How App Store Ratings and Reviews Affect Optimization
Are you wondering about the app store rating? Or appstore reviews? And if they have any effect on your optimization strategy? We are here to give insights and tips on how to understand this crucial topic.
Now more than ever, brands worldwide focus on boosting their growth through social proof elements. Social proof is defined as the achievements or proofs that brands usually show in the form of numbers or merits, such as “+400K subscribers”, “App of the Day,” and others.
That has a great impact when it comes to conversion rate in the discovery phase for users on the Stores, as it encourages them to download apps. Thus, it greatly influences App Store Optimization, and most companies are trying to take advantage of it when showcasing it in their app.
App Store Rating: Incorporating Social Proof Elements
The first screenshot on the Store Page is the most common way to showcase potential users with social proof elements.
Is this a bad strategy? Absolutely not.
Most users crave any social proof to decide which product they will go for. Moreover, a strong testimonial can boost downloads and revenue and make users feel safer. This is true in the discovery phase on the Stores but also when watching ads with user-generated content.
Taking into account the great importance social proof plays for a brand, it is vital to closely monitor the most critical elements of social proof in the Stores: App Ratings and Reviews. Monitoring and optimizing app ratings and reviews is a solid growth strategy, and it is vital to understand why.
More specifically, ratings are a score the user gives after or while interacting with the app. That score is based on the user’s experience within the app, measured from 1 to 5 stars in both iOS and Android App Stores.
On the other hand, appstore reviews are comments written by users expressing their thoughts on the app.
App store ratings and reviews are the very first social proof elements users might take into consideration when they are searching for the next app to download. That is especially true when our app is new to the market and doesn’t yet have a strong brand presence.
It is, therefore, crucial to boost users’ confidence by showcasing great app ratings and reviews on the Stores, as these will support our efforts in increasing the conversion rate from visitors to downloads.
Now, considering the crucial role app store ratings and reviews play in converting users, we want to look at the main characteristics of these elements and how they affect app store optimization.
How Ratings and Reviews Affect App Store Optimization
Although both factors impact ASO activities, ratings tend to play a more important role when looking at the optimization process. That is due to two main factors:
- Visibility—users tend to see ratings before reviews (due to their positioning on the Store Page), and at the same time, they will pay more attention to these, as they are simpler to understand and “read.”
- Credibility—if an app is rated below 4 stars, most users will skip it in favor of another with a better score. An app should aim at keeping a rating between 4.3 and 4.9 stars.
App reviews, however, also play a significant role when it comes to App Store Optimization due to the following reasons:
A) Once users find an app exciting and are happy with their rating, they will check the reviews to finalize the download. Reviews will mirror the overall image and reputation of the app since users’ thoughts and opinions will be publicly shared for everyone to see.
Therefore, interacting with users and providing them with polite and helpful answers should be the go-to strategy. After all, reviews are a powerful element that allows developers to communicate with their users and solve important problems within their apps.
B) On top of this, in the case of the Play Store, app reviews contribute to the search visibility and ranking of an app. That is because the Google Play search algorithm is able to detect what kind of keywords are considered within your reviews.
App Rating and Review Optimization Strategy
With this in mind, planning a strategy for app store rating and review optimization is necessary.
Most of the time, happy users are also lazy users. That means that if everything works well, and there is no reason to complain, there’s no need to leave a rating or a review.
To facilitate this, many developers trigger users to rate the app or leave a review by using a pop-up in the app. When doing so, it is vital to keep in mind not to disrupt the user experience within the app since an unexpected pop-up might be considered annoying.
Instead, the trigger needs to be less disruptive and intrusive and, at the same time, effective enough to encourage users to take the desired action.
In addition, there are different ways of asking users for action. “Triggers” can be defined as the condition for which a rating or review request will pop up. The most important triggers are:
- Simple Usage Triggers: the most common ones and will fire when the user performs a particular action for a specific period of time. Moreover, they are effective for an initial app rating strategy since the users involved have interacted with the app long enough to have an opinion. The “rate us” can be triggered, for instance, by a certain number of app launches, hours of usage, the number of actions completed, and others.
- User Journey Triggers: these are a bit more advanced within the user funnel. They should be used in a unique moment when the user is in a “good mood.” Moreover, that could be a special reservation, a plane ticket purchase, a match in a dating app, or after completing a challenging level in a gaming app.
- Anti-Triggers: these are implemented in situations when firing a trigger could be problematic and cause a bad app rating or review. For instance, if the app has crashed a certain amount of times over the past ten days, then the triggers set up should not fire since the user is in a bad mood. Another example will be not firing any trigger if the users have already skipped the rating pop-up within the last month.
- Other Triggers: developers can also use other types of triggers in different situations. For instance, they can request an app store rating or review after a major update—or, to be less disruptive, they can include a rating and review section within the app settings.
Balance Is the Key
Understanding our users and their behavior within our app will be crucial to defining the best strategy to get the most out of the triggers we choose.
App reviews are usually more difficult to get since they require more effort. Remember that users are more likely to leave a review if something bad happens. To minimize this, marketers can adopt the following strategy.
When showing the rating pop-up (and not the actual prompt), if the users select 3 stars or less, we could consider showing a feedback section instead of taking them to the Stores. That will help us gather feedback from users, understand why they are not happy, and simultaneously show that we are listening.
Also, remember not to place a pop-up right before paid content appears, as this could provoke the users to leave a bad rating.
App Store Optimization Additional Tips
In addition to these “tricks” for app ratings, remember that sometimes we cannot avoid negative reviews. For this reason, replying to them is very important. Users took time to share their thoughts and opinions about the app, so interact with them, answer their doubts, and re-engage with them.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when replying to app reviews:
- Take care first of those unhappy customers; they are the most difficult ones
- Users reading app reviews will see the way developers respond to negative comments, hence keeping an eye on the tone of voice and style
- Responding to negative feedback can be impactful, depending on your user base. For instance, if the app has a small audience, a single negative review could have a big impact
- If users have complained about a feature or something not working in the app—and you have fixed it in the meantime—ask them to check and change their review, if they are happy with it
The most effective way to address App Store reviews is through tailored answers. Don’t use canned answers; tell users to reach out to your customer support email address. Users will notice this, and it will guarantee a better human-to-human approach. Together with that, try to use keywords in the answers when it comes to Google Play Store since the Google search algorithm can detect them.
The App store rating and review is a vital aspect not only to understand what it is going on with an app but also for App Store Optimization. As a matter of fact, understanding how ratings and reviews affect app store optimization is crucial for a long-term app growth strategy.
Following an ASO-focused approach is crucial to understanding what steps to take to improve our overall image in the eyes of the users. Therefore, it is necessary to measure and analyze every rating, every review, and every interaction to improve the user experience within the app and to be successful.
Are you interested in improving your App Store Optimization strategy? Get in touch with our ASO team of specialists and start growing your app today!