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Multivariate Testing Vs A/B Testing: When To Use Which


As a CRO consultant, I know that testing is essential to optimizing your website and creating the best user experience possible. When it comes to deciding which type of test you should use, there are two main options: multivariate testing (MVT) and A/B testing. Understanding when to choose each one can be tricky, but with an understanding of their key differences, making this decision becomes much simpler. In this article, we'll explore these differences and discuss when to use MVT vs A/B testing.

Table of Contents

What Is Multivariate Testing?

Multivariate testing is a powerful split-testing method used to optimize digital experiences. It focuses on analyzing how multiple variables interact with each other to create an outcome, rather than just looking at one variable in isolation as with A/B testing. This means that instead of running separate tests for every aspect you want to analyze, multivariate testing allows marketers and CROs to test several changes at once.

By gathering data from different cohorts within the same experiment and comparing their results against each other, multivariate testing enables us to uncover more detailed insights about user behavior and preferences. We can use this information not only to make informed decisions about which elements should remain static or be adjusted but also plan future experiments based on the outcomes of the current ones.

The key takeaway here is that multivariate testing grants users a more holistic view of customer behavior and helps them identify new opportunities for optimizing website performance more efficiently than single-variable A/B tests could ever do. Thus, it's essential for any marketer or CRO who wants to get maximum value out of their optimization efforts.

What Is A/B Testing?

The world of digital marketing is constantly evolving and as such, marketers must stay abreast of the latest trends in order to remain competitive. One such trend is multivariate testing vs A/B testing; two distinct yet related concepts that are often confused by those looking to optimize their website's performance.

Let's start with an example – think of multivariate testing like a high-tech version of one of those classic "mix and match" puzzles you used to do as a kid. It involves creating several variations on your product or service offering, then using data visualization tools to analyze how each variation performs against others within the same experiment. The goal of this type of test is to find which combination produces the highest conversions, sales, web page visits etc., all while keeping user experience at the forefront. An important distinction between multivariate tests and other types of experiments lies in its ability to measure multiple elements simultaneously; making it easier for marketers to quickly identify correlations among different variables.

On the other hand, A/B testing works more traditionally where there are only two versions being tested against each other: Variation A (the control) versus Variation B (the challenger). This type of test helps marketers compare results from both versions side-by-side and determine if any changes have had statistical significance. While not as comprehensive as multivariate tests due to focusing on single element comparisons instead of multiple ones, they tend be quicker and simpler than running full blown multi-variable experiments. In some cases however, it may take multiple rounds of A/B Testing before reaching desired outcomes when compared with MVT tests which can provide better insights into complex scenarios right out the gate.

Advantages Of Multivariate Testing

Multivariate testing offers many advantages over A/B testing. It is a cost-effective approach to improving your website and can save you time in the long run. With multivariate testing, you are able to test multiple elements of your website at once, providing more comprehensive data for analysis. This makes it easier to identify patterns that could be missed with an A/B test.

Another advantage of multivariate testing is its ability to work quickly and efficiently. By running simultaneous tests on different variables at the same time, results can be obtained much faster than with traditional A/B tests. In addition, because multivariate testing allows you to test multiple components simultaneously, there’s less chance of making errors due to human error or confusion between A/B versions.

Finally, as more companies move towards digital marketing efforts, having a well-crafted website has become increasingly important. Multivariate testing provides insight into how users interact with various web pages which helps businesses make informed decisions when developing their online presence. As such, this form of testing can help businesses maximize return on investment (ROI) by ensuring they have a user friendly website that drives conversions and revenue growth.

Advantages Of A/B Testing

A/B testing can provide quick results, making it a great tool for businesses that need to make decisions quickly. It's also surprisingly easy to implement, making it a great option for those on a tight budget. Compared to multivariate testing, A/B testing is best used when you need to identify a single winner. However, when you need to compare many variables, multivariate testing is the better fit.

Quick Results

When it comes to cost effectiveness and implementation speed, A/B testing is the clear winner. As a CRO consultant, I can confidently recommend this method for quick results in order to optimize any website or application's performance. A/B testing allows you to quickly test two versions of a web page against each other and see which one performs better. This helps identify what works best with your target audience so that they're more likely to take an action such as making a purchase or signing up for something. Additionally, it eliminates guesswork since you don't need to speculate on which variation will yield the most success - the data tells you exactly what works! Multivariate testing requires much more time and resources before delivering insights due to its complexity, but if further detail is needed beyond what A/B testing provides then it's certainly worth considering. Ultimately, when deciding between multivariate testing vs A/B Testing, consider whether fast results are essential when evaluating user engagement on digital platforms.

