User Testing: How to determine who to test with before you build a new product for less than the cost of a meal for two.

In this short article, you’ll learn:

How to use Facebook Insights to discover the basic information of 2000 people that are interested in your product in the space of 7 days.
How you can plug this information into UserTesting to determine how you can make better decisions when it comes to the design of your website or app.

Great digital platforms are designed with their user’s decisions in mind. As an entrepreneur or startup, it’s easy to think you have to wait until you build a product and have existing users before you can do this. However, a study conducted by the legendary UX consultancy: Nielson Norman Group found that you only need to test your product with five participants to gain 80% of the insights you need to make key decisions on how you can improve it.

The trouble for many entrepreneurs and startups is that they either don’t know who their target market is or they don’t want to waste time setting up and conducting interviews because they’re busy doing other super-important-only-I-can-do-it things.

The solution? UserTesting. It’s a service that enables you to test your website or app remotely with people whether it’s a polished site or still in basic wireframe form. However, In order to get the most out of this service, you first need to specify who you want to test with based on their demographic information. “But what if I don’t know the demographic information of my users?” You ask. This article outlines a way to collect this from thousands of people that take an interest in what you offer for £50.

Using Facebook to gain your target audience

While reports and public data on different market demographics are available, none will give you data on those interested in your offer specifically. To gain this data, we can use a video campaign in Facebook. Don’t have a video for your product you say? Check out this podcast episode on creating a high performing video ad from Digital Marketer on how to create one without spending a fortune.

The question I always get asked when I suggest this is “why use Facebook to collect this data instead of asking people you already know?”

A Facebook video funnel allows you to collect information from thousands of people that show interest in your specific offer from the comfort of their natural environment, when it’s their own choice.

The four steps for gaining the demographic data we need are:

  1. Create a basic video demonstrating your product or service
  2. Create a Facebook ad campaign with that video
  3. Create a custom audience of those that watched 75%+ of the video
  4. Use Facebook Insights to determine the demographic information of this custom audience

Demographic data collection in action

In order to demonstrate the results of the funnel above, I decided to run a short campaign for my dad. As a wood sculpture he often makes wooden bowls as a lower cost product for those interested in his handmade work. As with any new online store I build, I aim to keep it as user-centered as possible so the first step was gaining the data on who

£50 in campaign ad spend got the following results:

Of the total 13,041 paid views (There were 18k+ including organic), two custom audiences were built. The first was the 2000 people that watched to the 75% mark and the second was the 1600 that watched to the 95% mark. With these audiences, I could then use the Facebook Audience Insights tool to see info on those that were interested in what was on offer.

The insights pulled from the 2000 people that watched 75% or more for a cost of £0.025 each influenced the selection of interview participants in the following way:

Facebook Insight

Impact on Interview participant selection

  • 64% of the audience is male
  • 3 of the participants should be male
  • 45% of the audience is married
  • At least two of the participants should be married
  • 67% have a university degree
  • 3 of the participants should have a university degree

Now that you know what interview participants to recruit based on their basic information, you’re ready to plug the information into UserTesting. Most importantly, you now know that you haven’t picked these 5 people at random, but with statistical evidence. However, there’s so much more you can do with this information. You can:

  • Build a detailed persona of your user to make more informed decisions when you or your designer is making UX and UI decisions on product design.
  • Use your custom audiences to remarket to with a free offer in exchange for an email address, ready for when you launch your product.

So there we have it, a way in which you can be confident that the five people you test remotely with are going to yield the insights you need to make better decisions when it comes to the design of your website or app.