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Unleashing the Power of the Masses: A Deep Dive into Crowdsourced Testing

Traditional testing methodologies have long served as the backbone of QA but have limitations. As the industry evolves, so do the challenges developers face, making it evident that a new approach is needed to address the emerging demands of the ever-evolving mobile landscape. The solution lies in harnessing the power of crowdsourced testing.

Mobile applications have become an indispensable part of our daily lives in the fast-paced digital era. With millions of apps flooding the market, developers face immense pressure to deliver seamless, innovative products that captivate users. However, with increasing complexity and competition, ensuring the quality and functionality of these apps has become a paramount concern.

In this article, we delve into crowdsourced testing, revealing its potential to unlock a new era of software quality and user satisfaction in the dynamic world of mobile applications.

Table of Contents

Crowdsourced Testing 101

Crowdsourced testing is a software testing strategy that leverages a remote, diverse workforce to augment internal QA resources. This strategy often uses a third-party software testing vendor to combine full-time employees with part-time testers, allowing teams to scale-up or down based on project requirements. The approach offers significant benefits, such as testing under unique and realistic conditions (across different devices, locations, and connectivities) while being cost-effective, efficient, and flexible.

Here are the main features of a crowdtesting strategy:

  • Expert Testers: When you engage certified testers, they are current on the latest strategies and best practices. When you outsource or augment your team with freelance testers, you also get a fresh perspective that can help eliminate unconscious bias in the testing process.
  • User-Centric Testing: Crowdsourced testers outside your company deliver insights into how real users interact with the software.
  • Real Users on Real Devices: For example, Testlio’s crowdsourced testing solution holds a global network of 10,000 expert testers with more than 1,200 real device/OS combinations in hundreds of countries.
  • Global Emphasis: Fully vetted and fluent testers conduct functional, UI, language localization, linguistic, and translation quality testing for you.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Hiring burstable crowdsourced testers is a more economical solution than maintaining a full-time in-house testing team.
  • Scale: Crowdsourced testing is also inherently flexible, thanks to freelance workers from across the globe, and tests performed in different time zones and evenings and weekends — when traditional in-house QA testers aren’t working. That flexibility also helps considering the variable cadence with software releases. Some may be created and released in days, while others require greater effort and time.

Tracing the History of Crowdtesting

Before the advent of the internet, software testing was primarily done by in-house teams—or in some cases, through limited external beta testing. Organizational and geographical boundaries, familiarity bias, and a limited number of testers constrained testing.

Then, came the internet. Software developers began distributing their products globally, which allowed them to receive feedback from a much larger user base. Crowdtesting, as we know it today, was born. Crowdsourcing companies started emerging, connecting software developers with testers worldwide. Developers could now leverage the crowd’s wisdom for insights into various real-world testing scenarios.  

The evolution of crowdtesting continued alongside advances in computing technologies. As mobile applications and the Internet of Things (IoT) became prevalent, crowdsourced testing adapted to enable software developers to test their products across various devices, operating systems, and user contexts. This ensured their applications delivered high-quality, reliable, and consistent user experiences, paving the way for expansion into new industries. 

Who Uses Crowdsourced Testing?

Crowdsourced testing is utilized by businesses across every industry, from startups to fortune 500 companies.

  • Mobile Apps: App developers rely on crowdsourced testing services to validate their applications across different devices, operating systems, and network conditions. Massive companies employ crowdsourced testing to maintain high-quality user satisfaction for their mobile apps.
  • Websites: Crowdsourced testing helps companies ensure their websites are functional, user-friendly, and compatible across various browsers and devices. Airbnb uses crowd testing to validate the usability and performance of its website.
  • Consumer Software: Companies developing consumer software, such as Adobe with Photoshop and Illustrator, utilize crowdtesting to validate functionality and performance.
  • Gaming: Crowdsourced testing ensures smooth gameplay, performance, and user experience of video games. Electronic Arts and Ubisoft employ crowdtesting to identify and resolve issues before release.
  • Ecommerce: Ecommerce platforms leverage crowdtesting to ensure seamless shopping experiences. Amazon utilizes crowdtesting to validate their platform’s functionality and user-friendliness.
  • E-learning: Crowdsourced testing helps validate the functionality, performance, and accessibility of e-learning platforms. Coursera and Udemy employ crowdtesting to enhance the user experience.
  • Logistics: Crowdsourced testing ensures logistics software functions efficiently. FedEx and DHL use crowdtesting to validate their logistics software for reliable shipping experiences.

