American Marketer


Application-testing mantras for marketers

February 18, 2011

Eran Yaniv is CEO of Perfecto Mobile


By Eran Yaniv

Mobile communications at the level of mass adoption that the market is seeing requires comprehensive testing to ensure that the applications are market-ready prior to launch.

That can be difficult in a competitive and dynamic marketplace with an ever-growing number of handsets, tablets, operating platforms and carriers.

To effectively reach audiences via myriad mobile devices, marketers and developers should keep in mind several mantras for application testing.

Choose testing method that will scale

There are certainly benefits to testing applications on actual, physical devices. It would seem to be the best way to determine how a product will perform after it is launched.

However, the mobile device market is a crowded one, making it nearly impossible to manually test for reasonable quality standards on all the possible handsets and tablets that customers might employ.

With the rapid proliferation of devices and operating systems, physical testing can quickly become cost-prohibitive.

Indeed, it also can pose serious time-to-market implications, since this approach is both time-consuming and error-prone, often leading to late bug discovery and considerable delays in the release of applications.

Simulation testing useful, but not enough

In early stage testing, emulators and simulators can provide a close-enough approximation of devices to guide later application development.

Unfortunately, some marketers choose to rely on them completely and often end up with a false sense of adequacy in terms of performance, security and fault-tolerance in different geographies and networks.

Because the software versions these devices emulate are not always up-to-date, businesses can face a nasty surprise when their applications go live after simulation-only testing.

This can be especially frustrating for marketers who endured a slow testing process, since emulators do not offer advanced capabilities such as automation, significantly delaying efforts to bring an application to market.

Smart mobile marketers embrace automation

On the marketing side, executives know an application must be bug-free, easy to use and evocative of original desktop products.

On the development side, testers know that the best way to meet that expectation is by automating tedious, repetitive testing scenarios to enable quality assurance teams to accomplish more with fewer resources.

When these teams can script specific usage and test scenarios for data-driven regression and functional testing, they can quickly and cost-effectively schedule them, run them in loops and check them across multiple devices.

Tasks that previously took manual testers days to complete can be replaced by unattended execution of comprehensive automated test scripts on multiple devices.

Furthermore, test automation has the advantage of accurately documenting the same sequence of steps with each session.

This is especially important for bug detection, since, in many cases, testers uncover defects just by playing around with the device and later cannot identify what they did to create the bugs.

Remote device access is game-changer

The handset cloud is an environment that supports remote testing, troubleshooting and monitoring of applications on real devices over the Internet in real time and across major global mobile networks.

Cloud-based platforms provide real devices connected to the Web that can be used to make phone calls, send text messages and download applications.

The testing team simply chooses which device they want from a list of hundreds of options located around the world.

The team can then remotely run functional test exercises such as regression testing, functional testing, data-driven testing, security testing, monitoring and more.

Presentation tools allow marketers to communicate with globally distributed teams, clients and partners and share sessions on real phones.

This is particularly useful in managing ad networks, when a publisher might want to display ads for the advertiser’s review.

The ability to show them running on real phones can be a lifesaver to marketers fighting for competitive advantage in a crowded space.

Any marketing company that wishes to showcase a banner, text add or design on a real phone or tablet can use the handset cloud, as well.

Cloud-based platforms eliminate the expense and flaws of simulation and physical testing while providing reliable, cost-effective testing results.

Remote device access testing is a mobile marketer’s best option for confidently launching an application.

Eran Yaniv is CEO of Perfecto Mobile, a Petach Tivkva, Israel-based provider of the mobile handset cloud for automated testing and monitoring of mobile applications. Reach him at