Growth 11 min read  - July 26, 2023

8 Steps to A/B Test your Mobile App Idea - Roadmap to Success

...Creating variations of your mobile apps and games is crucial. It allows you to see firsthand how different versions of your app will resonate with users...

If you're a mobile app developer or part of a game studio, you already know how fiercely competitive the app market can be. Having an idea for an app is only the first step of a long journey. But how do you ensure that your idea has potential? That's where the importance of idea validation comes into play.

Imagine pouring countless hours and resources into developing a mobile app, only to discover there's no real demand for it or it needs to meet user expectations.

Heartbreaking, isn't it? This is a trap many developers fall into. They have a great idea and start coding immediately without testing it in the real world. The problem with this approach is that it takes more work to become enamored with an idea and assume that everyone else will because you think it's fantastic. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.

That's why idea validation is so important. It's about ensuring your idea is feasible and has the potential for success before diving into the nitty-gritty of app development. It's about making informed decisions and reducing risks. It's about understanding your users' wants and tailoring your app to meet those needs.

Your objective is not only to build an app but to build an app that will be used and loved by millions.

Table of Contents

  1. Research your Mobile App Idea
  2. Ideation: A/B test your Audience
  3. Build & Prioritize Your Prototypes
  4. Create Variations for A/B Testing
  5. Designing an A/B Test Strategy
  6. Analyze & Iterate your Test Results
  7. Implementing the winning Variations
  8. Re-evaluate & go back to step 1
  9. (extra) Tips & Strategies to Reach the Top Charts
  10. Time to Take Action!

Introduction to the 8-Steps to A/B Test your Mobile App Idea:

To help you navigate the path from idea to successful app, I have an 8-step validation framework for you. 

This tried-and-tested approach gives you a systematic way to test your app idea, understand your users, and make data-driven decisions. It involves researching your market, formulating and testing hypotheses, analyzing the results, and continually iterating on your idea.

I'll walk you through each step in detail in the next sections. We'll explore techniques and strategies you can apply directly to your app development process

Validating your app idea is crucial in your journey as an app creator. 

To ensure your efforts lead to a successful app that meets user needs and stands out in the market, let's delve deeper into our roadmap to app validation success

1. Research your mobile app idea

1.1. Market Analysis

First things first - get to know your market. 

For that, you must conduct a Market Analysis. This way, you'll gain a holistic understanding of the environment in which your mobile app will operate. 

This step will involve investigating trends, assessing the size and growth of the market, and identifying any existing gaps or opportunities. The app market is dynamic and constantly evolving, so keeping abreast of changes and trends is crucial for ensuring your app stays relevant and competitive.

1.2. Competitor Analysis

Next up, take a closer look at your potential competitors. 

Understanding who you're against is key to crafting an app that can outshine the rest. Analyze what they're doing well and where they're falling short. Investigate their features, design elements, marketing strategies, and, most importantly, how users react to their apps. 

This will provide invaluable insights and inspiration when formulating your app concept and design.

1.3. Audience Analysis

Last but certainly not least, you need to dive into the minds of your potential users. Who are they? What are their needs and expectations? What motivates them? 

Conducting a comprehensive audience analysis will allow you to tailor your app to meet user demands and exceed their expectations.

2. Ideation: A/B tests to Understand your Audience

2.1. How to generate Ideas for A/B Testing?

Once you've gathered all the necessary data, it's time to get creative. 

At this stage, you should focus on generating a range of ideas for testing. These could be anything from various design concepts, features, or marketing strategies. It's about understanding user motivation. 

You must consider what your users want and how your app can deliver it. And don't be afraid to think small. Even slight changes can have a significant impact on user engagement and satisfaction.

2.2. Understand Your User’s Motivation

This is where the magic happens. 

By understanding your users' motivations, you can create an app that truly resonates with them. Consider what would make them choose your app over another. 

Is it a unique feature? An engaging design? A solution to a problem they're experiencing? Generate hypotheses based on your ideas, ready for testing in the next phase.

Every app exists to provide a solution for the user. The more deeply you understand your user's needs and motivations, the better equipped you'll be to deliver an app that hits the mark. 

So, keep your users front and center as you move on to the next steps of hypothesis forming and testing.

3. Build & Prioritize your Hypothesis

The next step on our roadmap to validation success is the formation of hypotheses. This is where we apply our understanding of our users and insights from research to make educated predictions about our app.

3.1. Craft plenty of Hypotheses for your mobile app.

Crafting a hypothesis involves translating your assumptions about user behavior and preferences into a testable statement. 

This could be something like "If we add this feature, it will increase user engagement" or "Incorporating this other feature in our support team will enhance customer service satisfaction". 

Your hypothesis should always be clear, precise, and firmly rooted in the insights gleaned from your research and ideation stages.

3.2. Prioritize your Hypotheses: Viability vs. Impact

Not all hypotheses will have the same value for your mobile app. You’ll likely have numerous hypotheses, so you must prioritize which to test first. 

