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Differentiating Multivariate Testing & A/B Testing in D2C Marketing

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

When it comes to choosing the right approach in D2C marketing, there is absolutely no minimum level to which you can test things.

The smallest of decisions like the placements of keywords, the opening of a video, or even which title performs better is made carefully – with strategic decision-making and data-driven insights.

A key aspect of this process is experimentation through testing and the two iconic methods to do that are – Multivariate Testing and A/B testing.

In this blog, we will dive into the differences between these approaches and explore their unique advantages and limitations.

Let’s get started.

What’s the difference?

In the simplest words, while the A/B test involves 2 variables, the multivariate test involves 2+ variables. See it visually below.

But let’s dig a little deeper.

What is an A/B Test?

A/B Testing, also known as split testing, is a controlled experiment that compares two variants (A and B) of a webpage, email, or advertisement to determine which version performs better. It involves splitting your audience into two random groups, exposing each group to a different variant, and then measuring the impact of each variant based on predefined goals.

To illustrate the power of A/B Testing, let's consider an example from a fictional D2C brand called "Shine & Glow Cosmetics." They wanted to increase their website's conversion rate and decided to test two different call-to-action (CTA) buttons on their product pages. Variant A displayed a blue "Add to Cart" button, while Variant B featured a green "Buy Now" button.

By conducting an A/B Test on a random sample of their website visitors, Shine & Glow Cosmetics discovered that Variant B (green "Buy Now" button) resulted in a 20% increase in conversions compared to Variant A (blue "Add to Cart" button). Armed with this insight, they implemented the winning variant across their entire website and witnessed a substantial boost in sales.

When to use an A/B Test?

A/B Testing is ideal when you have a specific hypothesis to test or a single element to compare. Here are some scenarios where A/B Testing can be highly effective:

1. Landing Page Optimization:

Test different headlines, calls-to-action, color schemes, or layouts to identify which combination maximizes conversions.

2. Email Marketing Campaigns:

Experiment with various subject lines, email designs, or content formats to improve open rates, click-through rates, and overall engagement.

3. Ad Copy and Creative Testing:

Compare different ad headlines, images, ad placements, or copy variations to enhance ad performance and drive higher click-through rates.

Advantages of A/B Testing

A/B Testing is relatively easy to set up and execute, making it accessible to marketers with varying technical expertise.

By comparing only two variants, A/B Testing provides straightforward insights into which option performs better.

It allows marketers to optimize specific elements, resulting in incremental improvements.

Limitations of A/B Testing

A/B Testing can only test one element at a time, which may not capture the full picture of user behavior or the impact of combined changes.

Depending on the sample size and statistical significance required, A/B Testing may take longer to reach conclusive results.

What is Multivariate Testing?

While A/B Testing compares two variants by changing a single element, Multivariate Testing takes experimentation to the next level. It involves testing multiple elements simultaneously to identify the most effective combination. By exploring various permutations, Multivariate Testing helps determine which combination of elements yields the highest impact on user behavior.

To understand Multivariate Testing more effectively, let's continue with our fictional brand, Shine & Glow Cosmetics. They decided to perform a Multivariate Test to optimize their product pages by testing different combinations of product images, product descriptions, and customer reviews.

After collecting data from thousands of visitors, Shine & Glow Cosmetics discovered that a combination of Product Image Variant A, Description Variant B, and Review Variant C resulted in a 35% increase in conversions compared to their original setup. Armed with these insights, they made the necessary changes to their product pages, leading to a significant uplift in sales and customer satisfaction.

When to use a Multivariate Test?

Multivariate Testing is ideal when you want to examine the collective impact of multiple elements and their interactions on user behavior. Here are some scenarios where Multivariate Testing can provide valuable insights:

1. Website Redesign:

Evaluate the combined impact of different page layouts, navigation menus, product displays, and other design elements.

2. Email Campaign Optimization:

Test the effectiveness of various subject lines, email designs, CTAs, and personalization strategies to drive engagement and conversions.

3. Pricing Strategy Testing:

Experiment with different pricing structures, discount offers, and product bundles to determine the most compelling combination for maximizing revenue.

Advantages of Multivariate Testing

By analyzing the combined impact of multiple elements, Multivariate Testing uncovers insights that A/B Testing alone may miss.

It allows marketers to optimize multiple elements simultaneously, enabling faster iterations and potential breakthrough discoveries.

Limitations of Multivariate Testing

Multivariate Testing requires more resources, including larger sample size, to ensure statistical significance and accurate results.

Analyzing the interactions between multiple elements can be complex, and it requires expertise to draw meaningful conclusions.


Both A/B Testing and Multivariate Testing are powerful tools that can help D2C brands optimize their digital marketing strategies. A/B Testing provides a simple and focused approach for testing single elements, while Multivariate Testing offers comprehensive insights into the collective impact of multiple elements.

Remember, finding the right digital marketing solution is an ongoing process. Continuously testing and optimizing your strategies based on user behavior and data insights is the key to achieving long-term success in the ever-evolving D2C marketing landscape.

Take the leap and embrace the world of testing and optimization with Design Process, the D2C growth studio known for making a remarkable impact on d2c brands worldwide.

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