested individually. The idea is to create different combinations of the elements of the target or landing page and observe to assess which combination works the best. It is simply a hypothetical process of analysing the various combinations of elements and selecting best of them to optimize websites and apps.


We have a website with three elements; an image, a text box and a submit button. For each of the given element, we may have two different variations (colour, size, shape, text, image, etc.) as stated below:

Image(I)= I1 & I2

Text Box(TB)= TB1 & TB2

Submit Button(SB)= SB1 & SB2

Now, the possible combination resulting from each different variation in the element would be:

  • I1 + TB1 + SB1
  • I2 + TB1 + SB1
  • I1 + TB2 + SB1
  • I2 + TB2 + SB1
  • I1 + TB2 + SB2
  • I2 + TB2 + SB2
  • I1 + TB1 + SB2
  • I1 + TB1 + SB2

Thus, possible number of combinations comes out to be 9.

What's the need of Multivariate Testing?

Any webpage is composed of a set of various elements. By elements we mean - buttons, header section, sidebar etc. Let us consider an e-commerce website. It will have menu options, letting a user to make his own choice and order the item thus selected. The different versions may be somewhat like this-

Case 1:

A user selects his choice of menu and clicks ORDER NOW

Case 2:

User makes his choice, a pop up is shown with his name and BUY NOW button.

There could be various versions of a single task or activity. Each set is tested to see how much traffic each version attracts. Based on the highest rate of traffic generated for a website, that particular version is chosen as a final option.

Multivariate testing

A diagrammatic representation of multivariate testing process.

How to calculate the number of combinations required for multivariate testing?

No. of possible combinations to perform multivariate testing is calculated based on the number of variations in the elements of a particular section on a website. Mathematical formula for the same is

Total No. of Possible Combinations= (No. of variations for element P)*(No. of variations for element Q)*(No. variations for element R)*..............................

What to choose: A/B Testing or Multivariate Testing?

It is quite difficult to understand the difference between two look-alike testing approaches; A/B testing and Multivariate testing.

A/B Testing, also known by the name of split testing involves the evaluation of two different versions of a website. These versions may be different in one or more than one aspect such as designing, structure, layout and other similar elements.

Multivariate is a complex and a detailed form of A/B testing which involves the testing of each element and object of each particular section of a website along with the different possible combinations instead testing the whole website.

Multivariate Vs A/B testing

In layman's language, A/B testing is used to compare between two different versions of the website on various parameters whereas multivariate testing is more refined level of A/B testing with the testing of each different sections and their elements in all different possible combinations in the same website version.

Thus, A/B testing is used to evaluate and record the user-response and behaviour on two different web versions, while multivariate testing is also used to assess user-reactions but with the different possible combinations of each and every section and elements of a website.

If you site have less visitors or traffic you may approach A/B testing otherwise Multivariate testing is a better option for website with relatively large number of visitors. Further, A/B testing is useful in initially testing the home page or landing page in comparison to multivariate which is quite better for testing the existing and already optimized home page or landing page.

Merits of Multivariate Testing:

  • Such type of testing helps a great deal in tracking the number of users visiting the website. Activities like shares, clicks, sign ups etc. are various ways to keep track of users visiting a page.
  • Takes lesser time in comparison with its counterpart A/B testing.
  • Multivariate is a more organised way of conducting tests by creating different versions of the same page.
  • It lets us choose the best after analysing the various alternatives.