App Store Ratings and Reviews: Why and How to Improve Them?

App Store Ratings and Reviews: Why and How to Improve Them?
If you think that people are not reading reviews or focusing ratings anymore, you need to think twice.

One study suggests that around 91 percent of regularly or occasionally read online reviews. And around 84 percent of users trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and make the decision quickly. Moreover, it is recorded that around 68 percent form an opinion after reading within one to six online reviews.

Those who do not know, the ratings and reviews are generally provided by customers on the app store to grant feedback on their experience with an app and help others decide which apps they would like to try.

So, what can we do being a marketer to enhance the ratings of the customers? Here we are with the complete guide on how you can leverage the power of ratings to your advantage and make the most of positive ratings to drive organic downloads.

But before that, let's learn more basics about customer reviews and ratings to understand the tips well.

How Do Ratings Impact Users?

It is important to highlight the extensive survey on the influence of ratings and reviews that only 15 percent of the people would consider downloading a two-star app, whereas around 96 percent would prefer an app with at least four stars.

And, if your app has three-stars, then study says only 50 percent of people would consider installing it. That means no matter how cool the icon, screenshots, video, etc. is, if your app is rated three stars or fewer,  you will surely lose 50 percent of the potential downloads.

At the bottom, better ratings symbolize more downloads and better conversions from user searches. Therefore it is no wonder that precisely 99 of the top 100 grossing apps on Google Play have either four-star ratings or greater.

Hence it's easy to infer that creating a great app will automatically lead to better ratings and even better conversions from app store views. Though, there is a lot more to earning high ratings plus reviews. Moreover, we need to look at who is leaving app ratings and reviews to understand the components.

Mobile Ratings: The Good, The Bad, And The Worst

a. The Good

There are countless ways in which mobile apps can positively affect a brand’s reputation. And according to various studies, it is found that high ratings and positive reviews drive insane amounts of downloads for respondents in many cases.

1. Near about 77% of the audience read at least one review before downloading the app.

2. By seeing a four or five-star app store rating for a brand’s app, around 70% of people receive a more positive view of the brand as a whole.

3. In comparison to a poorly rated app of a known brand, people are 8x more likely to download a highly rated app of an unknown brand.

4. Your app store conversion can effectively double by as much as 680% only if app ratings jump from a two to a four-star average rating.

5. In comparison to personal recommendations, 42% view mobile ratings and reviews as equally or more trustworthy.

6. Around 75% of the audience recognize mobile ratings as a key reason for downloading an app.

b. The Bad

No matter how widely recognized brand name, if there is any piece which suggests that there is a lack of investment in the product, it is an indication to consumers that good customer experience is lacking.

We all know that mobile has become much more important to consumers. Hence if brands anyhow ignore their flaws, then it may harm their entire hard-earned reputation and can also cause the situation of loss in revenue & loyal customers.

1. Near about 73.2% of the audience is inclined to leave a review after a negative experience of an app.

2. Around 56% of people consider a one or two-star app as a poor brand.

3. And almost 55% of users state that one or two-star app store rating, even of a well-known brand’s app, negatively impacts their faith in the brand as a whole.

c. The Worst

There is no doubt that consumer expectations are growing as the app marketplace continues to grow.

Whether your app is in the Google Play, or App Store, or elsewhere, app categories continue to become increasingly competitive when it comes to boosting downloads due to potential customers expecting more from their apps.

1. Around 46% of users state that before downloading any app, they consider apps with 4-stars only.

2. Hardly 12% of people would even download an app with a two-star rating.

3. Well, it is also surveyed that in the past 12 months, only 36% of the participants have left a review.

4. And the ugliest part is, around two-thirds of all apps have never been rated.

Do App Reviews Affect Conversion Rates?

As we already mentioned above, for current users, app reviews are the most credible way to analyze the quality of the app. People will only be convinced to install it if thousands of people love your app and show it.

And as usual, it is vice versa. Negative reviews could kill your conversion rate. Also, it might prevent new users from downloading the app, or even present users might delete it out of fear or anger.

