Multivariate Testing vs A/B Testing: What are the Key Differences?

Multivariate Testing vs A/B Testing: What are the Key Differences?

By Vijay Singh Khatri on Feb 21 2022 | Be the first to comment

When you are building an application for the first time, you may need to know about A/B testing and multivariate testing. Both are used for mobile application and website testing and have advantages and disadvantages. Now, if you don’t know about the mobile testing or website testing methods individually, it would be problematic for you to utilize any one of them. For starters, if you are looking to enhance your business’s conversion rate, then both of these testings would be beneficial. Moreover, if you experiment with sequential A/B testing and multivariate testing, your app will stand out among your competitors. Multivariate testing is more used to test your app’s homepage, while A/B testing is preferred for your application’s features and functions testing. But it is hard to know how and when your app would require multivariate and A/B testing. Hence, we published this whole post to help you out.

What is Multivariate Testing?

Multivariate testing refers to the process of testing more than one element of your website or mobile application in real-time. In other words, you can refer to multivariate testing as running multiple A/B testing on your mobile application sites simultaneously. However, A/B testings are more straightforward, but multivariate testing tends to be more complex and takes a little bit more time to complete. With multivariate A/B testing, you can track different changes you have made to your app every time you release a new update. Multivariate testing utilizes changes in multiple variables; it uses various combinations of several variables to create more designs in the element you are testing. Multivariate testing requires research and knowledge, but it works as a great tool when you are in the early stage of application development. For instance, you can test different ideas for every design element on your mobile app’s user interface, including call-to-action texts, information that the users information when signing up for your platform, and more. Multivariate testing will test these elements and provide you with the results you want to enhance to make your app better. Overall, the only goal of multivariate testing is to find different combinations of variants and elements that greatly impact your mobile application, whether or not they are negative or positive on the user experience.

Multivariate testing has two different types, and developers use each depending on their requirements.

Types of Multivariate Testing

When developers use multivariate testing for testing their mobile application, they utilize two different approaches:

Full Factorial: This is the method that is initially referred to as multivariate testing. In this method, the combinations and variables are put together and tested individually as the same part of your app’s traffic. With this method, you can test multiple variables of multiple elements assigned to 20% of your traffic.

Fractional Factorial: A fraction of all elements will be tested in fractional factorial multivariate testing on your mobile app. Suppose the combinations of the elements you have tested with your multivariate testing kit are more than what you have not tested. In that case, their conversion rate will be higher than the untested combinations. That's why fractional factorial multivariate testing tends to be less accurate, but it requires less traffic as well.

Multivariate testing seems to be impactful for mobile application testing but doesn’t forget that they come with pros and cons like everything.

Pros and Cons of Multivariate Testing

Most developers Run A/B testing first on their mobile application, and then they use the result to run MVT testing on them. For example, you are testing your user interface on your application, and you find out that the navigation menu is the winner in the A/B test and has no flaws. Now you can run an MVT test to find out if the navigation menu of your interface was that good. If the MVT test shows a problem, you can fix it for a better user experience. With A/B testing, you will not know about the interactions between different variables on a single section of your mobile application. However, with MVT, you can find every detail about every element and redesign them whenever you want to create a great impact on your mobile application. So, the pros and cons of multivariate testing are simple:

Pros

  • Can easily test different variables.

  • Can understand the elements of individual sections of the mobile app to create a better conversion rate.

  • Provide you with more analyzed data for a better application performance.

  • Needs more traffic to transfer a mathematical significance.

  • Offers flexibility when it comes to changing the design and layout of your application.

Cons

  • Requires more variable combinations than A/B while testing.

  • Requires a significant amount of traffic to reach statistical significance.

  • There are restrictions of the test setup that are less flexible for marketing creativity.

This is everything about multivariate testing for your mobile application. Now it's time to find out about A/B testing as well and later will keep an eye on the comparison list of multivariate testing and Ab testing for mobile applications.

What is AB Testing?

A/B testing on mobile applications refers to running different but simultaneous experiments between multiple variables of a page or user interface to see which one works the best. For instance, you can create two different headlines for your page, and running an A/B test will help you understand which one performs the best and attracts your target users to significantly create a better conversion rate. The headline results in more engagement will be the best option to choose for your content. In other words, the A/B test is like a scientist that helps you experiment with your users’ interests based on the data they provide, and it helps you determine how your marketing activities will be and how they will attract more users of the same kind. There are different types of A/B testings that developers perform depending on the structure of their application.

How Many Types of AB Testings Are There?

Now that you know what A/B testing for mobile applications is, it's time to move ahead and find out about the different types of testing methods developers use to test their mobile applications.

