REVIEWS AND RATINGS IN THE MOBILE APP STORES
April 8, 2020

Mobile Development

Mobile app promotion №19. Reviews and ratings in the stores

By Alexander Sergeev

You may be optimizing an app diligently for a long time, ordering icons from the most expensive designers, adjusting description, and choosing screenshots thoroughly. But still, there’s a component which you can’t affect directly — users’ reviews. Though, there are some tricks which concern work with reviews.

What do reviews and ratings affect?

  • Ratings and quantity of reviews are taken into consideration by store algorithms and affect an app position in a TOP.
  • Ratings and reviews are very important for many users. Before installing an app, they read other people’s opinions.
  • High ratings and positive reviews increase app chances for featuring.

That’s why you shouldn’t neglect reviews. But working with them is not as easy as it may seem. A developer doesn’t have a possibility to delete negative reviews neither in App Store nor in Google Play. But the Android market is a little bit more loyal, you can answer reviews there.
There are many rumors about the degree of influence on an app rating. But many of them aren’t proved. It’s only known that the “weight” of user opinions depends on the time and how actively an app is used. I.e. the more a person uses an app, the more important will be his/her review.
If we look at TOP-1000 apps, we can see that the average rating for the majority of apps is more than 4 stars. It’s what you should strive for. It may be impossible to get a 5-star rating, as there are always discontented people.

Review tone

Before starting work with negative reviews, it’s necessary to understand the reasons why people leave them. They can be divided into several groups:

  • Low quality of an app — it’s an evident reason: a disappointed user writes a negative review. A lie in the description also belongs here. A user expects to see something in an app and after an installation gets something different.
  • price or a fact of a purchase — people are accustomed to a variety of free apps and a necessity to pay evokes negativity. And if an app doesn’t justify people’s hopes, a negative review is very possible.
  • technical problems — app breakdowns are annoying and make users write negative comments. But if a user still keeps emotions to oneself and asks to solve a problem in a review, it won’t have a positive character. Such a user won’t give a rating of more than 3 stars.
  • intrusiveness — this reason often appears because of aggressive advertisements and appeals to inner purchases. Users complain about that in reviews.

Ways to stimulate users to rate an app

We can’t delete or edit reviews but we can form a user opinion. It’s quite a difficult work but the result will justify the efforts.
Stores are very negative about ordered reviews. Moreover, they have algorithms that can recognize forgery. For example, reviews written in a short period of time with similar ratings may not only be suspicious but entail negative consequences as decreasing an app rating.
Right after the app launch, it’s necessary to get 5 reviews. Only after that, an average rating will be shown. How to do it? Ask your friends to help you. But don’t give them prepared texts, reviews should be natural. Similar rates may also evoke suspicion, so let some of them give you 4 stars.
Further on we’ll talk about how to stimulate users to write reviews.

Let’s start with the group of users you attracted on the stage of pre-release marketing. Ask them to leave a review in a newsletter about an app launch. If they subscribed to it and waited for the release, I don’t think many of them will deny you. Besides, use social networks — many subscribers will agree to leave a review. But act carefully and gradually. Firstly, avoid being obtrusive, secondly, don’t use all the channels simultaneously, make pauses so that reviews were placed all at once.
After the first wave of positive opinions from loyal users starts working with app users directly. The most widespread method is a pop-up window. There are simple solutions for its realization, for example, Appirater.

But you should guess the right moment. Don’t ask for a review right after an install, give a user some time to get acquainted with your app. Try to guess the time when your user has positive emotions. For example, after a successful completing of a level in a game.

It’s also important to formulate your request correctly. Dry standard phrases like “Please, rate our app” won’t do here. Turn to a user with a simple human language. But you can act in a more reserved way by creating a “rate the app” button and show it in the right moments in a menu.
There’s another catch that works most of the time. Offer a user to rate an app and give a choice: 5 stars or 1-4 stars. Tapping a 5-star rate button will send it App Store while tapping the other on — won’t. All the user remarks will go to a publisher and won’t appear on the market.

 

 

Work with negative comments

Many developers face inadequate negative reviews. Sometimes it’s not even a review but a torrent of foul language. Write to the support, in this case, such reviews are usually deleted. Do the same thing if a review is unjust. But an appeal to administration will only work if everything is evident, so be ready to prove it.
What should you do if there’s something wrong with your app and there are torrents of negative reviews? App Store shows reviews that were left after the latest update. I.e. you can get rid of the negative by updating an app. But surely you’ll have to get rid of the problems which irritate users as well.
Google Play allows answering reviews. Use this possibility and answer your critics politely.

Widespread mistakes

  • some developers try to be cunning and offer users a reward for reviews, for example, game currency or functionality unblocking. Don’t do this. It’s prohibited by store rules and you can get a ban for it.
  • others order reviews. Nowadays there are many places you can buy reviews from, for example, BuyAppStoreReviews. But it’s a bad idea as this method is prohibited by the administration of the stores. And you’ll get a low-quality result.
  • many developers try to hide negativity (by updates, appeals to administration, etc.) But it’s a totally wrong way. Search for a problem in the app and try to get rid of it. Even external platforms will do for it: for example, ask opinions, communicate with users in social network communities, or on the app website.

Reviews and ratings affect app ratings in a TOP. Besides, other users often make a decision about installation according to them. That’s why you should pay a lot of attention to them. But the best strategy is to adjust a dialogue with users. You will be able not only to avoid negativity but also to get positive reviews which will help you in the promotion.

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