5 Rules & 10 Tools for Mobile App A/B Testing
As the statistics reveal, there are almost 1.6 million apps available in Google Play, followed by 1.5 million apps in Apple App Store as of July 2015. Thus, it has become very important to understand what customers are looking for.
There are a variety of mobile apps available in both Google Play and the App Store, but have you ever wondered why there is only a handful of apps that have gained popularity amongst the users? For instance, a huge number of gaming applications are available, but why have games like Angry Birds & Candy Crush topped the charts while others struggle for a single download? There is a valid reason behind this, as players were fed with what they wanted, and in turn, their response to these smartphone apps was tremendous.
It is critical at this point to come up with something new and stand out of the crowd. It’s important to create a brand name that people can talk about. One of the most important things on this list is customer retention.
If you are in the phase of developing a new mobile application, or if you have recently launched your app in the market but it is still lagging behind from the top-rated apps, it’s time for you to revisit your app strategy and think of the improvements you can make.
Instead, stand in your customer’s shoes and try to find out the reason why your app isn’t as popular as you would like. I am sure you will be able to find some great ideas for improvisation. One such approach, which I can help you with, is A/B testing.
A/B testing enables you to test your mobile app just like a science project. It helps you test two or more app pages and determine which performs better. A/B testing allows you to back up your guesswork with the hard data of testing. And, it shows you the results and the ROI of the marketing strategy that you have developed. The majority of market leaders engage heavily in A/B testing to gain popularity among customers.
Now that we are clear with what A/B testing is and what we can gain out of it, let’s move on to discover some simple, yet significant rules to guide your A/B testing strategy as an effective tool for your mobile application:
Rule #1: Plan Appropriately
Planning plays the most important part in a project. Once you have made up your mind about A/B testing, decide what you want to test. This could be a series of variables that you would like to test, such as the text, color, or button size that converts the best.
It is important to make sure that you have a clear idea about what results you are looking for. You also need to be aware of your baseline results, the results which you are currently getting. Only then will you be able to understand the difference A/B testing has created for your mobile app.
Rule #2: Start Simple
With mobile interfaces, even small changes can make significant differences. I recommend you start with small tweaks, taking one variable at a time, targeting the most simple and important elements like the headline, navigation, and color schemes first.
Rule #3: Keep It Up to Achieve the Long-Term Goal
Whenever we opt for a change, we often tend to overlook the holistic result. We focus more on short-term results than long-term results. It is obvious that you want to increase the conversion rate for your app immediately, but you may not be able to achieve this in the first test that you run. Sometimes, it takes more time to get the desired results. So, it is important that you keep up the good work as there is always a room for improvement when testing a mobile app.
Rule #4: Understand the Customer’s Needs
Understanding customer needs is one of the most important elements of A/B testing. Have you ever thought what makes stores like Pizza Hut and Domino’s famous? They have specific customers who know, before visiting their stores, what they are looking for and know they will get a consistent experience. If I want to have Pizza, for example, I will visit Dominos; if I want to grab a burger, I will make my way to McDonald’s.
Likewise, know exactly what you are serving to your customers. If you want to become a master of something, define your target audience, understand their needs, and keep serving them religiously. It does not make any sense to be the Jack-of-all-Trades and master of none.
Rule #5: Engage Your Customers
Understanding your customer’s needs and designing your app around them may work. Yet, there will still be a number of customers that will try your mobile app and leave without a conversion. To understand what made them leave half-way through is essential as it helps explain customer churn.
You need to understand the reasons for their non-conversion behavior; the best way you could do this is to publish an exit survey and ask them why they are leaving. This can help you document the difficulties that customers face that ultimately make them leave. You can use this data to improvise your app in the near future.
What important elements you should check?
Once you have understood the five ground rules of effective A/B Testing, let us now move to understand the most important variables you need to test. Let’s take a look at them one by one.
Headlines are the first thing people notice. They play a role in attracting a visitor and make them excited about what you have to offer. Headlines are always among the most important A/B tests and have proved to create a major impact on the conversion rates.
Testing Price Points:
Pricing is a complex topic for discussion. Most entrepreneurs price their products by supply-and-demand or simply by their gut feeling, which is rarely correct.
Pricing a physical product is manageable, but pricing a digital product with no cost of production seems to be difficult as you need to price your product as the market values it.
The concept is very simple: The higher the price, the lower your demand, and vice-versa. As you can see in the graph above, increasing prices by 10% reduced the quantity purchased by 15%, which then reduced total revenues.