Not only conversion rates, but app reviews will also affect your:

i. App ranking
ii. The number of visits to the app page
iii. App store downloads

Should One Buy App Store Ratings & Reviews?

Knowing that ratings and reviews of apps could impact our business so much, this is an obvious thought someone can have, i.e., why not buy them to increase business. It might sound good theoretically but not in the practical world.

In simple terms, you are trying to break the rules and play with the system by buying app store reviews only to improve your chances of succeeding.

Besides being penalized, you might also get banned from the app store if you are caught. So it is a must to get app reviews the right way!

And, why worry if we have legit ways for it? Yes, let's study effective ways we can use to improve our app store rating and reviews.

Some Effective Ways to Improve App Store Rating and Reviews

1. Generate In-App User Feedback

We all have heard of the proverb: Prevention is better than the cure. Well, it works here as well. All you need to do is to prevent your users from providing negative reviews on your app by staying immune from the possibility of getting negative reviews.

And the best way to do that is to have another simple and intuitive channel, where your users can reach you directly if they are facing any issue.

Yes, with this feature, they can directly express their anger to you. And if they will get confirmation from your side in a short time, then they will avoid exploding their negative comments in the public. This channel is what we call in-app feedback.

This will surely help you to beat all the odds as you will have a direct and open channel with your users to gather feedback, manage the conversation, and act immediately.

Let's learn more about the in-app user feedback, and how is it used to gather customer feedback.

And your website or app is the perfect place for feedback collection, so begin with that. You can place simple, strategic contact forms or survey forms in your site or app so that everyone can reach you easily.

Believe us, interested and concerned users will fill up these forms, and their issues will be available to you directly through it rather than via negative reviews.

Here is a list you can refer, which includes few feedback collection systems you can directly add within your app or website:

a. In-app surveys
b. Contact us forms
c. In-app feedback forms
d. Shake-to-send feedback
e. Chat widgets

Note: Remember that these forms are not annoying to your users with constant form submission requests.

2. Be Responsive to the Reviews

This could be the most important step for you as we all know, feedback always makes you better.

Still, that is not it; you also need to respond to every review as your priority. There is no worry that you are not responding to every review because we agree it is not that easy. But you can surely keep a constant check on the reviews, and then choose the important ones and respond to them.

And at most, it is very important to pay special attention to the negative reviews and assure the users that you will work on the issues they are facing. Additionally, acknowledge the users who offer a positive review on your website and assure them that you’ll keep up to their expectations.

It represents that you care about user opinions. Plus it also indicates that you are listening to what they have to say, and you appreciate their feedback.

Most say that providing exceptional customer service is going to go a long way and will trigger additional engagement.

Besides being a positive or negative review, some of the reviews will also contain suggestions, recommendations, or even help requests. Therefore, your awareness of reviews is not only advantageous but also the best way to improve app store rating.

3. Ask Users Indirectly to Use Certain Keywords in the Review

It means having your main keywords in user’s reviews can help improve your app’s ranking. Sounds weird? Well, we are not recommending you to ask users to specifically integrate a certain keyword or phrase while writing the review. But, if you tweak your way of asking review, you might raise the chances of getting the desired result.

Yes, for example, write a request like: “Is our app the best healthcare app? Give us a review!” rather than writing “What’s your opinion? Rate our app!”.

Just think which one of the phrases attains the higher chance of getting a review with the keyword integrated into it.

4. Showcase the Benefit of Their Ratings

Everyone enjoys the feeling of being helpful or being part of something big, so do the users. Yes, remind them how significant it is for you to get their reviews, and show the profit that it can bring to the app and even to themselves: more content, new levels, updates, new functionalities, new features, resolving issues, or even new products.

For example, refer to the below image:

5. Leverage Helpshift to Offer Direct Support to Your Users

Well, to provide exceptional customer service is one best route to a good app review. As you can see, the “Send Feedback” button that pops open an email form is very common for the apps. But you can do much more. Yes, you can integrate Helpshift into your app for very little effort and communicate directly with your users via a live two-way instant messaging window.

