Businesses large and small are unlocking the potential of mobile testing. The logic behind mobile testing is nothing new, but in the midst of the current mobile explosion, many are realizing that now is the time to get their underperforming mobile sites firing on all cylinders.
By 2017, the world will have downloaded nearly 270 billion mobile apps, providing brands with valuable user data they can use to spur even more downloads. With an ever-increasing number of your customers accessing your site via mobile device, it is absolutely imperative for them to be presented with clear, concise, and accessible mobile experiences. An effective mobile site delivers not only what you want consumers to see, but also — and more importantly — what they came for in the first place.
For a Killer Mobile Strategy, Get Obsessed With Testing
Killing it with a mobile-testing strategy means pushing the envelope and continually asking how to improve even more. While your mobile experience will keep getting better, you will never reach a plateau where you no longer need to optimize your mobile sites and apps. That is because your users’ needs and expectations will always be evolving.
Mobile users are picky and impatient. They determine within seconds whether they like a mobile site or app. If it is too complicated or too slow, they will move on and possibly post a negative review in the app store. Because you have just one quick opportunity to get it right — and because test cycles keep shrinking to stay competitive — developing a smart mobile-testing strategy is the key to success.
It may sound obvious, but it bears repeating: To find out what works and what does not work for your mobile audience, you need a mobile strategy based on focused, consistent testing.
Four Tips for a Killer Mobile-Testing Strategy
You do not need to be a genius to optimize a mobile site or app; you just need to test and identify important user-behavior trends. Following are four ways you can start doing that today.
- Test Early and Often
What are you waiting for? There are countless details and variables to optimize, and your audience will not wait long for you to get it right. So, test at your earliest opportunity — and then continue testing. Gerie Owen, an expert in test-driven development, explains, “Testers must work closely with developers and usability designers not only to understand the requirements, but also to make the types of suggestions that will expedite the development process.”
Some brands launch mobile sites despite only truly testing their desktop sites. Unfortunately, what works on desktop will not translate to a mobile device where fat-finger-friendly design is key. Call-to-action (CTA) buttons and registration forms must be bigger and simpler to accommodate thumbs browsing on the go. Seriously take into consideration WHY your visitors would be accessing your site from a mobile device and clearly present ways to complete those actions on the mobile homepage or as early as is possible. For example, one auto-insurance brand was able to increase engagement with its roadside-assistance line by over 1000 percent simply by moving the phone number to the top of the mobile-web homepage instead of being buried deep within the mobile site.
- Do Not Reinvent the Wheel: A/B Testing
Getting results from mobile testing is not magic. Developing and using a commonsense mobile-testing strategy to determine who is using your site, what devices they are using, and what they are looking for can lead to huge gains in conversions.
Mobile A/B testing allows you to simultaneously run multiple versions of your mobile site to real users and then measure which performs the best. When brands employ rigorous A/B testing, they can hone in on the right mobile message to the right mobile users at the right mobile minute. For example, Marks & Spencer used A/B testing on their new full-screen “Cooking Mode” in their mobile recipe app and discovered that a simple tweak to a CTA button caused a 20 percent increase in engagement.
- Personalize With Targeted Notifications
“Find value in micro-moments” by applying lessons learned in mobile testing to personalize the mobile experience. Testing is the backbone of real-time personalization, enabling you to deliver targeted notifications that bring value to your mobile experience and keep users coming back.
This requires the ability to integrate targeting, testing, and analytics so that behavioral data feeds directly into content automation. As you test your in-app and mobile-web content, look for opportunities to connect content to users’ unique locations, preferences, and lifecycle data. The payoff will be well worth the effort: “highly targeted push notifications can drive up to 293 percent more response. 293 percent!”
- Test for Device Fragmentation
A core challenge of mobile testing is testing for the increasing variety of devices, operating systems, browsers, network-connection speeds, CPUs (central processing units), connections, and more. Non-functional testing (testing aspects of mobile experience that are not connected to user behavior) is critical to reaching your full audience without alienating users because their browsers or devices are incompatible with your mobile site or app.
For example, performance testing can reveal your response time and mobile-transaction processing speed on different carriers and from different locations. Stress testing will show you what happens when a user has low storage or memory, and volume testing shows how your mobile website performs under a high volume of users and data.
What happens when a user’s battery is low or they receive a text while navigating your app? If you do not know the answer, you have not investigated your mobile-user experience deeply enough.
A Mobile-Testing Strategy Leads to Mobile Value
Ultimately, you want your mobile site and apps to serve deeper purposes than simply checking your “branded mobile experience” box. Mobile testing is a powerful way to gather feedback from users and insights into their pain points and desires. The better you know your users, the more value and utility you will be able to deliver — and not just one-time value but consistent value over time as your users evolve and you continue to test.
Mobile testing certainly presents new challenges, but the good news is that the skills you need to test well are no different from the skills you have already honed as a digital marketer. When you have a deep curiosity about your users, relentlessly test for their needs and preferences, and challenge yourself to think outside the box, your mobile value goes through the roof!