With over 2.67 million apps on the Google Play Store (Apple’s App Store has about 2.2 million iOS apps), the competition is getting fiercer by the day. Google Play testing is vital to identify and fix any technical or user experience problems.
Organizations and Android developers across the globe launch new apps every day. As a result, users have more alternatives than before. To stand out from the crowd, your app must be fast and impeccable.
Buggy and low-performing games have very low chances of becoming successful in the market. Research has shown that user retention rates on apps show a 71% churn rate for various reasons, which may include performance issues. If you are looking to launch an app your audience will love and recommend, leverage Google Play testing to release a fast and bug-free mobile application.
I am a software development and QA writer. In this article, I’ll guide you through everything you need to know about Google Play testing, from how to test your apps on real Android devices to how to become a Play tester and testing best practices.
Google Play Testing: An Introduction
Google Play testing helps app developers quickly test their games and fix issues before their apps go live. Google Play testing also allows you to make your app or new releases available for testing before launch. With Google Play Console, you have access to a set of features that enable you to test your app with selected testers or allow any Google Play user to participate in the test.
There are three major testing tracks you can pass your app releases through before finally making it available for your end-users. These testing phases or tracks include internal testing, open testing, and closed testing.
This multi-tier testing structure helps you to identify as many issues as possible before releasing your app to the public. At each phase of testing, your testers provide you with the feedback you need to improve your app’s quality.
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What is Google Play Open Testing?
Google Play open testing is a testing track that allows you to open your test to Google Play users. It involves a large number of testers—any interested Play user with the opt-in URL can join. The testers provide qualitative and quantitative feedback that helps you identify and fix issues.
With this approach, you get to know what real users think about your app’s pre-launch features. This helps you to avoid negative reviews that come with releasing inefficient games. Testers provide feedback on in-game metrics, enabling you to ensure everything is top-notch before shipping to production.
Best of all, feedback from testers is visible to only you and will not impact your public rating.
How Do I Become a Google Play Tester?
You need a Google account (Gmail account) or a Google Workspace account before you can join a test. That said, you can become a Google Play tester by trying new Android apps or features before they are launched. To do this, you have to be part of early access or beta testing.
Early access and beta programs allow you to test early access games and beta apps, respectively. Early access apps are applications that the developers are yet to launch, while beta apps are experimental versions of applications that have been launched.
To test early access & beta apps, do the following:
- Open the Play Store
- Follow this detailed tutorial to:
- Get early access to unreleased apps
- Get beta versions of apps
- Or get early access to unreleased games
- Provide feedback to the developer: In the Play Store, you can write private feedback to the developer and let them know about your experience with the app. The above tutorial outlines how you can quickly submit feedback.
How Do I Test My Google Play Games?
Using Play Console, you have access to tools you need to test and get feedback on your games. Use the three tracks of Google Play testing to launch the best version of your app. In this section, you will learn more about internal testing, open testing, and closed testing.
Internal testing is the first phase of Google Play testing. The internal testing track lets you create and manage a list of up to 100 testers per app. With internal testing, you can create an internal testing release to make your app available to testers. Releasing your game to your internal testers helps you get the initial feedback you need to debug and optimize code quality.
Google recommends running an internal test before moving your app to the closed and open testing tracks. That being said, internal testing is fast, safe, and very flexible.
This method of testing is used when you want to make your test available to a huge number of testers. When you implement open testing, Google Play users can join your testing program. They can join through the test opt-in link.
For this testing option to work, the app and store listing must be ready to be visible on Google Play—so that any Play user can find it via the Search function.
When setting up open testing, you can choose to work with an unlimited number of testers or a limited number of testers (at least a thousand users). Testers submit feedback using your preferred feedback channel (email, website, etc.).
Closed testing lets you invite people to assess new versions or new features and provide more targeted feedback. With closed testing, you can create more than one closed track to test pre-release versions of your game. This testing method is used when you want to get feedback from a wider set of people before moving on to open testing—involving a larger group of testers.
The closed testing method allows you to create up to 200 lists of testers. You can do this using email lists. And there can be up to 2,000 users per list. Additionally, you can create up to 50 lists per test track.
Google Play Testing: Expert Tips For Developers
Google Play console has all the features you need to run quality assurance checks and launch a great game. However, there are best practices you can adopt to improve the testing process. Here are some important tips:
Tip 1: Run a closed test with targeted users for more specific, actionable feedback on your app
This approach helps you to gather feedback from people that are willing to thoroughly assess your app and provide actionable feedback. Create a test list of passionate users that can invest time to offer honest and well-structured reviews.
Tip 2: Let the testers know your end goals and what is expected of them
Be clear about your testing objectives from the beginning. Every tester on your lists should know what is expected of them. Are there some features you would want testers to focus on? Are there some specific ways you want them to provide feedback? Make sure your testers are on the same page and let them know when your objectives change.
Tip 3: Utilize all the three test methods
If possible, run an internal test, closed test, and open test. You can do multiple closed tests and only one open test. The goal is to thoroughly assess your game and get rid of bugs. The more testing tracks you implement, the higher the chances of identifying issues that need to be fixed before the app goes live.
Tip 4: Have a dedicated team responsible for analyzing feedback
Whether you are working alone or with a team of developers, you need help when it comes to analyzing feedback. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when testers start sending in their reviews. Having an organized team to analyze feedback and formulate a remediation strategy will help you make the most of Google Play testing.
Tip 5: Implement feedback channels that encourage collaboration
If you want more than one developer to analyze the test version reviews, you need feedback channels that allow collaboration. In other words, your analysts need to work as a team, share insights, and stay on the same page as they go through the reviews.
Launch Flawless Games With Google Play Testing
Google Play testing has streamlined mobile app quality assurance for developers. Using Google Play Console, you can quickly set things up and start getting feedback on your games. Google has provided the tools you need, all you have to do is configure the settings according to your needs and preferences.
To learn how to set up Google Play testing, go through this comprehensive guide. It covers everything you need to know about how to start an open, closed, and internal test.
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