A/B testing is an effective process of running experiments of various versions of a mobile app in order to analyze how users interact with the variables. A/B testing tools help marketers and app developers improve key metrics, such as engagement or in-app purchases as well as to launch new features safely, minimizing the risk of losing users at a larger scale.
With a growing, competitive app market, you need to make sure your mobile app is always optimized and up-to-date with the newest features. Not only do you want to keep up with the current technology that other mobile apps are using, but also fixing and resolving any issues users have brought up is crucial, and can have a great impact on conversion rates and user retention.
A/B testing tools provide insights into user experience and app performance, allowing app marketers to understand how their campaigns and product is performing. In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about mobile A/B testing, the best practices and features and the top A/B testing tools that will ensure optimal results so that your mobile app stands out in the crowd.
What is A/B testing for mobile apps?
App A/B testing and optimization services typically work across a number of areas in the app funnel including in app store pages, in-app user flows and revenue analytics. They can be provided as part of a wider analytics, engagement or CRM suite or as specialist standalone app A/B testing tools.
The process of app A/B testing consists of running tests for different user experiences. App users are usually categorized into various segments, with each group being presented with a different app layout and format. This way, developers and marketers are able to identify which version generates higher conversions, and therefore best suitable for the long-term success of the mobile app in question.
To better illustrate what A/B testing tools do, let us imagine a mobile game app that includes in-app purchases for each level a player enters. The app developer then runs tests on the different banners to check which ones receive the most clicks, and how players interact with them.
Through the concept of A/B testing, it is then revealed which in-app banners performed best, allowing developers to know which preferred format to roll out and launch the final version to all app users. This way business owners can be sure their app is fully optimized, increasing user acquisition and retention as well as conversion rates.
To break things down, in essence, A/B testing tools for mobile apps include the following features:
- Testing app performance on various OS versions (e.g. 2.7 iOS 7)
- Testing app design and appearance in different layout modes
- Testing various capabilities when operating on specific settings
- Testing the graphics-based operating system interface (GUI), in terms of how it manages interaction and functionality with icons, menus, navigation buttons, etc
Types of mobile apps for A/B testing
Starting from the top level, mobile apps usually come in three types of formats, the web app, native app and hybrid app, all of which include different display and viewing modes, and user experiences.
Mobile web apps are directly viewed through browsers on mobile devices with a web display. They can operate on any mobile operating system and device. On the other hand, native apps are specifically designed for mobile devices, using certain SDKs, ensuring a more reliable and responsive system with intuitive user navigation.
Hybrid apps nicely combine native and mobile web apps that are launched in native settings. Mixing web technologies and native APIs, the hybrid format is more economical and has a speedy development process compared to native apps.
With the main mobile app categories defined, understanding how the types of A/B methods work should be more comprehensive to determine which one would be most suitable for the kind of mobile app you are or have developed. So, let’s dive into them.
How does mobile A/B testing work?
First and foremost, you need to establish what you are going to test within your mobile app, especially whether it is going to be an on-site or off-site test.
Off-site tests usually include testing ads or sales email. So, you can run trials on how your ad copy drives conversions, for example, to tweak and improve your advertising strategies. You will then be able to spend your ad budget wisely, reducing the risk of losing any financial resources.
Testing sales emails involves a similar approach, where marketers send out two versions to their list, with one being sent to half of the list and the second to the other half. You can then see which one performs and converts best, or what needs to be improved, including copy structure, subject line, and any offers.
In-app A/B testing
On-site tests focus on the app’s UX and UI, and how they impact certain metrics, such as session time, retention rate, bounce rate, engagements and interactions as well as lifetime value (LTV). Of course, there are also other metrics that will be significant to developers depending on the unique functions of the app.
With in-app A/B testing, you also want to consider all of the sales-related components of your app, including headlines, calls to action (its copy, font, icon and location on the page), pop ups, featured images, copy, and so on.
Marketing campaign A/B testing
A/B testing tools can also benefit app marketers to optimize marketing campaigns as much as possible, understanding which ad creatives and ad channels work best, or what type of push notification re-engages churned users most likely.
Conducting A/B testing for marketing campaigns can also help maximize and enhance conversion rates, boost installs, and retarget and retain users.
A/B testing involves a cyclical process that you can undergo continuously in order to keep optimizing your app and campaigns. Therefore, there are some baseline steps that belong to the usual process, and that you want to ensure the A/B testing tools you choose will include these.
Define your variables
The first step is also to develop a hypothesis and define your variable to identify what you want to test. You can start by outlining a problem you want to resolve, or an app feature you are unsure of, for example. This will make a good starting point to attempt to solve the issue at hand.
If you don’t have a clear variable, make sure to review any data your mobile app currently has to help define one. It is also best to test only one or two variables at a time, otherwise it will be a lot more challenging to spot loopholes amongst multiple variables within your campaign performance.
Categorize your users
A/B testing is usually performed on the users of the product being tested, with them being segmented into sample groups to test one format against the other and see how the two groups respond. Therefore, you need to categorize into test groups, and expose them each to different variations.
Make sure to include a significant amount of users in your experiment to reduce the risk of misinterpreting results and disguising optimization opportunities. Larger sample sizes allow you to widen your findings to a diversity of users.
After defining your variables and hypothesis, and segmenting your users into sample groups, there are many types of A/B testing you can choose from to get the most out of your experiment.
In split testing, you have two opposing variables, for example, you test a completely new version against the existing landing page to analyze which performs better. Split testing is therefore ideal when you want to implement a whole new web design or copy without getting rid of the original and the new one not performing too well after all.
List of app A/B testing services
UXcam is a mobile app analytics company. A feature that allows the company to stand out from the rest of app analytics companies is Heatmaps technology to record app users sessions with apps and provide analytical analysis on their interaction. Among other features are Session Replay, Offline Recordings, Screen Analytics, Crash Recording, Funnel Analytics and 3rd Party Integration.
- Type: In-app analytics
- Pricing: n/a, free trial period
- Platforms supported: iOS, Android.