Multi-Variate Testing: Harness the Power of Motiva AI

April 21, 2021 Jason Semenek

In digital marketing, as in the rest of the technical world, AI is becoming a standard tool for successful teams. And if you use Oracle Eloqua you’ve probably heard about Motiva AI™.

Motiva AI™ is custom-built to integrate directly with your existing Eloqua account, bringing the power of true artificial intelligence to your marketing automation. It uses advanced machine learning to optimize email marketing to increase engagement and conversions. Among Motiva’s many amazing features is AI-driven, real-time, adaptive multi-variate email optimization. In simple terms: super advanced email testing!

Testing Basics

A/B message testing (testing 2 elements to find the winner), and it’s more sophisticated sibling, multi-variate testing (testing multiple elements at once), have been a staple of the digital marketing world for years. In a nutshell, they are systematic experiments designed to improve engagement. The ultimate goal of these tests is to optimize your email campaigns so that each message provides high quality, engaging content that is both relevant and valuable to your target audience. By implementing a rigorous testing methodology, your results compound and continuously improve over time.

When designing your email testing strategy, it is important to clearly define which KPI will determine the winner. In general, this is either Unique Opens or Unique Clicks. From here, you can define which element will change in each test version of the email. Use this handy guide:

Elements Affecting Unique Opens:Elements Affecting Unique Clicks:
  • Subject Line: Tone, topic, length, personalization, emojis, etc.
  • From Name: Brand vs. Individual, etc.
  • Pre-Header: Visible in most inboxes, it supports the Subject Line. An opportunity to promote or have some fun!
  • Header: Content, design, nav, etc.
  • Images: Type, size, placement, etc.
  • Body: Length, # of topics, format, etc.
  • CTAs: Style, placement, link format, etc.
  • Layouts: Designs, formats, colors, buttons, etc.

Testing Methodology

To make the most of your testing efforts, it is important to follow proper methodologies. If you’re like me and took science classes in university or college, this probably sounds familiar. It is the gold standard for setting up scientifically valid and statistically relevant tests:

  1. 1. Hypothesis: This is one of the most critical elements of testing but is often overlooked. It is important to start with a theory that is testable, relevant and repeatable. Put simply, you need clear results so you can apply what you learn to future emails. Otherwise, your results may just be applicable to a single, specific use case (as is often the case with Subject Line Testing). For example, rather than a simple test of 2 versions of a subject line (Friday Marketing Tips vs. Marketing Tips for Professionals), run a test to determine if personalization increases open rates (Friday Marketing Tips for #Firstname# vs. Friday Marketing Tips).
  2. 2. Audience: It is essential to have truly randomized audience sets. Whether you are running a straight 50-50 split to determine a winner, or using a smaller test set and sending the winning version to the remainder (20-20-60 split), you want to make sure that your sets are basically equal as determined by random chance. This is possible without Motiva (see A/B/C/D testing article) but as I’m sure you have noticed; it is frustratingly inefficient. With Motiva AI™ and their advanced methodology, you can accurately split your audience in just 1 step.
  3. 3. Metrics: As discussed above, it is important to clearly identify the winner using specific KPIs. Again, Motiva makes this easy! By using AI to conduct many tests over several days, Motiva ensures your results are truly valid. The AI™ will even automatically drop poorer performing versions early in the test, to focus on potential winners.
  4. 4. Design & Test: Once you have created your email versions to evaluate your hypothesis, it is time to run the test! Simply use Motiva steps on your Eloqua Campaign Canvas and let advanced machine learning do all the work! No more stopping, starting, adjusting, staggering send times, etc. Leave it to Motiva to do all the time-consuming work!
  5. 5. Results: With Motiva advanced analytics, you can see your results rolling in immediately! You’ll be able to easily monitor progress and see how Motiva’s AI™ functionality adjusts to quickly determine the winner. [FUTURE: You’ll even see Motiva recommending possible unique segments within your data which may respond differently (see future article).]
  6. 6. Rinse & Repeat: With your results in hand, you are ready to apply the findings to future emails and move to the next step in your testing strategy. The looping process produces quickly compounding advantages, rather than 1-off results that are difficult to apply to future emails.

How Motiva Makes it Easier

While this can seem like a lot for busy digital teams, it is more than worth the effort! If you’re ready to supercharge your testing strategy, Motiva AI™ makes it much easier by simplifying the work and accelerating your results! In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary of how Motiva helps:

  • Audience Sampling: Truly randomized population subsampling.
  • Adaptive Testing: Motiva AI™ uses artificial intelligence to drive real time, adaptive multi-variate email testing and optimization.
  • Automated Analysis: Automatically and systematically gather deep insights about your test results and your target audience. Gather progressive insights via Motiva’s advanced reporting tools.

A word on Email Testing Strategy…

Your strategy will determine your success when it comes to testing. Make sure that you have a solid plan in place so that your testing answers the most important questions. In addition to KPIs, test elements, audience splits and timing; focusing on the long term provides the greatest reward.

Tegrita + Motiva + You

Modern digital marketers are constantly striving to improve our results. That means improved engagement, reduced unsubscribes, and targeted communications that deliver relevant, timely and valuable content to an interested audience. The top tactic to achieve these outcomes, tried and true, is a robust testing strategy. Combining robust strategy with the powerful Motiva AI features means you see results faster thanks to real-time, adaptive, systemic, automated, and unbiased multivariate testing.

Tegrita, a Motiva Partner, offers training and workshops to develop results-driven email testing strategies. In addition, Tegrita provides technical experts who can implement the strategy for you.
Together, we can boost your testing strategy to deliver results, fast. Learn more here.


About the Author

Jason Semenek

Jason Semenek is a Sr. Marketing Strategy Lead at Tegrita. His career started in 2000, where he worked to introduce and help integrate Oracle Responsys for a variety of clients. He has worked in a variety of industries as a digital marketing specialist on the consultant and client side. Jason’s knowledge of marketing systems spans a wide variety of automation platforms, CRM systems, SEO/SEM, and more. His broad experience helps Jason help clients with complex strategy discussions and integrated technology implementations.

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