"Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving." —David Ogilvy

If you were going to send the first OkCupid message to a potential date, how many versions would you come up with? And how would you test to see which one was the best one?

Fortunately, there is no market for online dating message testing (not yet, anyway). But split-testing, also known as A/B-testing, has been big business for marketers since the middle of the 20th century. Ogilvy & Mather used A/B-testing to famously rise to the top of the marketing world, and today Neil Patel continues to preach the good news.

Multivariate testing, on the other hand, is a more recent and complex affair. Theoretically, there is no upper limit to the number of combinations that could be tested, making it an extremely powerful alternative to traditional split-testing.

Testing platforms, such as Optimizely, offer both types of tests.

But most businesses, especially SMBs launching their first site, are hesitant about testing. They're interested in it, but they don't know the differences between the two tests. Their common questions may include the following:

  • How much does it cost?
  • How long does it take?
  • What do I have to do?
  • Can I really trust the results?

Using examples, let's go over three ways A/B-testing and multivariate-testing differ. (Along the way, I'll answer each of those four questions as well.)

1. Amount of Traffic

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image of Alp Mimaroglu

Alp Mimaroglu is a Marketing Luminary at Symantec . He specializes in marketing automation, demand generation, and marketing technology. Alp has extensive experience in both business and consumer marketing.

LinkedIn: Alp Mimaroglu

Twitter: @alpmimar