Who Are Crowdsourced Testers? 

Crowdsourced testers are individual freelance testers based in different locations across the globe. They work on-demand and can leverage global time zones for faster testing. These testers bring their own devices, experience, and domain expertise to a project.

Not everything is perfect. Some crowdsourced testing vendors provide unreliable testers. Due to the scale of work, there are incentives to let low-skill freelancers into the “crowd” and leverage different testers from run to run. Crowdsourced testers should fit the cracks in your existing QA team but meet the high standards of full-time employees.  

  • Intense vetting process: Testers should be vetted for skills, experience, response time etc.
  • Device O/S Diversity: Testers should mirror end-users in device variability. 
  • Location Variability: Aim for testers in each critical geolocation.
  • Domain Expertise: Testers versed in different industry domains leads to intentional, informed testing practices.
  • Fair Compensation: Vendors who pay per bug or higher than industry averages are more likely to snag and retain the best testers.
  • Low Turnover Rates: Having consistent testers across runs increases applied experience with the nuances of the app being tested.

Benefits of Crowdsourced Testing

Crowdsourced testing provides access to a vast talent pool of professionals with extensive experience in software testing without the need for long and expensive recruitment efforts. 

Through crowdsourcing, you can engage with skilled testers from around the world, leveraging their diverse backgrounds and perspectives to uncover a wide range of potential issues. A scalable, on-demand team of testers can augment internal QA resources without the costs and logistical challenges associated with hiring additional full-time staff.

With the increasing dominance of mobile applications, testing across various devices and platforms has become crucial. Testers drawn from diverse locations and backgrounds can also provide access to a wide range of devices, operating systems, and network conditions. This diversity ensures comprehensive testing coverage and helps identify issues specific to different mobile environments.

Decorative photo of people with a globe connecting them

When working with a reputable crowdsourced testing vendor, you can expect a consistent pool of testers who become familiar with your product over time, increasing their efficiency and understanding of your specific requirements.

Automation testing also plays a vital, supplementary role in accelerating the testing process and ensuring efficient release cycles. Crowdsourced testing can be an excellent complement to automation by providing a human touch that automated tests may miss. 

Testers in a crowdsourced environment can execute complex test scenarios that require human judgment and observation. They can also provide valuable insights into the user experience, identifying issues that may not be easily detected through automated scripts alone.

Manual beta tests provide flexible staffing options, allowing you to choose test leads, coordinators, and managers according to your project’s needs. Leveraging the results and insights gathered from manual testing, automated scripts can be built to cover the required test data, preconditions, and functionality.

Testlio follows a fused testing approach that strategically combines automated and manual testing methods, with a pool of experts worldwide.

How Does Crowdsourced Testing Compare to Outsourced Testing and In-House Teams?

While both methods help companies stress test their products without hiring additional full-time staff, outsourced testing loses the advantages of crowdtesting in that the team is based in one location, does not have the scalability of a crowd, may or may not provide a wide range of devices, and does not guarantee full visibility into testing: from test creation, to test execution, to bug reports.

In-house testing teams know the product and its development history better than crowdsourced or outsourced teams. However, adding and training new team members during peak times can be time-consuming and prohibitively costly—that’s not even mentioning additional staffing overheads. 

At the same time, they may not have the external perspectives and experience necessary to uncover unexpected issues or replicate various real-world testing conditions in the same way global testers can. This can significantly limit the scope of testing scenarios. 

Pros & Cons of Crowdsourced Tests

Crowdsourced testing offers several advantages: speed, cost savings, diversity, and scalability. However, crowdsourced testing also challenges confidentiality, reliability, and consistency. Let’s dive in:


Crowdtesting involves many individuals, often with better QA and a reduced cost. Other major advantages that ensure an application is ready for launch include:

  • Speed – The importance of developers getting timely and relevant bug information is crucial. With such a large, global number of people involved in the testing, crowdsourced testing leads to fast execution and better results. 
  • Efficiency – Crowd teams help some clients in time-varying bursts to manage peak workloads. This peak-demand testing strategy leads to the most efficient utilization of testing resources. Companies benefit from these burstable instances because they receive a high volume of QA resources for a short period of time only when necessary meaning they can manage day-to-day testing with fewer resources when necessary. 
  • Cost-Effective – To reduce labor costs and dramatically improve efficiencies, today’s software development teams tap into on-demand crowdsourced QA services. It allows you to conduct testing without adding a permanent employee… and the salary, pension, and other costly benefits incurred. Costs are dramatically reduced by applying the time-varying resource provisioning of managed crowdtesting.
  • Localized Insights – Crowdtesting is great for testing localization projects. With access to diverse thoughts and variation in language… well beyond the traditional  translation-based approach
  • Usability Testing Capability – Through the power of crowdsourced testing, companies are able to determine quickly where their mobile application needs to be revised, updated, or fixed in order to avoid losing out on potential users. Crowdsourced testing delivers real users, on real devices, in their target markets.


