Beta testing is a great way for businesses to identify usability issues and improve their products so that they answer their customers’ needs. While every development agency has dedicated quality assurance experts, they usually look at things from the company’s point of view, rather than the user’s.
By creating beta testing programs, companies obtain access to the most valuable POV of their product – the final customer’s. This enables them to eliminate potential setbacks before the product is released and secure its commercial success.
It’s well-known in the industry that the failure rate of tech startups can be as high as a staggering 90%. Ensuring that your services are top-notch is essential to paving the way to success, and beta testing your products is amongst the best ways to achieve this.
In this article, we’ll highlight the benefits of beta testing for both the business and the testers. In addition, we’ll provide a list of startup success stories – companies that used beta testing as a tool to improve their products, and deliver to their customers exactly what they want.
So read on and take notes!
What Is Beta Testing?
Before a product is introduced to the audience, it undergoes a lengthy process of development and testing. The initial tests, also known as alpha testing, are implemented in-house by quality assurance experts and team members in a controlled testing environment.
However, the shortcomings of this type of testing are that it is carried out in predictable conditions, by a limited number of people, who already know the product. As a result, although alpha testing is necessary and important, it is also biased and not completely reliable.
Therefore, companies also conduct the so-called “beta testing”.
Once the product development, design, and marketing strategy are ready, the beta phase begins. Instead of introducing the product to a wide audience, the company invites a limited sample of users to use and test it, and provide feedback.
In a nutshell, beta testing is similar to alpha testing, but it is implemented by users from the product’s target audience, in an uncontrolled environment, and on their own devices. The goal is to find issues the development team might have missed while providing insight into user experience and usability.
The Beta Testing Process
The beta phase is usually implemented over a limited period of time and includes the following steps:
- Defining user profiles.
- Preparing a feedback survey.
- Looking for participants.
- Reviewing applications and selecting a sample group.
- Contacting the participants and providing instructions.
- Conducting the beta testing and gathering feedback.
- Analyzing the results.
- Implementing the changes.
To make sure that the testing is efficient and delivers the required results without delaying the product release, companies should schedule each step accordingly. Furthermore, they should make sure that they choose reliable candidates that can carry out the task with due diligence and submit valuable feedback in a timely manner.
Choosing Beta Testers
Depending on the type of product, the testers may or may not have to fit certain profiles and demographics. If the company wants to attract a specific audience, they may distribute their beta products on various beta testing platforms, instead of relying only on the users who land on their websites.
Most businesses provide beta testers with incentives that reward their efforts, but there are programs where the user may need to pay a fee to participate in the study. However, this type of arrangement rarely applies to startups, as their products lack the necessary popularity, especially in the early stages of development.
Beta Testing Feedback
Once they are ready, the testers have to fill-in a feedback form and provide detailed information about their experiences of the product:
- If there were usability issues?
- Any bugs?
- Improvements/ suggestions?
- How was your user experience?
- Do you have any marketing suggestions?
- Likes and dislikes?
- Other pertinent questions like competitor comparisons, etc
Whatever types of feedback the survey requires, it usually includes both open-ended and closed-ended questions in order to ensure that the team collects enough qualitative and quantitative data.
Based on customer insight, companies can improve their product, enhance their marketing strategy, and identify new lucrative selling points.
Why Beta Testing Products Is Important?
Tech startups rely on a number of key success factors to survive and thrive. These include coming up with a great business idea, assembling a competent and reliable team, building a bullet-proof business plan, doing market research, and so forth.
However, without a high-quality product that functions properly, all these efforts might go to waste.
Furthermore, beta testing provides businesses with the following advantages:
It Allows for Testing in a Real-Life Environment
The greatest advantage of beta testing is that you are able to see how your product performs in a real environment, in the hands of your actual customers, and at scale. This allows all kinds of issues to surface and be fixed before the product goes commercial.
The difference to this happening when your product is already for sale, is that beta testers know they might encounter problems, keep an eye out for them, and provide feedback. So instead of frustrated clients who leave due to a poor experience, you have a group of people who are dedicated to looking for mistakes and providing suggestions on how to improve them.
Facilitates Demand Creation
One of the most commonly underestimated factors for startup growth is demand creation. Unless the audience needs or wants your product(s), there is no way to achieve success, regardless of how smart a business strategy you devise.
Beta testing is a great way to ensure that a product meets and exceeds the customer’s expectations. It enables businesses to identify usability setbacks, and obtain valuable feedback on design, features, and performance.
As they say, the devil’s in the details, and if your product fails to impress and satisfy the customer, it will be difficult to win their loyalty. What’s more, if they constantly encounter issues and bugs, chances are that they will become frustrated and leave or stop using your product altogether.
