What is beta testing for mobile apps?

Glossary What is beta testing for mobile apps?


What does beta testing mean?

Mobile app beta testing involves giving a group of target users access to your app to test and evaluate its performance. It's like performers conducting a dress rehearsal before a big show to smooth out any rough edges before launching to a wider audience. The purpose is to ensure that everything runs smoothly when the curtain rises.

Ideally, beta testing should occur when there's still enough time in the development cycle to make meaningful changes based on the feedback, but close enough to the launch to reflect the final product accurately.

What is the difference between alpha and beta testing?

Alpha testing is done in-house while beta testing is done with end-users. In alpha testing, employees examine the app's stability and functionality, often combining white-box (testers already familiar with how the app works) and black-box (testing without internal knowledge) approaches. Beta testing, on the other hand, is fully black-box. These users interact with the app in genuine scenarios, providing invaluable insights into their preferences and feelings.

The difference between alpha testing vs. beta testing

What is the difference between UAT and beta testing?

User acceptance testing (UAT) is a kind of half-step between alpha and beta testing. UAT is more about verification than technical testing. It’s the final development step before the app goes live. UAT confirms that the app performs its intended functions effectively in real-world scenarios. The test cases are structured and specific.

On the other hand, beta testing is performed by actual end-users of the app in a real-world environment. It's less structured than UAT. Beta testers provide feedback on functionality, usability, and overall user experience, which may not necessarily align with specific business requirements but is invaluable for understanding how the software will perform in the hands of everyday users.

What's tested

What is examined in beta testing?

Here are some key areas that are tested:

  1. Feature suitability
  2. Performance and speed
  3. Technical stability
  4. Real-world adaptability
  5. Hidden bugs
  6. Localization nuances
  7. Scalability


Why is beta testing important?

In a nutshell, beta testing is important because it:

  • Prioritizes customer needs
  • Reduces product failure risk
  • Tests post-launch infrastructure
  • Identifies overlooked bugs
  • Enhances product quality
  • Increases customer satisfaction


Types of beta testing

It’s important to note that while valuable for all apps, beta testing isn't a one-size-fits-all process. It must align with your specific goals and requirements. To accommodate these varying needs, there are two types of beta testing to choose from:

  1. Open beta testing: No restrictions on the number of users involved. Anyone interested can participate. Think: An open invitation party.
  2. Closed beta testing: Invite-only testing, where users receive specific invitations to participate. Think: A private dinner party.

From there, you can choose from further subsets of beta testing:

  1. Technical beta testing: Involves tech-savvy users to uncover complex bugs.
  2. Focused beta testing: Targeted testing for specific features.
  3. Marketing beta testing: Testing with industry influencers, designed to get media attention and assess marketing channels.

When to beta test

Optimal timing for maximum beta test effectiveness

For the most accurate and valuable results, beta testing should be done when:

  • Core features are fully functional. This doesn't mean every feature needs to be final, but the app should be stable enough to perform its primary functions without critical bugs.
  • The user interface and overall usability are in a good state. While these aspects can still be refined based on beta feedback, they should be developed enough to provide a coherent user experience.
  • Clear goals and metrics are set for what you want to achieve with beta testing. This could include specific aspects of the app you want feedback on, performance benchmarks, user experience aspects, etc.
  • The necessary resources are in place to support the beta test. This includes staff to monitor feedback, analyze data, and implement changes based on the feedback received.
  • All legal and compliance checks are completed. This is essential to protect both the company and the beta testers.
  • Alpha testing is completed. Passing initial QA checks is crucial to avoid wasting beta testers' time on issues that could have been easily identified and resolved in-house.

The length of your beta test depends on your objectives. Many tests run for three to five weeks. However, plan for potential delays.


Beta testing and Adjust

Working with a mobile measurement partner (MMP) during the beta testing phase can significantly elevate the quality and effectiveness of the testing process. A partner like Adjust brings a suite of advanced measurement tools to the table that can dissect user interactions, app performance, and marketing channels with a fine-tooth comb.

A data-driven lens to observe how real users interact with your app in various scenarios offers invaluable insights that might escape the naked eye. The analytical prowess of an MMP can unveil patterns and trends in user behavior, enabling a more targeted identification and resolution of issues. Request a demo to learn more about how Adjust can help you guarantee a successful hard launch.

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