The prioritization should be based on factors like the potential impact on users, the feasibility of implementing the feature, and its alignment with your app’s goals. It's also crucial to consider the risk involved and how much resource the hypothesis would consume if it fails.

Prioritizing in this way ensures you’re focusing your efforts where they're likely to yield the most significant results.

4. Create Variations for A/B Testing

Now that we have our hypotheses sorted and prioritized, it's time to create variations for testing. These variations, also known as 'variants,' are the different versions of your app features that will be tested against each other to see which performs better.

Creating variations is crucial because it allows you to see firsthand how different versions of your app will resonate with users. 

This is not a stage to cut corners. Each variant should be thoughtfully designed, meticulously built, and thoroughly reviewed before being tested.

Specify the metric that you want to improve. Otherwise, you won’t be able to understand if the A/B test was successful or did not influence that metric at all.

It’s also best not to run several hypotheses in parallel if they affect the same metrics and audiences. Multiple A/B tests targeting the same audiences and affecting the same metrics will conflict and render misleading results.

Each variation you create allows you to learn more about your users and get one step closer to an app that meets their needs. So make each one count. 

5. Designing your A/B tests.

Now, we've reached an exciting stage in our journey - the design of the A/B Test. This is where we put our hypotheses and variations to the test. Here's how you can do it.

5.1. Use Native Tests

If your app is already live in the store, conducting native tests is an excellent option. These tests let you try different product page designs directly within the app store. 

Apple, for example, released custom product pages a year ago, which you can use to your advantage. 

These tests allow you to observe real user behavior, which provides invaluable insights.

5.2. Your app is not Live yet? Use Emulated Environments

What if your app isn't live yet? Or perhaps you're cautious about experimenting in a live environment? Fear not. 

Many tools in the mobile industry will allow you to emulate product pages. These pages look and behave exactly like App Store or Google Play pages, giving you a realistic picture of how users would interact with your app.

If your app isn't live, you can wrap up these tests with a poll or quiz to gather more insights about your audience's expectations. It's a great way to obtain actionable data that will help you make your app better.

5.3. A/B test with Web Pages and Social Media Ads

Experimentation should not be limited to the app store or emulated product pages. You can also test your concepts on web pages or social media advertising. 

These methods can offer valuable insights into your audience's preferences and behaviors even when resources are limited. 

All these data you gather should inform your next steps and future A/B tests.

Designing your experiments is about learning as much as possible about your audience. Use every tool, and never be afraid to think outside the box. This is your chance to explore the potential of your app.

6. Analyze & Iterate the Results of your A/B tests

Okay, so you've conducted your tests and gathered a trove of data. But what does it all mean? Here's where we demystify the process of analyzing your results.

6.1. How to interpret your A/B Test results

Analyzing the results of your tests is critical in understanding your user's preferences and the overall effectiveness of your app design. Essentially, there are three possible outcomes from your A/B testing.

First scenario: You see no significant changes in the metrics. That's okay. Consider it a learning experience. It's part of the process. Your experiment might not have provided the insights you hoped for, but it's all part of the learning curve.

Second Scenario: You notice a slight difference between the variations. In this case, consider excluding the least performing one and run the test again. Tweaking and retesting is an integral part of the process.

Third Scenario: Your experiment shows significant changes, and your hypothesis was correct. Congratulations! You've struck gold. It's time to implement those changes into the production environment. Don't hesitate or be fearful. You've done the groundwork. Now it's time to reap the rewards.

6.2. Iterate your A/B tests

The process doesn't stop at a successful experiment. The world of mobile app development is in constant motion, as should your A/B tests. 

Consider the process of iterating your tests as an ongoing journey rather than a destination.

Even after implementing changes and seeing improvements, ask yourself: "Can we do better?". 

Your ultimate goal is to create the best user experience; there's always room for growth. Keep improving, keep testing, and most importantly, keep iterating.

7. Implement the winning variations of your A/B tests

After all the rigorous testing and analysis, it's time to implement the winning variations. In the implementation stage, you incorporate insights from your A/B testing into your app's production environment.

7.1. Incorporate the A/B Testing Results into Production

This is the exciting part, where you see your hard work come to life. 

Your goal here isn't to overhaul your entire app based on a single test. It's about making incremental changes to improve your app's performance and user experience. So, take the winning variation of your test and carefully integrate it into your app.

If you've tested a feature of your app and found a variation that significantly improved click-through rates, implement that feature in the production pipeline. 

Take note of the improvements in your app's performance, and use that information to guide your next round of tests.

7.2. Why must you keep Iterating?

Just because you've implemented changes doesn't mean you're done. The app market is volatile, with user preferences and industry standards continually evolving. 

To stay ahead of the curve, you must constantly iterate and test.

