Paid Advertising

Why Dentists Perform Multivariate Testing

In today’s highly competitive marketing landscape, content testing is critical in driving qualified traffic to a practice website and in using ad dollars efficiently. It takes less than eight seconds to lose a quality lead if the content is not worthy of a click-through. As a growing business, the goal of digital advertising, like landing pages or display ads, is to convert a click into a patient. But not just any landing page or ad will guarantee a conversion.

Multivariate testing is a way to test many variables at the same time.

Various elements on each banner can be interchanged to reflect different combinations of the ad.

Different elements in the ad can attract different people for a variety of reasons. The key to having a landing page or ad that converts is using purposeful copy, call-to-actions, design, colors, and other elements that influence the target audience. When it comes to marketing, dental practices can test display ads for conversion in one of two ways: A/B testing and multivariate testing. More savvy advertisers are choosing multivariate testing because of the increased conversion rate that could be achieved through this method.

How to run a multivariate test on display ads

Multivariate testing is a way to test many variables at the same time.  This method is most effective for experimenting with different elements, allowing you to optimize and refine to increase conversions. A practice could use this type of testing for multiple versions of a single banner ad. Various elements on each banner can be interchanged to reflect different combinations of the ad, and the combination that performs the best and is aligned to the business goal is the strongest piece delivering patients to the practice. 

Here are some steps to get started on multivariate testing.

  1. Evaluate and identify which “special” you would like to test.
  2. Create 2 banner ads variations with the exact same special, make sure you ad different wording and segmentations. 
  3. Create separate Display Campaigns in your Google Ads Platform with the same settings.
  4. Start driving traffic. 
  5. Analyze traffic.

What variables to test

For example, a new dental care campaign could test three display ads promoting a procedure or specialty. Since multiple variations are being tested, three display ads would multiply into 75 testable versions. Each piece performs toward the goal set for the practice, whether it’s clicks or calls for appointments. When a few versions of the ads result in the majority of the conversions, then those would be determined as the strongest performing pieces.

Variables that can be tested on display ads include: 

  • Image 
  • Offer
  • Headline 
  • Introduction copy 
  • Call to action

Multivariate vs A/B testing

Research shows that while A/B tests improve conversion by 14% – experimenting with up to four multi variants results in a 27% conversion rate. Evidence proves that multivariate testing can be particularly useful when there are multiple versions competing for the same type of conversion – clicks, calls, shares, forms appointments made, etc. It’s a great way to test different types of display ads in a short period of time while an A/B test measures the effectiveness of one identical variable between two versions of content, version A and version B, concluding in one strong performing piece. 

However, there are a few things to take into consideration when using multivariate testing. For one, the audience is not split 50/50 like it is for A/B testing. It will be split among all possible combinations. 

Also, unlike A/B testing, it won’t always be obvious as to which elements of the ad and copy are contributing to the success of a particular combination. The results will only reveal which combination is outperforming the others.

If there are previous learnings from past campaigns, multivariate testing can be a valuable tool for fine-tuning display ads. There should always be a control ad and audiences to measure against. Then, develop a few hypotheses, that will inform the testing process, for example:

  1. A banner that may get more clicks if it had a sense of urgency in the copy and call to action (CTA).
  2. Testing a font to understand what would be easier to read and get more clicks.
  3. A local message against a more generic message that didn’t address a local patient’s needs.

While there are clear differences between the two, both types of testing are about experimentation. As with most campaigns, research to find out what to test is key. Consider the patient experience, the type of barriers to conversion and anything learned from low-performing campaigns. These campaign weaknesses are ideal opportunities to measure specific or multiple variations of campaign ads.

Call us

If you’d like to work with the experts in dental marketing, contact Conversion Whale today. We use the latest tools to help us implement the correct testing strategy to increase your new patient acquisition.


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