Easy To Implement

When it comes to ease of implementation, A/B testing is a great option. It's easy to set up and can be scaled quickly as you need more data points or different variations. Additionally, since you don't have to worry about complex coding or heavy design work with this method, it doesn't require an in-depth understanding of web development which helps save time and money. The cost effectiveness of the process makes A/B testing attractive for companies that need quick results without having to invest too much into the project. With such scalability and budget friendliness, I'm confident recommending A/B testing as a simple yet powerful tool for optimizing any website or app performance.

Deciding Between Multivariate Testing And A/B Testing

When it comes to optimising your website or application, many businesses hesitate between using multivariate testing and A/B testing. While both techniques can bring about useful insights for data-driven decisions, understanding when to use which is the key to successful results.

From a CRO consultant's point of view, there are several factors that must be taken into consideration before making a decision on which technique should be employed. The most important factor is the amount of data collection needed as well as sample size: if you need more data points and larger samples, then multivariate testing is likely the better option; however, if you only have limited data available or require quick turnaround times then A/B testing might be preferable. Here are four other elements to think about when deciding between these two approaches:

  1. Cost - Multivariate tests tend to cost more than A/B tests due to their complexity.
  2. Test Design - With multivariate testing, you can test multiple variables in one experiment while with A/B testing you would need multiple experiments to achieve this same outcome.
  3. User Experience - If user experience needs to remain consistent across all versions of an element being tested, then multivariate testing could be beneficial as it allows non-disruptive changes at once instead of having different users see different versions over time (as would happen with separate A/B tests).
  4. Data Analysis - Finally, when analysing the results from either type of experiment consider how much traffic will be required for reliable conclusions since small volumes may lead to inconclusive findings regardless of what approach was used initially.

Multivariate and A/B Testing offer unique advantages depending on the situation; therefore it's essential for businesses considering either approach to first assess exactly what data they want collected and determine whether it’s feasible within their budget given the technical requirements involved in each method before taking action.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between A Multivariate Test And An A/B Test?

When it comes to understanding the difference between a multivariate test and an A/B test, it's important to note that both are effective forms of contextualization for testing. Multivariate tests involve multiple variables at once, while A/B tests focus on one variable at a time. Both types of tests can be used to measure statistical significance - however, when deciding which type of test is best suited for your project, you must consider the complexity of your goals. If you need to measure several elements in order to determine success or failure then a multivariate test may be the right choice; if not, then an A/B test may suffice. Ultimately, choosing the correct testing method will depend on your specific goals and objectives.

In What Scenarios Should Multivariate Testing Be Used?

It's time to take your optimization efforts up a notch! Multivariate testing is the way to go when you need more data-driven insights than what an A/B test can provide. This type of testing works best for businesses looking to make changes on their existing webpages with larger sample sizes and multiple variations all at once. From campaigns that require nuance, to those demanding dynamic experiences, multivariate tests bring forth results that are simply unparalleled in accuracy. Ultimately, these types of tests help ensure customers get the experience they want before committing any resources or energy into making permanent changes - so don't be afraid to leverage this powerful tool and create winning strategies.

How Much Time Is Required To Run A Multivariate Test?

When it comes to tracking the duration of a multivariate test, it really depends on the segmentation strategies implemented. Generally speaking, running these tests can take anywhere from two weeks up to several months - depending on how many variations you’re testing and the overall complexity of the experiment. To further optimize your results, I would recommend keeping an eye out for any trends that may emerge after just one or two weeks and make adjustments accordingly.

How Can I Analyze The Results Of A Multivariate Test?

As a CRO consultant, I'm often asked how to analyze the results of a multivariate test. The best way is through data visualization. This helps you quickly and easily identify patterns in your testing that indicate which variables are having an effect on performance. It also allows you to spot outliers or anomalies in the sample size quickly. Data visualization should be used for all multivariate tests so that you can make more informed decisions about where to take your optimization efforts next.

Are There Any Limitations Associated With Multivariate Testing?

Sample size and time investment - two major limitations of multivariate testing that CRO consultants must be aware of. Multivariate tests require a large sample set in order to produce reliable results, meaning it's not suitable for sites with lower levels of traffic. Also, because the process requires more complex coding than A/B tests, it can take longer to implement and analyze. It’s important to weigh these factors against potential rewards when considering whether or not to use this method.


It's clear that multivariate testing and A/B testing can both be powerful tools for improving your website. However, it is important to understand the differences between them in order to determine which method should be used in a given scenario. Multivariate tests require more time and resources than an A/B test, but they also provide insights that cannot be gained through A/B testing alone.

In fact, multivariate tests have been known to increase conversion rates by up to 300%! So if you're looking for greater insight into user behavior or want to make significant changes to your website design, then investing in multivariate testing could well be worth the effort. With careful planning and analysis of results, these tests will help maximize conversions for any business.