September 2, 2004, 12:00 AM

Taking A/B testing to a new level to hike conversion rates

Testing of web site offers can help pick the one that will drive the highest conversion rate, but several variables like text content can impact an offer’s effectiveness. A new service is designed to test hundreds of variable combinations simultaneously.

Basic A/B testing of web site offers can help retailers pick the one that will drive the highest conversion rate, but there can be several variables such as text, content and pictures that can impact an offer’s effectiveness. A new service from Offermatica is designed to test hundreds of variable combinations simultaneously, Co-CEO Matthew Roche tells

The Offermatica system is designed to let retailers analyze whole pages or sections of pages to see how multiple variables-in scores or hundreds of variable combinations-impact conversion rates. So instead of looking at just a discount offer, for instance, the system will analyze the impact on conversion rates when that offer appeared with multiple combinations of other web page characteristics, such as the headline used above the offer, the photo or illustration and the level of site navigation accessed from the same page. Each review, moreover, might test multiple headlines, offers, photos and navigation options, bringing the total number of possible variations of page presentations up to several hundred or more, Roche says.

Offermatica, which offers the application on a hosted ASP model, introduced it in April. Retailer users include and, Roche says. Offermatica charges a basic fee of 5 cents for every site visitor that views one of the tested pages, though it offers discounts for extended projects.

Retailers use basic HTML coding provided from Offermatica to prepare test pages within their site’s own administrative pages, then access an Offermatica web page to set parameters on how the tests will operate. Targeted visitors-those coming from Google or from affiliate sites, for example-are randomly presented with different page versions. The Offermatica system then ties the sales conversions to each version.

Although there can be hundreds of variables of test pages, the system also uses mathematical algorithms to reduce the number of presented pages to under 20, producing a report of conversion rates tied to those 20 page versions, Roche says. So retailers can learn, for example, how a 10% discount offer presented with a particular photo and particular level of page navigation performed in comparison to a 10% offer presented with a different photo or different level of navigation, he says.


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