Beta Testing – Complete Guide to Validate Products

Do you want to take your software from "pretty good" to "absolutely amazing?" That's the power of beta testing. It exposes your app to real users, uncovering insights and bugs before the big public release.

In this guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about beta testing and beta testing software – its benefits, processes, and best practices. Keep reading to learn how to make your software truly exceptional.

What is Beta testing?

Beta testing is a critical phase of acceptance testing in which end-users evaluate a product before its official release. The beta tester group is typically smaller than the full customer base expected after the product launch.

This phase offers developers valuable insights into the product's performance and usability from the end-user's perspective, which often differs significantly from the developer's. 

Feedback from beta testers is collected, analyzed, and used to refine and enhance the product, ensuring it meets the users' needs and expectations before the official launch.


In simple terms, when end users tell you your product is great, you know it's genuine feedback, not just your own bias. Although beta testing depends on real users and can't be fully automated, automation tools can help manage the process.

What are the types of beta testing?

There are five main types of beta testing, each helping to ensure your software is top-notch. While they all aim to improve the product, they do so in different ways.

1. Private/Closed Beta testing

Closed beta testing involves releasing the software to a select group of users who test its features and functionalities. The number of testers is limited and chosen carefully to meet specific needs. Closed betas are great for testing particular aspects, like a new app feature or a website's landing page.

2. Public/Open Beta testing

Open beta testing, or public beta testing, is open to a larger number of testers. This approach allows developers to gather extensive feedback on how the app performs and how users interact with it. Open betas help assess the app's scalability and infrastructure by exposing it to a wider audience.

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3. Focused Beta testing

Focused beta testing targets feedback on a specific feature, often when new features are introduced to existing products. Depending on the developers ' needs, this approach can be either closed or open and helps ensure that new features are well-integrated and functional.

4. Technical Beta testing

Technical beta testing is a subtype of closed beta testing involving tech-savvy testers who look for complex bugs. This type of testing requires testers with the expertise to identify and report intricate issues, making it more controlled than open beta testing.

5. Marketing Beta testing

Marketing beta testing aims to generate media attention for a new app. It evaluates both the product and the effectiveness of marketing channels in gaining recognition. This type of testing helps gauge potential customer interest and predict retention rates. If interest wanes before the official release, it signals the need for improvements to boost the app's appeal and retention.

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Understanding these types of beta testing helps developers choose the best method for their needs, ensuring the product is thoroughly tested and refined before its official launch.

What is the difference between alpha testing and beta testing?

Alpha and beta testing are distinct but complementary steps in the software testing process.

Alpha testing

Alpha testing is conducted before beta testing and helps to identify as many bugs as possible before the product reaches end users. This phase relies on internal testing, meaning company employees who are not directly involved in the software's development participate in the testing process. The goal is to simulate real user interactions using both white-box and black-box testing techniques.

Beta testing

Beta testing involves real end users testing the product in a real-world environment. Unlike alpha testing, which is conducted internally, beta testing outsources the testing process to external users. This phase helps developers gather feedback on the product's performance, usability, and scalability from a broader audience.

Key differences

  • Testing Teams: Alpha testing is performed by internal company employees, while external end users perform beta testing.
  • Testing Environment: Alpha tests are conducted in a controlled, specialized testing environment within the company, while beta tests occur in the real-world environments of end users.
  • Purpose: Alpha testing focuses on finding bugs and issues early in the development process, whereas beta testing aims to gather user feedback and ensure the product performs well in real-world scenarios.

In summary, the main difference between alpha and beta testing is similar to the distinction between in-house testing and crowdtesting.

Alpha testing is an internal process that catches early issues. In contrast, beta testing leverages external feedback to refine the product before its official launch.

Advantages of alpha testing and beta testing

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When is beta testing used?

Beta testing always happens after alpha testing, which in turn takes place after various other tests have already happened. There are a few more specific situations that call for beta testing. We’ve put together five of the most common ones below.

1. When you need to collect qualitative data about your users

Your target users' typical interaction patterns are only sometimes going to be intuitive. However, to successfully target your products to those users, you'll need to know about those patterns and adjust the software accordingly. 

Collecting qualitative data during a beta test is a great way to bridge that gap. This is especially effective when you use an open beta model. That way, you'll gather more significant quantities of data, allowing you to draw more accurate conclusions about usage patterns.

Pro tip

With GAT, you can conduct a moderated usability test that combines client interviews with quantitative data on their success in achieving predefined goals, all facilitated by a moderator.


2. When you want to market your product using influencers

Most marketers find influencer marketing to be very effective. That means it's a great marketing niche for you to use to raise brand awareness and prove to your stakeholders that you can increase your profits when the app is properly launched. 

That's where beta testing – especially of the marketing variety – comes in. You can choose to release your beta version as an "exclusive sneak peek" into your new software. That way, influencers can build hype for it among their followers, which ensures you get both marketing value and end-user feedback from this beta test.

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3. When you want to test new features

Beta testing isn't only for new products. If you've got an existing piece of software that you're looking to update with a fresh new feature, you can choose to release that feature only to select users. By doing that, you can beta-test the new feature while checking for compatibility with the existing product

Testing individual components this way helps you adjust your tech budget appropriately since you'll be able to root out problems before the general public has access to your tech.

4. When you want to gauge when the software will be ready

It's not always easy to accurately measure when a piece of almost-complete software will be ready to become fully prepared.

When the software is nearly complete but likely to be riddled with unknown (or even known) bugs, you can start a beta test to get an accurate estimate of how long it'll take before it can be released. Incidentally, this is also a great way to achieve a 5-star rating since you'll be able to root out the most important bugs before offering the product to your customers.