  • Corporate Assimilation – An in-house QA team assimilates seamlessly into the company culture allowing it to maintain a constant and clear dialogue.  While crowdsourcing can lead to more ambiguity in testing tasks. 
  • Not Equal Errors – A dedicated test team familiar with the mobile app is more likely to find more important bugs and errors. 
  • Confidentiality – With crowdsourcing testing teams, you are opening up a version of your product in beta or production to anonymous, third-party testers.
  • Beyond Beta Testing – While it’s easy to find enough qualified users to carry out small tests, as tasks become more complex the available talent pool becomes more challenging. 
  • One-Sided Conversations – If you use the wrong crowdsourced vendor, you lose the ability to communicate directly. This requires more upfront work to give them enough instruction. 

Crowdsourced Beta Testing

Before rolling out your product to the entire customer base, beta testing allows you to put it in the hands of testers who mimic real end-users. These testers evaluate core user flows, assess the user experience, and diligently search for bugs. By involving testers who represent your intended audience, you gain valuable insights into compatibility, user behavior, and potential issues.

Beta testing is a crucial step in the software development lifecycle that allows you to repeatedly gather feedback, identify bugs, and ensure a smooth user experience before releasing your product to a wider audience.

Beta testing facilitates faster and more confident product iterations. With a beta environment in place, your development team has the freedom to make rapid changes without impacting end users. 

This flexibility enables them to add code, implement modifications, and test new ideas with a quicker turnaroud. 

By leveraging the insights and feedback gathered from beta testers, your team can iterate with confidence, ensuring that the final product meets the highest standards of quality.

The Benefits of Crowdsourced Beta Testing

Crowdsourced beta testing offers the advantage of selecting testers who mirror your product’s intended audience. You can handpick testers based on factors such as location, device type, age, interests, and language proficiency. 

This diversity allows for comprehensive testing in real-world scenarios and helps uncover compatibility issues that may arise in specific user segments. The feedback, user paths, and errors discovered during beta testing are invaluable for making informed decisions and refining your product.

Crowdsourced beta testers are free from the inherent biases and expectations of in-house team members and are more likely to identify major bugs before your product reaches the production stage. By exposing your software to a large, diverse pool of testers, you gain a head start on identifying critical issues and can address them proactively. 

Early bug detection helps you streamline the development process, saving time and resources while ensuring a higher-quality end product.

What is the Crowdsourced Testing Process?

From finding the right testers to integrating feedback into development, crowdsourced testing follows a series of steps to ensure comprehensive testing coverage.

Step 1: Tester Engagement

Crowdtesting platforms maintain a large, global community of testers with different skills and experience levels. Testers are matched to projects based on the project’s requirements and the tester’s expertise.

Step 2: Execution of Test Scenarios

Testers execute predefined test scenarios that examine various aspects of the application, from basic features to complex user actions. They also simulate a real user environment using their own devices, settings, and networks, which helps them uncover issues that controlled test settings may not uncover. Testers may also perform exploratory testing to identify issues not anticipated in the planning stage.

Step 3: Bug Tracking and Reporting

Testers use bug-tracking tools like Jira to report any bugs or issues they find. Reports can include screenshots, steps to replicate the issue, log files, possible fixes, and other important details.

Step 4: Feedback and Integration

Developers analyze the feedback for code integration. Bugs are prioritized according to severity, fixed, and, if necessary, subjected to another round of testing to ensure issues have been resolved. 

Throughout the testing process, Testlio tracks everything, including which tests have been performed, at which times and locations, and on which devices.

Is Crowdsourced Testing the Right Software Testing Staffing Model For You?

Crowdsourced testing offers several compelling benefits that make it an attractive staffing model for software testing, including access to a diverse range of mobile devices, a global talent pool, and a flexible combination of automation and human insight. However, specific testing needs must be considered, such as project scale, budget, and time constraints, before deciding if crowdsourced testing fits your team.

More Resources

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Ultimate Crowdsourced Testing Buyer’s Guide

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Best Crowd Testing Tools on G2