Fake door testing

Fake door testing validates interest in a potential product or feature before its existence.

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Fake door testing

Fake door testing is a method used to validate interest in a potential product or feature before it actually exists. By presenting users with the option to engage with a non-existent product or feature (such as through an advertisement or a website button) that leads to a “coming soon” page, businesses can measure genuine interest based on user actions like click-through rates (CTR).

Fake door testing for Problem Validation

Difficulty/Ease: 4/10
Setting up a fake door test is relatively straightforward. It involves creating minimal viable assets, such as advertisements or buttons on existing platforms, to simulate the presence of a product or feature.

Time Taken: 3/10
The preparation for a fake door test is quick, primarily involving digital asset creation and deployment. Collecting sufficient data to make informed decisions can vary, but often a few weeks of running the test can yield actionable insights.

Evidence Level: 6/10
Fake door testing offers actionable insights into user interest through metrics like click-through rates. However, it lacks real product interaction, limiting how reliable it is when predicting actual usage.

Evidence Metrics:

  • Click-Through Rates (CTR): Measures how many users are interested enough to click on the fake advertisement or button.
  • Engagement Depth: Tracks how users interact with the “coming soon” or informational page to gauge their level of interest.
  • User Feedback: Any comments or inquiries from users can provide additional qualitative insights.


  • Interest Level: Determines whether there is a genuine interest in the product or feature.
  • Market Demand: Helps confirm if there is a potential market for the new offering.

These insights can significantly de-risk the product development process by ensuring that only features with demonstrated demand are fully developed.


Practical steps to set up a fake door test include:

  1. Define the Hypothesis: Clearly outline what assumptions you’re testing about user interest and market demand.
  2. Design the Test: Create ads, buttons, or links that users can interact with, which suggest the existence of the new product or feature.
  3. Deploy the Assets: Place these elements in strategic locations within your existing products, websites, or advertising channels.
  4. Monitor Interactions: Track how users interact with these elements and collect data on their responses.
  5. Analyze Data: Review the collected data to determine the interest and engagement level.

What Should I Use Fake Door Testing For?

Fake door testing is best used to:

  • Validate user interest in a new product or feature before committing significant resources to development.
  • Test market reactions to potential new offerings without the need for actual product development.
  • Refine product concepts based on real user behaviour rather than speculative feedback.

Fake door testing predominantly tests for desirability. This method is particularly effective in assessing whether there is actual user interest and demand for a proposed product or feature before it is fully developed and brought to market.

Detail on Testing Desirability Through Fake Door Testing

Understanding User Interest: Fake door testing creates a scenario where potential users are presented with the option to interact with a non-existent product or feature. Companies can measure direct interest by tracking how users engage with this option. High engagement levels (such as clicks or sign-ups on a “coming soon” page) indicate that users are aware of and interested in the product or feature being tested.

Measuring Market Demand: This testing approach goes beyond mere interest; it helps quantify how much of the target audience finds the product appealing enough to take some form of action. For instance, if a significant percentage of users click through an advertisement for a product that doesn’t yet exist, it suggests that there is a strong market demand for such a product.

Validating Product Concept: Unlike surveys or focus groups where responses might be influenced by hypothetical scenarios or social desirability bias, fake door testing provides real-world evidence of user desire for a product. Users who believe they are interacting with an actual soon-to-be-released product are more likely to exhibit genuine interest or disinterest, providing clear indicators of the product’s appeal.

Assessing Willingness to Engage: By analyzing how users engage with the preliminary elements of the product (like clicking on a fake ad or signing up for more information), companies can gauge the initial interest and the potential for sustained engagement. This is crucial for understanding if the desirability is superficial or if a deeper interest could lead to actual usage and sales.

Refining Marketing and Development Strategies: The insights from fake door tests help companies refine their marketing approaches and product development strategies. If the test shows high interest, it can validate the desirability of moving forward with confidence. Conversely, low interest might prompt a reevaluation of the product features or marketing tactics.


Analyzing results from fake door testing involves examining:

  • User interaction rates to assess interest levels.
  • Behavioral data from the landing or informational pages to understand depth of interest.
  • Qualitative feedback can offer deeper insights into user expectations and desires.

Tools That Can Be Used

Effective tools for conducting fake door tests include:

  • Google Analytics: For tracking website interactions and CTR.
  • Hotjar or Crazy Egg: To visualize how users interact with your test pages.
  • A/B Testing Tools: Like Optimizely or VWO, to test different variations of your fake doors.

Examples of Companies That Use This Method

  1. Polyvore: Successfully tested the “outfit sales” feature by presenting a fake option to users, which helped validate the demand for shopping outfits as complete sets.
  2. Tesla, Inc.: Used a fake door test by asking customers to put down a $5,000 deposit to secure a build date for its first car, effectively validating the market’s willingness to pay in advance.

By leveraging fake door testing, companies can gain early insights into user interest and market viability, helping them make informed decisions about product development and marketing strategies. This method provides a cost-effective approach to confirming a product’s potential success before fully bringing it to market.