5. When you need to test the system’s stability

As we've mentioned, alpha testing can't always adequately simulate real-world use conditions. That's why it's a good idea to use beta tests to evaluate how stable the system is when it's used regularly by many people. If your system can handle the kind of load that open betas bring, it's highly likely to be stable enough to release to the general public.

How to perform beta testing

Beta testing is quite easy to perform. All you need to do is follow these five simple steps.

1. Planning

Before diving into beta testing, investing time in thorough test planning is essential:

  • Begin by determining the scope of your beta test, including the number of participants and the type of testing—open or closed—that best aligns with your objectives. Consider factors such as the test duration and whether an open or closed approach would better suit your needs.
  • Establish clear parameters for the testing process to ensure consistency and adherence to the testing framework. A solid grasp of the testing framework makes it easier to navigate the testing phase effectively.
  • Outline the testing process to your testers in advance to enhance clarity and set expectations for their involvement.

2. Recruiting participants

Once you've determined the number of users needed and any specific demographics required, it's time to recruit participants. The platforms you choose for recruitment will depend on the target audience.

For instance, influencers have a significant presence on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Tech-savvy individuals often gather on specialized forums and online communities. Regardless of the platform, diversity in testing groups is crucial to accurately representing your user base.

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It's essential to send out invitations early in this process. Early invitations allow for better planning and preparation, especially anticipating potential cancellations. By proactively managing recruitment, you ensure a diverse and engaged group of participants for your beta test.

3. Launching products

In terms of the technical aspects of launching your software to beta testers, simplicity is key. Sharing a download link allows testers to access the product conveniently.  For mobile apps, ensure compatibility across multiple operating systems, including Android OS and iOS, and availability on platforms like the App Store and Google Play Store for open beta testing.

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Additionally, communicate clearly with participants about expectations. Inform them about the type of feedback you seek, whether detailed or more passive user testing. Clarify if surveys need to be filled out and provide any necessary instructions in advance to ensure they can prepare adequately for their participation. This proactive approach leads to a productive testing environment and maximizes the effectiveness of your beta testing phase.

3. Collecting and analyzing feedback

This step is incredibly important because it can improve the quality of your product and your product development cycle. It's all about gathering feedback, analyzing it, and, crucially, responding to it.

Industry leaders respond to feedback quickly, making changes as per customers' comments and ensuring those customers feel heard. That's why the top 10% of businesses reply to reviews faster than anyone else.

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In the case of beta testing, you can apply the same principle by considering the feedback you receive from your testers to be a substitute for the reviews they'd otherwise leave on your finished product.

Responding to feedback with improvements and bug fixes shows your beta testers that you care about their opinions and experiences, which improves their impressions of your brand.
Of course, there's more to this stage than only responding to feedback. The data and feedback you gather here can be hugely valuable in helping you improve the quality assurance process for future products so you can implement fixes more efficiently and impress your customers even more.

4. Closing

Each of your app's features will work as intended at a certain point, and no new bug reports will come in. That's when it's time to close the beta testing phase. At this point, the most important thing is to pay close attention to the plan you laid out in the first step. Did you promise your beta testers any rewards or incentives? Make sure you honor those promises and thank them for their help.

Treating your beta testers well lets you develop a good relationship with them, encouraging them to continue interacting with your brand. It might even incentivize them to beta test again for you in the future.

What is beta testing software?

Beta testing software is a tool designed to enhance your beta testing process. It collects real-time feedback from testers, ensuring you have all the bug reports, user suggestions, and survey responses at your fingertips. 

This software can also assist with recruiting participants and turning raw data into useful graphs and charts, allowing you to interpret the results quickly. In essence, the best beta testing software products are customizable tools that support you at every stage of the testing process.

Why do you need beta testing software?

Beta testing software automates the collection and analysis of important metrics, making it easier to get customer validation and improve your apps swiftly. Maintaining high app retention rates is crucial in today's market, where app users quickly reject poor-quality products. Beta testing software helps flag bugs early, preventing potential issues and allowing you to benefit from the advantages of beta testing without additional effort.

To learn more about beta testing tools and find the one for your testing needs, check out our guides:

Must-have features of beta testing software

Essential features of beta testing software include:

  • Capturing user feedback, such as bug reports, comments, and survey responses.
  • Enabling tests on both the entire product and specific features.
  • Supporting cross-platform testing for mobile and desktop users.
  • Assisting developers in recruiting testers directly from within the app.
  • Providing product access for testing.
  • Prioritizing issues to prevent delays.
  • Offering various installation options for ease of use.
  • Being highly scalable to accommodate companies of all sizes.
  • Delivering analytics for easier data interaction.
  • Connecting testers with rewards to foster good relationships and enhance the brand image.

If we could be biased, we would say that Global App Testing is a top solution for upgrading your QA process and making beta testing more scalable.

Why Choose Global App Testing?

Global App Testing (GAT) is a comprehensive software testing and QA solution. It supports developers through every testing stage, from planning the testing framework to executing the beta phase and analyzing results. GAT helps transform apps from "good" to "amazing," enhancing usability, value, and the overall development process.

It ensures quick and efficient testing, supports remote work, and helps elevate product quality, boosting your bottom line.


With high-security standards and automation capabilities, GAT empowers your teams by providing the right data for faster bug fixes and smoother teamwork.

GAT offers:

  • 90,000 testers in over 190 countries
  • Easy test management through a user-friendly interface.
  • Testing through each SDLC phase, from design to live product
  • Quick test execution with an average turnaround time of 60-150 minutes.
  • 24/7 access for continuous, on-demand testing.
  • In-app results and analysis for easy data processing and interpretation through via UI,
  • Integrations, or API
  • Integrations with Jira, GitHub, TestRail, Smartbear Zephyr

See why industry leaders trust Global App Testing for their QA needs!

Sign up and get a free demo of our platform today.

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