Every product has a price point in the graph at which they can maximize revenue. Above this price, demand drops and revenues fall. Below this price, demand outpaces the price, leaving you write off potential revenue.
Keep in mind a basic rule: Humans don’t have a meter in their mind to find the worth of your product. They tend to focus on the relative advantage of one thing over the other. Thus, you need to be very cautious when split-testing your pricing strategy.
Testing App Store Descriptions:
The way you describe your app makes a major difference in conversion. After the title, the next thing customers look at is your app’s description in the App Store or Google Play. This description works as a vehicle for customer acquisition. It should be one of the variants to test in your A/B testing.
App descriptions may start from marketing message or with your existing customer ratings and reviews. There could be a number of questions that come to mind: Should the description be short or sweet? Should it be an extensive description or should it come with a few bullet points?
Don’t worry. Your A/B test results will give an answer to all these questions.
Testing Payment Gateways:
Have you ever heard that people trust some payment gateways more than others? Or that some countries require security layers like 3-D Secure while others don’t? Having an optimized payment gateway impacts your conversion rates dramatically. Some people may not like to pay through an unsecure payment gateway. Therefore, it is advisable to go the route of secure gateways like PayPal or Stripe.
In the above segment, we have already discussed a few tips to effectively A/B testing your app. Now, let me showcase some A/B testing tools to make the work much simpler.
Remember one simple fact while choosing: All of these the tools more or less provide the same features. It is up to you to choose the best one for your app, considering your requirements and budget.
Optimizely is one of the hottest A/B testing platforms around. It is a cost-efficient premium option for entry-level developers. It has an intuitive interface that is easy to implement. It also offers the best-in-class integrations with a code-free visual editor.
2. Five Second Test:
The Five Second Test tool employs a simple, yet amazing mechanism of showing your design to people for five seconds. After five seconds, those who saw your design will be asked questions about they remembered.
The Five Second Test gives you an insight into a customer’s first impressions of your mobile application.
Apptimize is a mobile application optimization company that offers A/B testing. It claims to be the most powerful tool around, with the most reliable SDK and robust analytics.
It comes with no coding and no tagging, and it deploys changes immediately. Apptimize lets you change the color, copy, position, images, and navigation items within your app.
4. Google Analytics Experiments:
Google Analytics is a complete A/B testing platform that utilizes Google’s manifold approach. It allows you to split-test up to 10 versions of each page and delivers a page at random to customers via a separate URL. You can also choose the objective you would like to test and get updates via email on how the experiment is performing.
Kissmetrics is an outstanding A/B testing tool that lets you analyze what is working and what is not working. It prompts customers with the right interaction at the right moment, and it advertises its ability to increase conversion and decrease churn.
6. Adobe Target:
Adobe Target is a tool that offers personalization. It claims to help you pick the best content by conducting various simple-to-run tests, the results of which will help you deliver the right experience to the right customer. Adobe Target provides a guided testing and targeting workflow and framework, with no coding or setup hassles.
7. Convert Experiment:
Convert Experiment claims to be the most affordable tool for A/B testing with a price plan starting at only $9 per month. Convert helps in creating and editing tests on the fly and features an advanced style sheet editor for multifold dynamic pages. It also creates non-technical A/B testing and is known for its split testing.
Vanity is a development framework driven by new experiments for Ruby on Rails. You can use Vanity to test your Rails application and receive a simple report.
It is an open source program and open to public contributions. The most important and attractive feature of vanity is that it comes free of cost.
Oracle’s Maxymiser is another A/B testing tool that seeks to optimize the customer experience with the effective use of testing, insights, and personalization.
Maxymiser offers services as per the requirement of different business types. From self-service to customer plans, they have a plan for everything and everyone.
10. Change Again:
Change Again is a full-fledged automatic A/B testing tool, with an easy-to-use visual editor. It advertises one of the easiest A/B test setup procedures with a quick one-time installation. It also has a customer support team that provides 24/7 support to its clients.
The Bottom Line:
In this article, we reviewed a series of best practices and tools for an effective and efficient A/B testing strategy. You have a variety of choices from this competitive market, but keep in mind the list of your requirements and select the one that suits you best.
About the Author:
Gaurav Sharma is a founder of Antipull, a Digital Strategist at Nine Hertz, a mobile app development company, and a Marketing-Tech writer. He has expertise in SEO, ASO, CRO, PPC, and other online marketing fields. He is an enthusiast and loves to explore new fields. You can check him out on Facebook and Twitter.