Product Management 101: Initial Testing Methods – Alpha & Beta Testing

Alpha & Beta Testing – commonly known as A/B Testing – is designed to find out which design is more effective. In other words, you put two variations of the same product in front of users and measure the interactions.

Yellow And Blue Surface

The variations could be as simple as different colors or as major as completely different approaches. Each design can offer its own set of benefits. Essentially, you are putting option “A” and option “B” in front of users to test out whether different elements are better at motivating users to take an action that will benefit your company.

This is different than Usability Testing, which is to test the ease of use of a product. A/B does not require you to recruit and survey users. You use live, real-time traffic on your site to test different versions. This makes the results of A/B Testing quantitative in nature. It focuses on answering the question, “How many?” Whereas, Usability Testing is more qualitative, with people giving you their opinions and impressions.

For example, if you see that users respond to a “call for action” twice as often in the A option, compared to the B option, then you have valuable insight to show that option A is more effective in motivating people to take action and engage with your site. This insight from A/B Testing can save you time, money and effort.

You can use a variety of different tools for A/B testing and it might be difficult to know which one that is best for your startup. Keep in mind that the solution you ought to use is one that will make you marketing efforts autonomous without added technical constraints. To this end, focuses on using A/B testing tools that are intuitive and easy to set up. What’s more, opt for testing solutions that can do more than simple first tests on to much more complex and meaningful scenarios with front- and back-end support.

Low Angle Photo of a Building

You will learn very fast that A/B testing allows you to learn about your product and audience in a more rigorous manner. Once you start to perform A/B tests on your idea, product, and business, pay close attention to what you want to learn about your product and your audience in order to determine what to test. Your revenue is the summary of the decisions made by your audience, including both customers and potential customers. Done right, you will get very close to understanding what your users want and how they are thinking about their needs and your offering.

Some A/B testing solutions that you can use right away are Optimizely, Google Optimize, VWO, Unbounce, and Luckyorange.