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Multivariate Split Testing in Affiliate Marketing

Courtesy of nickwheeleroz

Multivariate split testing lets you know whether your conversion rates are the best they can be. If you're an affiliate marketer with a high-traffic site, effective use of this testing method can help increase your profits.

Once your website sees large amounts of daily and monthly traffic, it's time to look at multivariate split testing. Google's Website Optimizer tool and other more sophisticated tools on the market allow you to rotate many different components on a page to see which combinations generate the greatest number of clicks, purchases, document downloads or however you define conversion on your site.

When to Use Multivariate Testing

If your site has a large number of visitors and a good conversion rate, it's highly likely that your website content, images, buttons and general look and feel are effective. However, you might want to go one step further. Maybe you have joined a new affiliate network, are promoting new products and want to see if your site can generate more profits. Websites with greater than 1,000 weekly page views benefit from ongoing multivariate split testing.

Once you have a feel for what works, you can use the same elements or combinations on your lower traffic sites. If those sites see greater traffic, you know you have an effective strategy.

How Testing Works

Multivariate split testing relies on an algorithm to determine which elements combine best to bring in optimal results for your website. For example, it may be that a particular phrase catches the attention of visitors and leads to sales when coupled with a blue button placed at the top of the same page. You might find that a video message on your site is not as effective as you thought because your site generates greater conversion rates without it. The multivariate split testing method lets you mix and match a large number of web page elements to find a winning combination.

Webpage Elements to Test

The number and types of possible elements to test are vast. Options range from colors, offers, images and headings to links, element locations and call to action messaging. Repeated testing shows that the most important elements to test for conversion rates are images, offers, headings, opening paragraphs and call to action. A change in any of these areas can make a big difference. You might experiment with two elements on a page and expand from there once you have some new findings and ideas.

Keep in mind that testing too many elements at once can be confusing. The more elements you choose, the more site visitors you need for a proper analysis. It's best to test a few elements and keep testing across time. You might find that your tagline is effective when coupled with your introductory paragraph because each rotation that couples the two results in higher conversion rates. When you add images, maybe you see even a higher number of clicks. Incremental testing generally yields best results.

Other Reasons to Initiate Multivariate Split Testing

If you're involved in affiliate marketing for very competitive industries, such as home loans or SEO, this type of testing is almost essential for standing out among website competitors. Another reason to initiate this type of testing is if you've seen a sudden drop in website income. Markets shift and people's preferences also change across time, making it important to stay on top of website analysis. The knowledge you gain is easily transferable across other websites, and if you're a website designer, you can impress website owners with your profit-generating skills.

Sources:

https://sites.google.com/a/unlv.nevada.edu/statistics-blogger/journal-blog/anintroductiontowebsitesplittesting

http://support.google.com/websiteoptimizer/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=71975