Test Planning

Incentivizing Beta Testers to Improve Participation and Feedback Quality

During product development, it's crucial to gather feedback and gather insights from real users before launching a new product. Beta testing allows teams to gather this feedback and make necessary improvements before going to market. But how do you motivate people to sign up and actively participate in the beta testing process? 

One way is through incentivization. Incentivizing beta testers can not only increase the number of participants, but also the quality and depth of their feedback. Motivating beta testers is no easy task and each product will present unique considerations when it comes to building your incentives strategy.

In this blog, we'll explore the various ways you can incentivize beta testers and the potential benefits for your team and product.

Why do testers participate in beta tests?

There are many reasons why beta testers participate in beta tests, and the specific motivations of individual beta testers can vary. By understanding the reasons why people become beta testers, you can better tailor your test strategy and tester incentives to attract the right testers for your program.

Some reasons for participation include:

  • The opportunity to try out new products before they are widely available: Many people are excited to be among the first to try out new products and see what they are like. Beta testing gives them this opportunity.
  • The chance to shape the final product: Beta testers often have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions for improvements, which can influence the final version of the product.
  • The potential for rewards or incentives: Some beta testing programs offer rewards or incentives to encourage participation, such as access to exclusive content or discounts on the final product.
  • A desire to learn and contribute: Some testers are interested in the development process and enjoy the opportunity to learn about how products are made and tested.
  • The opportunity to influence the market: By participating in beta tests, testers can help shape the direction of a product and potentially influence the wider market.

Should I incentivize beta testers?

It is generally a smart idea to offer incentives to beta testers. Incentives can help motivate beta testers to participate in your beta test and to provide high-quality feedback. Without incentives, it may be difficult to find enough qualified beta testers and to get the feedback you need to improve your product.

Offering incentives can help you:

  • Attract more beta testers. Many people are interested in participating in beta tests, but they may not be willing to do so without some form of compensation or reward for their efforts. By offering incentives, you can attract more beta testers and increase the number of people who are willing to participate in your beta test.
  • Receive better feedback from beta testers. Beta testers who are motivated by incentives are more likely to put in the time and effort to provide detailed and useful feedback. This can help you improve your product and make it more appealing to your target audience.
  • Build relationships with beta testers. By offering incentives, you can show your appreciation for beta testers and their contributions. This can help you build relationships with beta testers and can make them more likely to participate in future beta tests or to provide feedback and support for your product.

What to Consider When Planning Your Beta Test Incentives

Think of beta test incentives as the proverbial carrot on the stick for your testers. Since beta testers are (almost always) unpaid volunteers, incentives are key to encouraging them to see your test through to the end. Picking the best incentive, however, can be a challenge. 

The goal is to give testers something they actually want, that doesn’t blow your budget, and ultimately, shows testers their feedback is valued. The distribution of incentives is your final thank you to your tester team, so you want to make sure they walk away from their testing experience on a positive note. 

When selecting your incentive, you need to determine the general value of your gift before you can decide exactly what it’s going to be. To do so, you need to take a few key things into account:

  1. Budget: First, determine your beta test’s incentives budget, and what the cost per tester will be. You can use our Incentives Calculator to input variables like the length of your test, number of testers, and type of product to estimate the value of your incentives.
  2. Test Length: Second, consider the length of your test. There’s a huge difference in responsibility for testers who commit to one week of testing versus six months of testing. The value of your incentive should be in line with your test’s length.
  3. Intensity and Complexity: Third, be honest. Does your test require testers to turn on your product once a week and answer a few questions, or does it require daily extended use and detailed feedback? Your incentive should reflect the level of work you expect from your tester team.

What is a typical incentive for beta testers?

While deciding on your incentive strategy, it’s important to keep in mind the overall value of the incentive so that it aligns with the effort your testers are expected to put into your test. 

Some good incentives might include:

  • Gift Cards: Gift cards are an easy (and very popular) way to show appreciation to your tester team without having to deal with the headache of organizing physical gifts.
  • Your Company’s Other Products: Just because the product being tested isn’t a good incentive doesn’t mean your company is out of the game. Consider giving your testers something else from your product line, or something that is technologically complementary to the product being tested.
  • Ancillary Products: Other appropriately-priced products that relate to your beta product might also be a great option. For instance, if your beta product is a laptop, perhaps a wireless mouse would be a suitable gift.
  • Big Ticket Prizes: Sometimes a little healthy competition goes a long way. Have your testers compete for big ticket items by adding drawings or contests to your beta program. Big ticket prizes are often the most motivating incentives for testers, especially when managing a large beta test.
  • Product Discounts: Discounts can work, especially if you’re testing a B2B product or if your product is expensive and you’re recruiting testers from your existing loyal customer base. If you think a product discount is the right move for your team, then supplement the discount with a custom tester t-shirt or a gift card to substantiate the reward.
  • Personalized Gifts/Swag: Custom t-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, or USB drives give a personalized touch and act as great keepsakes for your tester team. These gifts are especially powerful if you make them beta specific by not only including your logo but also putting “beta team member” or something similar on them. Your testers will be reminded of their experience with your company for years to come and act as brand ambassadors as they use or wear your gifts.

Some non-monetary incentives can include:

  • Interaction with the brand or organization
  • Impacting the product
  • Engaging with like minded individuals
  • Recognition
  • Vanity titles

How can Centercode help with incentivizing beta testers?

Centercode is a complete system for managing beta tests from start to finish – it’s easily scalable and includes everything you need to recruit targeted testers, track tester participation, distribute incentives, and so much more. By utilizing the following features, you can provide a rewarding and engaging experience for beta testers, and you can help motivate them to provide high-quality feedback and to actively participate.

Centercode features that will help incentivize testers: 

  • Tester Impact Score: Tester Impact Score is a useful calculation to identify your superstars in your test and helps you set criteria for rewarding engagement appropriately.
  • Distributed Values: Distributed Values are useful for quickly distributing incentive codes and other information related to incentives to specific users to access easily.
  • Email Templates with Dynamic Tags: Utilize dynamic tags in your email templates to communicate personalized incentive information to your individual testers.
  • Automated engagement: Engagement automation uses machine learning to personalize mass communication to individual testers in a way that drives ongoing project participation, resulting in higher participation and more feedback received from your testers.

Email Template for Thanking Testers

This email template is designed to thank beta testers for their participation in a beta test and aims to create a positive and engaging experience for beta testers, and to build a sense of community and connection among testers.

Subject: Thank you for participating in our beta test!

Dear [Beta Tester],

We wanted to take a moment to thank you for participating in our beta test! Your feedback and insights have been invaluable, and they have helped us to improve our product and to make it more valuable for our users.

We are grateful for your time and effort, and we hope that you have found the beta test to be an engaging and rewarding experience. We are always looking for ways to improve the beta testing process, so please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any suggestions or feedback.

Once again, thank you for participating in our beta test. We appreciate your support, and we look forward to working with you again in the future.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

[Your Company]

Conclusion

Every beta test relies heavily upon its team of testers, which are often volunteers giving up their free time to help improve your product. As a result, one of the most challenging aspects of managing a beta test is finding creative ways to keep beta testers engaged and participating throughout your project. 

While offering incentives to beta testers can help motivate them to provide high-quality feedback and to participate actively in the beta test, it is not always necessary or feasible. By carefully considering the pros and cons of incentivizing beta testers, you can make the best decision for your company and your product.

Read our Beta Incentives Kit to learn more about how to properly incentivize your beta testers.

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