Regularly reassess your app's performance, conduct more A/B tests, and refine your product based on the insights you gather. The beauty of constant iteration is that it helps you stay responsive to changes in the market and user behavior. 

In the fast-paced world of app development, responsiveness is key.

8. Re-evaluate your A/B tests, and go back to Step 1.

Lastly, we circle back to the beginning of our process. After your implementation and monitoring, it's time to re-evaluate and start another round of hypothesis testing. 

You might ask, "Again?!" Absolutely! The process of validation is cyclical, not linear.

Gather your team, revisit your data, and generate new hypotheses based on the insights from your previous tests. This continual loop of testing, implementing, and retesting will ensure that your app stays relevant and continues to meet the needs of your users.

Idea validation is more than just a one-and-done process. It's a continuous journey of learning, adapting, and improving. This journey will help you create an app that truly resonates with your users and stands out in the competitive app market.

9. (EXTRA!) Tips and Strategies to Reach the top charts!

I wanted to finish this A/B testing framework by adding some extra value.

Now that we’ve seen the 8-step process and settled the foundations of validating our app idea, you can explore some advanced strategies to further fine-tune your app idea validation. 

So, let's dig deeper into these strategies:

9.1. Take advantage of your App’s Seasonality.

Seasonality can significantly impact user engagement and revenue, so it's essential to consider it in your app idea validation process. Whether it's holiday periods, major sports events, or even changes in the weather, seasonal trends can significantly affect the success of your app.

First, examine your app's usage data over different periods. Do you notice any patterns related to seasonality? If you do, that's great! You can optimize your app to take advantage of these trends. 

For example, some mobile games might experience increased downloads and user engagement at the start of the new year or during summer, when people have more spare time or kids don’t go to school.

In such cases, planning your A/B testing and implementation around these seasonal trends can provide you with more accurate data and potentially higher returns. You can tailor your app's features, offers, or marketing messages to match these seasonal trends, creating a more personalized and relevant user experience.

9.2. Localization: Tailor your tests to your audience!

In today's globalized world, localization can be a potent tool for increasing your app's reach and engagement. If your app caters to users from different countries, incorporating localization into your validation process is necessary.

Localization is not just about translating your app into different languages. It's about understanding the cultural nuances of each market and adapting your app to meet the specific needs and preferences of users in those regions.

The color schemes, imagery, or even humor that works well for your users in one country may not resonate with users in another country. 

By effectively localizing your app through A/B testing and validation, you can create a user experience that feels tailor-made for each of your target markets, boosting engagement and, ultimately, revenue.

App development isn't a one-size-fits-all process. By combining the power of the 8-step validation process with advanced strategies like seasonality and localization, you can create an app that resonates with your users and stands the test of time. Now, let's move on to the conclusion of our guide!

9.3 Share your findings, and never stop learning.

App development and marketing are ongoing processes that require continuous learning, iteration, and improvement. With that said, let's reflect on some key takeaways.

Sharing your findings with your team is an essential part of the process. It doesn't just involve presenting the results of your tests. It's about fostering a culture of open communication and continuous learning in your organization. 

Insights are most valuable when they're shared and implemented across your team.

Keep your team in the loop about your tests, the results, and the changes you plan to make based on those results. Encourage them to contribute their ideas and perspectives. This approach doesn't just promote a shared understanding of your app's direction but instills a sense of ownership and commitment among your team members.

And, of course, learning doesn't stop once an experiment ends. The mobile app landscape constantly evolves, and what works today may not work tomorrow. Therefore, it's essential to stay curious, keep testing, and continue learning from your users. Because, at the end of the day, they're the ones who truly define your app's success.

Summary of the “8 Steps to A/B Test your Mobile App Idea”

We've traversed a comprehensive 8-step validation framework, starting from research and ideation, going through hypothesis forming and creating variations, to experiment design and result analysis, followed by implementation and re-evaluation.

Each step of this framework is essential in validating your app ideas effectively, providing you with invaluable insights, and minimizing the risk of launching an app that may not resonate with your users. The advanced strategies of capitalizing on seasonality and utilizing effective localization add another layer of sophistication to your validation process.

With platforms like Appodeal, the cumbersome parts of the process, like managing waterfalls, are taken care of. In your Appodeal Dashboard, you will also find tools to A/B test your product, monetization strategy, and business. 

This frees up your time, allowing you to focus on what matters - understanding your users and delivering a remarkable app experience that keeps them returning for more.

So, that's it. It's time to apply these insights to your app development journey. 

Stay curious, keep learning, and never stop testing!

Holiday Season Mobile In-App Ad eCPM Report '23

At Appodeal, we're committed to standing with you—game studios and mobile app developers—through these changes. We offer the tools, insights, and support you need to thrive in this vibrant, evolving arena. While the path forward may be uncertain, we believe that together, we can navigate this exciting new world of mobile app marketing and unlock your product's full potential.

Marc Llobet
Product Marketing & Growth @ Appodeal
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