5 Common Mistakes In Concept Testing
By Owen Fay . Posted on February 23, 2022

Any time you’re rolling out a new or updates concept you want it to attract customers. Concept testing is a great way to get reactions and opinions from users.

Considering that the majority of new or updated products fail within their first year in the industry, any way to help make them a success is worth doing. In one of our older blogs, Benefits of Concept Testing, we covered why testing your new ideas is so important.

Now we’ll cover some of the common mistakes that we’ve seen (and unfortunately ourselves) make. Regardless of how it’s done, make sure you don’t make these mistakes during the process.

Concept testing, if done incorrectly, can provide meaningless or faulty outcomes. Here are the five mistakes to avoid in concept testing:

Testing Too Many Variations

When you run a usability A/B test it’s important to compare only two versions of your concept. It’s a great way to find out what works best for your business while keeping the process easy and quick for the users.

It might be tempting to test every possible idea you have at once, but it causes a lot of issues. You might confuse the users, hurt the statistical significance of the test, or cause the whole test to be invalid. Even if you try to clarify with instructions your test will be long, exhausting, and confusing for the target audience.

Solution: Just test two options at a time, it’s how the test is meant to run and will make the entire experience good for the users that are providing you with feedback. Plus, it’s going to be easier to analyze the results when you present just two options.

You give the users just one decision to make and they only have to give feedback on one question. The A/B style of testing is what makes Poll the People testing faster and more effective than our competitors. Being less expensive and faster than other platforms means if you have to test multiple versions you can keep testing until you achieve your goals.

Instead of running a single test and waiting days for the results, you can run tests in batches and see the results in hours.

two variations

Not Using the Feedback From Your Test

The most valuable part of your concept test is the feedback, you know if your concept is ready to go or have found the issues that need fixing. Not using feedback from customers and carrying on with your own thoughts and concepts makes the test worthless.

You will save a lot of resources by diving into the user feedback and applying it to the concept you’re trying to optimize. What’s the point of investing in anything for your business if you aren’t getting the benefits?

Solution: Poll the People gives you great data and visual representations of how the test went. You have the opinions of hundreds on what works, what needs changing, and what just doesn’t work at all.

When used together, usability A/B testing, and user feedback are great tools for optimizing any part of a business. You will have a much deeper understanding of what you should focus if you collect feedback from real people and use it.

Assuming the Audience Understands the Concept the Same Way You Do

When you’re trying out new business ideas, you feel it natural to assume that your audience will know your product or service the same way you do. This is one of the most common mistakes a tester makes.

We spend weeks and months creating a concept that we know like the back of our hand, but the users haven’t spent that time with it. Communicating the value of your concept and what it does can be the hardest part of successfully testing.

You might also want to offer marketing and brand ideas now, as you’ve been thinking about them, but the users don’t know all of the ins and outs of the idea. As a result, the responses have no value and the test is worthless.

Solution: When you are showing a new concept to users through a usability A/B test make sure to use language that everyone can understand. Avoid using technical jargon or explanations that complicate things.

Don’t push one option over another even if you have strong feelings about it, put the test in the hands of the user and you’ll get the insights that make a difference to your business.

When you’re making the question for your test you have the opportunity to clarify anything that might cause confusion, use this to your advantage.

Inadequate Size of Sample and Audience

The majority of new products or services are aimed at a target audience. If your sample is too small, you’ll miss out on some great feedback and won’t paint the full picture of what your target users think.

Your results will be skewed if your sample is too tightly defined, you’ll be missing out on feedback from people who you are (or ought to be) interested in.

It’s also possible that you’ve overlooked a potential audience. To avoid missing out on broadening the reach of your product idea, gain statistical significance in your test. Typically, about 150-200 users are enough to have full confidence in the results.

Solution:  Spend time identifying your targeted audience for demographics, categorization, and other factors before you start. After that, use our panel of dedicated respondents to gather great insights. A good practice is to test on a wide variety of people to get ideas from those that are familiar with your business and those that might be hearing about you for the first time.

Not Asking the Right Questions

When you’re running a concept test, the questions you ask are one of the most important parts of a good test. You can ask questions about appeal, engagement, usability, design, or any other metric you want information on. But the questions need to be in line with your goals.

When you ask questions that can support your testing hypothesis you can make real changes to your business that support growth. Make sure to think long and hard about what you’re trying to achieve, frame the questions in a way that gives you the feedback you’re looking for.

Solution: When you create questions for a concept test that support your goals, you’ll get clear takeaways to act on. The questions you ask are entirely up to you or the team but they need to be relevant to the options users vote on. You wouldn’t ask for clarification of an idea if it didn’t include any shared text or packaging, for example.


Concept testing will give you customer feedback before the concept hits the market, only if mistakes in concept testing are avoided.

Concept testing, when done correctly, can be a great tool for marketers and designers. It has the ability to provide some great insights into the needs and wants of our customers, provides you access to their opinions on a fresh concept, and can assist businesses in avoiding false starts, incorrect orientation, and poor strategy.

Poll the People is an excellent platform for reducing risk of failure and finding the concept that leads to success.

Concept testing takes about an hour on our platform, not days, or weeks like the competition with. It allows you to lower the risk of making poor judgments, convert feedback into insights, and quickly test new ideas.

If you’re interested in learning more, visit the blog or sign up to get started on growing your business!

Owen Fay

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