Marketers are constantly working with IT to produce new digital experiences for their target audiences. Typically, countless hours are spent testing these digital experiences for quality assurance before they go live. Many organizations still rely completely on manual testing, which is time-consuming for IT, frustrating for marketers, and expensive for organizations.
Manual testing, through human error, can inadvertently put your digital platforms at risk by missing critical errors and bugs in front-end design, visuals, and functionality that exist in your code base prior to launch. Some manual tests may actually break existing functionality.
This is a huge issue for marketers. A company’s brand equity is dependent on reliable and consistent user experience and design—especially at the time of launch.
To mitigate risk, we recommend that you consider investing in automated testing in combination with your internal manual testing.
But what is automated testing, really?
Automated testing is a process whereby various tools are used to do the job of a human tester, but in a more efficient fashion and with fewer errors. Automated testing tools are capable of executing tests, reporting outcomes, and comparing results between tests.
There are different kinds of tests—like unit, behavioral/functional, visual, performance—which are suited for validating different kinds of code/functionality. For instance, behavioral tests are great for verifying end-user expectations. Ideally, a test system would blend many types of tests to ensure the integrity of the end product.
Automated testing enhances the agility of both marketing and IT teams. Let’s say your marketing team needs to produce a time sensitive microsite that targets prospects at the bottom of their sales funnel. These prospects are ready to buy right now, so the microsite has to go live as soon as possible, look great, and have full functionality. Automated testing would allow the IT team to quickly apply various, reliable automated tests, getting your site up and available to your prospects quickly and with reduced risk of error.
Benefits of Automated Testing
Implementing automated testing tools onto your platform can be a serious investment, and the upfront cost often deters organizations from implementation.
But think about it this way:
How many hours is your IT team dedicating to testing when they could be spending that time scaling your digital experience?
Is this time constraint on IT impacting your ability to engage your customers with dynamic content?
Would a platform launch, that failed because it was not thoroughly tested, negatively impact your brand image? How much would that end up costing your organization?
If you think about these questions it’s easy to see how automated testing can end up paying for itself down the road.
Repeatability & Fewer Human Errors
A developer will have to initially write, test, and edit scripts to automate your tests. Some might argue that this is a time suck comparable to manual testing. But the difference is that once a test is deemed reliable it can be replicated and applied to similar projects, ultimately saving tons of time and human error down the line. Quick test replication also means you can make it to market faster than your competition.
Automated testing allows you to test across the ever-growing number of devices available today. Testing all of this manually is extremely difficult and time consuming, if not impossible! And it’s only going to get more complicated as customers demand more diverse channels and touch-points to interact with your brand. If you want to both ensure that your audience is having a consistent experience across all devices, and stay ahead of your competition as new channels and touch-points emerge, automated testing is the way to go.
Each time a manual test is performed, steps may be done in a different order so they fail to expose an issue. Further, the results of this kind of testing are not stored in a way that can serve as a reference to others. Unless the tester keeps meticulous notes, it may be hard to determine when a bug first occurred, and how it corresponds to a code release or database state.
Automated testing provides self-documentation for the processes it’s testing. When an error occurs on your platform a developer doesn’t have to worry about if the last developer left notes on how to fix it. This means that a lot less time is wasted trying to figure out HOW an error occurred, and a lot more time is dedicated to actually FIXING it and getting your platform back to 100%.
It is important to note that we are not advocating that your organization do away with manual testing completely. Each method has its place. Rather that you see the compelling business benefits of investing in automated testing to run alongside your manual efforts in order to keep pace with your customer experience demands.