When it comes to optimising your page on the app-store there are numerous factors to be considered. This includes the likes of keywords, your icon, screenshots, app description etc. etc. But what some app marketers and developers might fail to realise, is the importance of user ratings and reviews to app store optimisation, as well as your overall app marketing strategy.
Just to clear it up, a rating is where a user puts a value on your app between 1 and 5 stars depending on how satisfied they are with your app and its features. A review is a more detailed written answer containing valuable feedback from the user.
How do App User Ratings and Reviews Impact Downloads?
The majority (59%) of people have been found to check the ratings and reviews before they download a new app. This makes them a very important aspect of your app store page and crucial to grabbing the attention of your target audience.
When a user is browsing the app-stores they are naturally going to be more drawn to the apps with the higher ratings and reviews. Word of mouth will always be one of the most powerful forms of marketing. No matter how great your app description might be, potential users are going to be much more influenced by the real, unbiased reviews written by your users.
In terms of your rank in the search results, the app-stores definitely give more priority to the apps that receive plenty of high quality reviews and ratings. Out of the top 100 free iPhone apps the average rating is 4 stars. Plus, Google recently confirmed that they improved their algorithm to reward high quality apps by taking factors such as user engagement, retention and star ratings into consideration when allocating a rank position. Previously this was based primarily on the number of downloads an app received, but high downloads does not always equal a well performing app if the drop-out rate is high.
Research by Kahuna discovered that 100% of users searching the app store are willing to consider downloading a 5 star app, whilst only 13% of users consider apps with one star ratings. Taking the time to improve your current method of asking for user ratings will definitely be time well invested as increasing your rating from 2 to 4 stars has shown to increase your conversions by a massive 540%. So let’s take a look at a few things you can do to achieve this.
5 Ways to Improve and Increase App Store Ratings
- Choose the right time
Identifying the right time to ask for a user review is the key to being successful. Asking for a review 30 minutes after they have downloaded your app is never going to end well. Give them a chance to warm up and get to know the benefits of using your app first. Ideally you want to prompt your users after they have had a positive experience. For example, after they have unlocked a higher level on a game or had a successful match on a dating app. Moments like these, when you know the user is actively engaging with the app, are much more likely to result in them agreeing to leave you a positive review.
- Segment your users
Not every app has defining moments where you can be confident the user is having a good experience. If this is the case you are best to segment your users based on their app usage and engagement. For example, users who have visited your app over 20 times in a period of 5 days are obviously gaining value from the app and are more likely to want to give you a high rating. This helps avoid sending the prompt to inactive or first time users.
Don’t be afraid to use their name either. A personalised review prompt can boost conversions by 27.5%!
- Don’t nag
If they say no, that’s fine. Don’t keep nagging them every time they use your app to leave you a review. That will only put them off and could result in them leaving you a bad review, or even worse, deleting your app for good.
- Ask them a question
Another great method is to occasionally ask your user if they are enjoying your app. How they answer this question tells you your next move, as you can see if the below example from Circa News.
If they say yes, politely ask them if they wish to give you a rating on the app store. If they say no, ask them to give you direct feedback via email or another form of contact. This means only you and your team receive this information and have avoided a negative review on the app store for everyone to see. You now have the opportunity to solve whatever issue the user might be having and hopefully turn around their views on your app.
- Respond to reviews
Leaving a response to each individual user review is a great way to show that you genuinely care about and are listening to all your feedback, no matter if it is good or bad. Responding to a bad review in particular is essential to show that you are proactive and keen to improve your app, solving whatever issue the user may have been having.
If you want to learn more about ASO then you might want to check out our guide ‘ASO: What The Industry Experts Have To Say’. We spoke to some industry experts and it contains all their top tips and tricks to help boost your downloads and increase your app ranking. You can also reach out to me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to answer any of your app marketing related questions.