Corporations around the world, spend millions of dollars every year, trying to figure out what the buying public likes and wants. Still, they have found that the best way to find out what their customers likes is to simply ask them.
Firms such as Facebook, Microsoft and Apple have customers and clients all over the world. And they need to have their fingers on their client's pulse so that they can either tweak a current product or service that they provide, or they have to be ready and willing to give up on a current product and try something totally different. But since you are talking about decisions that run into the millions of dollars, it is no surprise that these global giants need and want some type of guide to help them with these very important decisions.
Multivariate testing may not be a common term but it is a practice that has been ongoing for years as online heavy weights such as Amazon uses often to help maintain their dominance on the World Wide Web. This testing involves having a firm such as Amazon hiring a marketing firm to set up a real-time testing site on their main site. The testing site will resemble the original website except every action will be recorded and analyzed by the Multivariate test throughout the entire site.
Once the testing is complete, the marketing firm will them present the data that was collected to Amazon, at which point, Amazon will then decisions as to whether launch a new IPad or redo the Apple Store for example. Then after making their decision, they will make their changes and apply them to the real site and take down the test site.
That is why these global giants rely upon Multivariate testing of their client base to assist them in deciding which products and services need to continue and which needs to be tweaked and those that need to be ended. Multivariate testing is an invaluable tool that is to be used and studied but it can lead to crippling business decisions if mistakes are made in the testing that results in driving customers away:
Multivariate test is best used to analyze an entire site and the effects of the actions done on the site. It does run into issues when A/B testing which is a component of Multivariate testing. Multivariate testing is used instead to identify changes and therefore gives a false reading. A/B testing is very good for identifying an issue but not multiple issues.
Once the testing has begun and the data starts to flow in and it appears to either show what was hoped for or worse, it turns out to give a negative outcome, the testing will be stopped. This is wrong because in order to have a correct reading of the data, the testing must be allowed to finish. Many, when they start to see the data from Multivariate testing either go in their favor or against them, will stop the test believing that they have the answer. By not allowing the test to complete could result making a business decision based on faulty data and cost the firm in the long run.
Another common error done in testing is targeting the wrong client. Usually when Multivariate testing is implemented, it is set up to count every visitor to the website. The problem comes in when there are no filters included to be able to separate the good customers from the bad; the paying customers from the window shoppers. Having the data compiled together can skew the data into appearing one way and causing the firm to make a business decision based upon that false outcome.
Multivariate testing is a very powerful and useful tool in assisting firms into driving their firms forward or scaling back if need be. But if the testing is done improperly, it can lead to disastrous results if not careful.
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