How to Find Early Beta Users For Your App

This is a guest post by Bobby Gill, founder of Blue Label Labs.

Are you looking for beta testers to help you facilitate the initial features of your mobile app?

Do you need to find early users to test and find bugs?

Finding beta users who can provide critical feedback is one step to ensure your app is ready for the masses. And while your friends and family are a great place to start, they may not tech-savvy or be in your target market.

In this post, you will discover how a few of the top apps found their early beta users and how you can do the same.

#1: Reddit

Beta users on Reddit

While you may know Reddit as the website for funny animated gifs and viral videos, did you know that there is a sub-Reddit community of game developers?

In fact, within the gamedev sub-Reddit, there is a thread called Screenshot Saturday where every Saturday you can post links to screenshots of games that you are working on.

It’s a great way to get feedback from the Reddit community and drive early interest in your app.

We put our new Word Hack app within the thread and got a few emails just from that one post.

Ninja Tip: Before posting a link of your screenshot to Reddit, first share it on Twitter and then post the Twitter status link to Reddit. It’s an easy way to pick up a few Twitter followers.

Twitter status

Another app that made a great use of Reddit to find beta testers is the Fairshare app, that got their first 1000 users that way.

#2: PreApps

Find beta users with Pre Apps

PreApps coins itself as “your personal preview into the world of mobile apps!”.

PreApps (that just launched its v2) connects eager mobile app users with mobile app developers in hopes of creating a better quality, more successful apps. By implementing user feedback in the development process, apps have a greater chance of success, and users a more enjoyable experience.

It is completely free to post your app on the site, but you can also pay to be a part of the Featured Apps section of the PreApps homepage.

Interested users can vote up your app, be notified when it’s been released, and sign up to become a beta tester of the app. PreApps will feature apps with the highest votes on its homepage.

Craneballs Studios, makers of the popular app Overkill 2, says PreApps played a role in their successful launch which reached over 250,000 downloads day of launch.

#3: Craigslist

Beta users with Craigslist

Need a new couch or looking to sell your old phone, then you should definitely use Craigslist. However, did you know that Craigslist can also be a great source for beta users?

In fact, Level CEO Jake Fuentes said in his interview on Mobile App Chat that he put an ad up on Craigslist promoting a pizza and app party where those who were interested who get free pizza in exchange for feedback on the app.

Not only did he receive some great insight into the key features of the app, but it also allowed him to validate some of the problems he was hoping to solve with the app.

The company has raised $5 million Series A funding and has been covered the NYTimes, Techcrunch, CNN, and other major publications.

#4: Upwork

Upwork beta testers

While many of us in the app business are aware that we can find developers on Upwork, many of us are NOT aware that we can also find beta testers on the website as well.

Upwork has affordable testers who can help you refine the early versions of your app. You can ask them to answer a series of questions, find bugs, or make suggestions on user experience (UX).

While I’m hesitant to completely rely on Upwork for UX feedback, it is a great resource for affordable bug testing.

Rather than posting a job, you may consider doing a quick search for “iPhone beta testers” and sifting through the results for those with experience and high average ratings.

#5: UserTesting

User Testing

UserTesting lets you “look over the shoulder” of people in your target audience while they use your mobile app. For $49, you can get a video of a real user testing your mobile site or app in about 1 hour.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You select testers and devices within your target audience specifying gender, age, device, and operating system.
  2. Create a series of tasks users should perform (including installing apps) & follow up with questions they should answer.
  3. A tester speaks her thoughts while a high-resolution webcam captures her entire experience.
  4. Watch, edit, annotate, make clips, and share your videos with your team.

Evernote used UserTesting to understand customer interaction across multiple platforms, improve functionality to increase engagement, and streamline the sign up process.

“On a slow Friday night, I have been able to push a build to UserTesting and receive quality tester videos in 20 minutes,” said Philip Constantinou, VP of Product for Evernote. “It’s addictive to find out almost immediately what people think.”

By using UserTesting, Evernote saw a 15% increase in user retention and dramatic increase in user engagement.

Conclusion

To create a successful mobile app, it is NEVER too early to start marketing and finding early beta testers will help you not only refine your features, but also help you with your sales pitch.

Features that you may have thrown away may end up being your unique selling point. Using the websites above, you will be able to find the beta testers and early users who will kickstart the traction for your app.

Did we miss a website? What was your favorite resource from the list above? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Bobby Gill is the founder of Blue Label Labs, a mobile app development lab based in New York, and the editor of IdeaToAppster.com, the premier online resource for news, articles and tips for mobile app design and development.

Guest Expert

This article was written by one of our awesome Guest Experts. We really appreciate the time and knowledge that they share with the app marketing community in our guest posts.

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