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Test Strategy

How to Screen Beta Test Applicants to Maximize the Value of Your User Test

January 6, 2023

As a product developer, you know the value of a successful beta test. It's an opportunity to gather valuable feedback from real users and make necessary improvements before launching your product to the wider market. But with so many eager applicants, how do you choose the right ones?

By taking the time to properly screen applicants and build a strong recruitment strategy around your test goals, you can not only ensure the success of your beta test, but also maximize the overall value and usefulness of your product. 

In this blog, we'll explore how to appropriately screen applicants for a beta test in order to maximize the value.

What is a beta tester recruitment strategy?

Just like with most things, you want to start with a strategy and put a solid plan in place. A beta tester recruitment strategy is a plan for attracting and selecting individuals to participate in a beta test. This strategy typically involves defining your target audience, determining recruitment channels, creating a screening survey, identifying test incentives, and determining how you want to go about evaluating the responses you receive. By following a structured recruitment strategy, you can effectively attract and select the best beta testers for your product, starting with a strong screening survey to attract people to apply for your test.

What is the goal of a beta test screening survey?

The ultimate goal of a screening/qualification survey is to gather enough information about your beta candidates to determine which ones are the most enthusiastic and representative of your target market, and therefore the best testers. The survey typically includes questions about the applicant's experience, knowledge, and expertise, tech products they own, as well as their availability and willingness to provide feedback.

To do this, you’ll need to collect two types of information:

  1. First, you need to assess whether your applicants fit the demographic and technical requirements of your beta test. 
  2. Second, you’ll need to collect more subjective information that will gauge traits like enthusiasm and motivation to determine if each candidate will make an effective beta tester. Your qualification survey needs to be designed to cover both of these areas to ensure that you have enough information to select the best testers from your candidate pool.

How long should my screening survey be?

While you don’t want to make your screening survey too long and exhausting, there is value in using it to elicit some effort from your test candidates. The application process is a great opportunity to gauge how much energy a candidate is willing to invest into your beta test. If the candidate isn’t willing to put five minutes into applying, then they’re unlikely to devote much time to testing your product. Still, you don’t want to wear your potential testers out before they’re even on your test, so a good rule of thumb is to keep your qualification survey to 20 questions or less.

What teams can help you create the criteria for a beta test screening survey?

By involving different teams within your organization in the process of creating the criteria for your screening survey, you can ensure that you are considering a wide range of perspectives and selecting the most qualified and suitable testers for your product.

The specific teams you work with will depend on your product and the goals of your beta test, but some key teams might include:

  • Product development team: The product development team is typically responsible for designing and building the product, and they may be able to provide valuable insights into the specific skills and expertise that would be most useful in a beta tester.
  • Marketing team: The marketing team is typically responsible for understanding the target audience and their needs and preferences, and they may be able to provide valuable insights into the characteristics that would make a good beta tester for the product.
  • User experience (UX) team: The UX team is typically responsible for designing the user experience and ensuring that it is intuitive and enjoyable, and they may be able to provide valuable insights into the characteristics that would make a good beta tester for the product.
  • Quality assurance (QA) team: The QA team is responsible for testing and verifying the quality of the product, so they can provide valuable input on the qualifications and characteristics that will be most useful for beta testers to have.

Do all beta tests need to have a screener survey for applicants?

Not all beta tests need to have a screener survey, but it is generally a good idea to have one to ensure those that apply are qualified and suitable for your beta test. Whether or not you use a screener survey will depend on the specific goals and objectives of your beta test, and on the size and nature of your target audience. It is important to carefully consider the needs of your product and your target audience, and to decide whether or not a screener survey is the best approach for your beta test.

Screening applicants can help you:

  • Find beta testers who meet the specific requirements and criteria for your beta test.
  • Find beta testers who are genuinely interested in your product and are willing to put in the effort to provide valuable feedback.
  • Avoid potential issues or problems with your beta test.

Selecting a System

You can build your applicant screening process a couple of different ways. You can build your survey or page using a free service such as SurveyMonkey or Zoomerang. This is an inexpensive way to qualify applicants in an automated way, however your ability to filter the data and use it throughout the rest of your beta test will be severely limited. The other option is to use a beta management tool (such as Centercode), which has features like user segmentation and scoring that can make this whole process much easier and faster.

Be Selective

In summary, screening beta test applicants is an important step in the beta testing process, and can help ensure that you select the best beta testers for your product. By using a beta test application screening survey, you can evaluate the suitability of potential beta testers based on their experience, knowledge, and expertise. You can also use the survey to assess their availability and willingness to provide feedback. 

By carefully selecting beta testers who are representative of your target audience, and who have the right skills and expertise, you can ensure that you receive valuable feedback and insights that will help improve your product before launch. 

Check out our Beta Tester Recruitment Kit - it takes you step-by-step through the process of recruiting ideal testers for your beta test, and outlines best practices to keep in mind.

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