Furthermore, if the beta testers enjoy using your product, they can become brand advocates and help you build demand once you release it.
Informs Marketing and Sales
The open-ended questions in feedback surveys provide valuable information about how the beta testers feel about the product, what they like and dislike about it, and what makes it interesting to them.
By using this information, companies can better understand how users perceive and experience the products and apply those insights into their strategies.
Figuring out marketing and sales can be difficult for startups, especially if they don’t have accurate and clearly defined buyer personas. More often than not, businesses mix-up the image of the product with the value the customer obtains. While these should have touchpoints, they are not definitely the same thing.
Provides a Competitive Advantage
Testing is essential for succeeding in a competitive marketplace and increases the chances of a product passing another important trial – standing the test of time. If your solution is better than your competitors and delivers a seamless user experience, people are more likely to choose your brand over rivals’.
In your feedback form, you can request that the beta testers provide insight, if any, on how your product compares to other similar solutions/products, and how well it stands its ground. This way, you may identify what features to add, remove, or improve, and what else you can do to gain a competitive advantage.
Benefits of Being a Beta Tester
Ok, so beta testing is great for businesses, but what’s in it for the users?
As mentioned, in return for their cooperation, beta testers usually receive rewards by the developer, such as:
- Early access to products and features
- Using the products for free
- Cash, etc.
For example, my bank recently launched the beta version of their new mobile app and the participants in the test had the chance to win one of three Playstation 5 sets.
However, not all beta testers are in it for the incentive.
More often than not, people simply want to try out new technology because it’s fascinating and exciting. If they find your product interesting, checking it out before others is enough of a reward for them.
Furthermore, when a product is popular or introduces cutting-edge innovation, there are users who are even willing to pay a fee for joining the test just to grab a first look at it.
Also, to some tech-heads, looking for bugs is like catching Pokémons. It’s a virtual hunt that is not only fun, but provides them with the gratifying feeling of finding details that others have missed, and fixing them.
7 Startups with Successful Beta Testing Programs
Now, let’s have a look at a list of 7 inspiring startups that have successfully managed to implement their beta testing programs. This has helped them overcome production issues and create great products that the audience has fallen in love with.
Of course, beta testing is not the only thing that pre-defined their success, however, it, undoubtedly, was of great benefit.
Utopia is a decentralized P2P ecosystem that provides a secure digital experience, along with instant messaging, encrypted email communication, anonymous payments, and private web browsing. The tool enables users to keep their online privacy and enjoy the internet with no strings attached.
Image Source: https://www.croow.com/
CROOW is a creative workflow and performance management platform that helps businesses implement their ideas swiftly and efficiently. The SaaS solution provides digital tools that help streamline project collaboration, simplify processes, and ensure better communication amongst teams.
3. Medicus AI
Medicus AI is an AI-based platform that analyzes medical reports and health data provided by the user and translates it into easy-to-understand, personalized explanations and health insights. The interactive service delivers actionable health tips that can help people towards building sustainable healthy habits.
Homads is a mid-term rental platform that specializes in 30+ day rentals. It allows its users to get a feel for a city or neighborhood before moving there, or simply enjoy a long stay in a homey atmosphere, instead of a hotel.
DocSumo is an automated book-keeping and document management software package. It captures data from invoices & receipts, bank statements, forms, etc. The tool uses APIs to integrate the collected data with workflows and third-party platforms such as Zapier, SalesForce, webhooks, etc. It reduces the time spent on bookkeeping and increases the accuracy of the data.
NANOS is a digital marketing platform that enables businesses to automatically generate, target, and optimize paid advertisements (PPC) across Facebook, Instagram, and Google. The tool uses AI and machine learning to place the ads based on information on the product and a predefined budget.
7. Cats & Dogs | The Weather App!
Cats & Dogs | The Weather APP combines checking the weather and taking care of a virtual pet in the most entertaining way. You start by choosing a companion, a cat or a dog, and then select your local weather (powered by Dark Sky).
Your daily job is to take care of your pet by dressing them properly. Cats and Dogs rewards you for choosing the right clothes depending on the weather in your neighborhood. The more correct items worn, the happier your pet becomes and the more rewards you collect.
Beta testing provides valuable insights into how customers feel about new products. It enables companies to fix, in a timely manner, usability issues and design flaws, and collect first-hand feedback on their product’s performance and value to its users.
By giving early access to your target audience, beta testers can review your product in a way that no one in your company can – with fresh eyes. They can help you eliminate bugs and other issues, and allow you to show customers your best game once the release date comes.
The rest is up to clever business planning and skillful entrepreneurship.