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Why one Big Bang was enough – the evolution of Multivariate Testing (MVT)

Roughly 13 billion years ago, the universe was created from one cosmic eruption. Matter was flung into the furthest recesses of space, where it coalesced as galaxies, stars and planets. Shortly after (well 9 billion years after), a ball of spinning gas called Earth came into existence. Sometime later, the earth cooled and Multivariate Testing (MVT) was born.

As MVT evolves, web testers and CROers* are presented with a variety of objections from potential clients when it comes to investing in MVT and AB Testing: “we’re re-designing our website”, “we’re changing our creative”, “we have web development projects under way” and notably “once we’ve changed our website, we’ll definitely look at testing”. Companies like this have a ‘Big Bang’ approach to web design and development – get employees together, brief an agency and pick a design. Launch a new web experience on your unsuspecting customers and hope for the best.

From the evidence of hundreds of tests conducted, Oban Conversion found incremental design improvements can get the required results: a reduction in bounce rates, a steep climb in conversions and bulging baskets. Contrary, we’ve seen new designs tested against the original website and witnessed conversion rates drop and visitors exiting in droves. Needless to say, this has left design experts scratching their heads.

Like a shop window, your web design can look tired so there is immense value in looking at your website periodically. Identifying the gaps and opportunities can help you understand what actions can really increase conversions. Creative professionals, web designers and brand managers, have a vital role in bringing the new web experience to life. The value of testing what you already have is integral to create the ultimate buying journey. In many cases, there will be things your customers love about your existing brand website. They may like the colours, clear navigation, photography or your call-to-action buttons. Alternatively, there will be elements they will resist which you, as a manager, will need to understand for future web design purposes.

The beauty of data testing is that it feeds directly into the creative process, complementing – not replacing – the skill sets of your design agencies and teams. The best agencies know this and invest in MVT and AB testing to get the most rewarding online experience for your customers. Testing creates a data-rich tapestry of your customer’s preferences and dislikes, informing your long term marketing strategy. This evidence based approach delivers a dynamic design, improving the relationship with your customers.

Next time you brief your agency on a web design job, don’t take a chance on your Big Bang theory. Iterate, improve and learn – your customers and margins will thank you for it.

*Conversion Rate Optimisers