Helpshift offers us a web-based dashboard that lets us exchange one-to-one messages with the users right inside of your app. So,  you can go way beyond a pre-populated mail form the next time a user needs help and can deliver a great customer support experience with Helpshift.

And once you have resolved your user issue, send them the link and ask them to review the app! Not only Helpshift is free and simple to integrate, but it also comes with its own app review popup plugin that reduces negative app reviews by giving users a “Send Feedback” button. So, the user will be taken to a live chat window (instead of the app store) by pressing it, where they can directly express their grievances about your app!

6. Time the Prompt

Even though prompts are an amazing way to remind users to leave a review, it’s essential to time the prompts properly within the user experience to get positive or at least the reviews.

Many times, we have seen apps making the mistake of asking for reviews upon the user launching the app. Such a step does nothing but invites for poor user feedback, or even users deny to leave a review because this way, the app is interrupting the normal user flow.

So, what should be done? Well, choose the better way to ask for the review. It could be waiting until the user has either finished his/her intended task or has accomplished something within your app.

Try this tip, and even you will feel at the end that when users are feeling good about the app, prompting for a review that time makes it a win-win condition for all the end-users and the app developers.

7. Ask for Reviews from Engaged Users Only

Just think you went to a place for eating, and the waiter comes with a feedback form to know more about the food. What will you write, or how are you going to feel? This is the exact scenario here. A user just downloaded your app, and your pop-up entered to rate and review it. What will happen? Surely, he/she is less likely to leave a review as compared to a user who is highly engaged with your app.

Besides, such a measure can also annoy new users if every time they open your app, they keep on receiving app review pop-ups. And in such irritation, they can either give poor star ratings or aggressively react by writing a negative review to your app.

Hence, it is recommended to target users already engaged for a while now to get an app review. Moreover, you can try this by exploring the behavior of your app users, and then prompt the engaged ones to grant feedback.

8. Reward Users for Reviewing Your App

Rewards attract everyone. And you can surely use this trick to entice your users to get a review. Are you thinking about how? Then here is the answer. For example, if you own a game app, then you can offer life, virtual currency, special characters, powers, etc. to the users in return for reviews.

And for non-game apps, you can try for some premium content for free in return to encourage them to leave a review in the app store. These are just examples. Well, you can surely think of other innovative ideas to incentivize your targeted audience. So, encourage them to leave a positive app review in the app store.

There are higher chances that this strategy won’t fail and will make happy users leave compelling as well as positive app reviews.

However, it is very important to know, especially iOS app publishers that this trick is only valid on the Android platform because Apple has been banning apps that incentivize mobile app reviews.

9. Conduct Contests

Besides rewards, you can also try the other way to bring in more app reviews, i.e., by running contests on various forums. Yes, all you need to do is ask the forum members to write a review of your app by mentioning their iTunes or Google Play user names in the thread as they will get the award later.

Well, most important here is to fulfill your promise of giving prizes. Don’t just let go after getting many reviews because this trump card can go wrong as well. So pick a random member to be the winner when the contest gets over, and give him/her an enticing prize.

10. Update Your App Regularly for Organic App Reviews

There are two scenarios in which regularly updating an app can help. In the first case, the newly updated features can make existing users happy and tempt them to leave reviews naturally or without any rewards.

In the second case, the updated version generally resolves the bugs and issues identified in the previous version. So once you fix all such issues, it can easily transform all the poor reviews associated with your app to the positive ones.

Takeaway Thoughts

So, we have seen how much user feedback are essential to us for building a successful strategy. It has a direct impact on product page visitors and can convince or discourage them from downloading and trying your app or game.

Plus we have also seen great ways by which we can take care of ratings and work hard on collecting more positive feedback.

Below are the hacks you can apply instantly to raise your ratings:

1. Create a great product and keep on upgrading it
2. Inspire users to leave feedback without annoying them
3. Recognize the most engaged users 
4. Don't ask frequently and showcase the outcomes of their feedback for your product
5. Provide a customer support center and keep negative reviews away from the stores 

In all, try to get more users onboard, especially that 79% of users who do check ratings and reviews before downloading an app.
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