Split URL testing: Split URL testing and mobile app A/B testing are different. Split URL testing is testing that is done on the new version of an existing web page URL and new web page URL to determine which one works better. Most of the time, split URL testing is not important for mobile application testing because they are vastly related to website development.

Multivariate testing (MVT): Multivariate testing is also a part of mobile application A/B testing. It refers to an experimentation method for the variables of different sections of the application that are analyzed simultaneously to find out which works the best. Multivariate testing is complex than simple A/B testing.

Multipage testing: Multipage testing is also a type of experimentation. You can track and test the modifications you have made to a particular element across multiple sections or pages in your mobile application.

All these types of mobile app ab testing have their advantages and disadvantages, and now it's time to find out what those are.

Pros and Cons of A/B Testing

Pros:

Shows accurate evidence: A/B testing for mobile applications always looks out for user behaviors such as which product they are buying, what their budget can be, what kind of products they like, etc. Therefore it ,helps determine the right target audience and provide them with their choice of products.

Finds new ideas: If you have a new idea for a new feature or function of your mobile application, then you can test that Idea with A/B testing and find out if that works or not. However, before you test the idea, you will have to implement that with hard code on your application.

Optimize one element at a time: If you run a large mobile application or a group of mobile applications, then with API testing, you can easily test the apps by starting with small elements before you test the whole main interface of the application. However, this approach has a small downside: you couldn't afford to play with your existing visitors or your mobile app users by giving them the mobile app experience that might not be the final one.

Answers specific questions about designs: When you are testing your mobile application user experience, you might wonder which color is the best for your layout for a particular design, such as a CTA button. You can play around with red, yellow, green, or many other colors, but you wouldn't be able to determine the best without running and an A/B test. This is the best option for finding out how to slowly improve your app with good placements of buttons, layout, colors, fonts, images, and more.

Cons:

Takes a lot of time and resources: A/B testing takes a long time to set up than multivariate testing. Setting up this process can take a lot of resources, time, and third-party services, which might be costly for small businesses.

Only works in specific goals: A/B testing is only good for solving a specific type of problem, such as which layout is best for this interface? But if your goal is hard, like testing a particular element on your website as the multivariate testing does, then A/B testing might not be the best answer.

Does not improve a failed work: A/B testing does provide an accurate result of your mobile application, but the testing does not reveal the type of flaw your mobile application has. For example, it does not reveal why your user got frustrated in the first place, and that's why developers are unable to pick up the real problem for their users’ disappointment. Since it does not provide detailed results, improving the failed work looks difficult.

Requires constant testing: When the test is over, you cannot do anything with that data, but you will have to do another test from the new baseline once the changes are made.

These are the pros and cons of A/B testing for mobile applications; now, if you compare it with multivariate testing, you will find the following result.

Key Differences of Multivariate and A/B Testing

Learning about multivariate and A/B testing for your mobile application was the first idea now it's time to find out the key differences between these two.

Combinations of Variations

Since developers use multivariate testing to test different combinations of variations of a mobile application, it is considered a more complex version of an A/B test. In a multivariate test, there can be many combinations of variables to compare with each other. Moreover, in this context, you can also test how variables communicate with each other on the interface or a section of the application or website which is not applicable with an A/B test.

Number of Test Pages

With an A/B test, you can only test between two versions of an interface. However, multivariate tests allow you to test dozens of other versions of the interface or web page because here, different variable combinations are testable.

Traffic Needs

Traffic needs of your mobile application or website are to be equally divided between interfaces or web pages for both ab testing and multivariate testing. This means if you want to get a statistically important result through your multivariate test, it can have different interface versions, which are required to have more traffic than you would need in an A/B testing. Because A/B testing always has only two interface versions.

The Time Needed for Getting the Results

Since there are only two versions to test in A/B testing, it will take less time to provide you with the result. Depending on the number of traffic you have and the number of variables you are testing with multiple tests, it can take months to complete the test and provide you with the result.

Conclusion

Overall, both multivariate and A/B testing are beneficial for testing a mobile application. And multivariate testing is a part of the A/B testing. Suppose you have less time to complete the testing methodologies of your application or website. In that case, you might go for A/B testing since it provides results almost immediately, and you can prepare yourself for another test. But if you have more variables to test for on your mobile application, then going for a multivariate test will be the best option, even though it could take months to complete and provide you with the result. But suppose you can use both multivariate testing and A/B testing together. In that case, you can optimize your specific mobile app structure along with email marketing or advertising campaigns at the same time. This saves your time and helps you build your conversion rate by giving complete user satisfaction.

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