Saturday, April 19, 2014

Beta Testing a Product - Some Thoughts

We are about to open up some of our new BuzzSumo social analytics features to a small private group of beta testers, which got me thinking about the benefits of private beta testing.

My thoughts are that private beta testing can deliver a number of benefits including:

  • Volunteer beta testers are a cost-effective and an efficient way to get feedback 
  • The testing allows you to get potential customer input into the product design 
  • Bug identification, in my experience beta testers always find bugs
  • It is relatively safe as you can control the size of the group and the feedback, unlike public beta testing
  • The testing may identify new features that users want and features they don't value
  • A small private beta test group can become a launch advocate group, it they like the product
Given these benefits it seems a sensible step to conduct a private beta test which will allow you to refine your product before wider public testing or going to market.

I will share some of the feedback and lessons from our testing as we progress. I suspect one of the main benefits will be simply getting a different perspective on the value of new features. For example, a couple of the new features we have been developing include detailed analysis of content shares for a particular topic. The charts below for example show the average shares by content type and content length for 'social analytics' and the most shared domains. I think these could add a lot of value when planning a content strategy for say social analytics, however, it will be interesting to see the feedback we get.

most shared by content length