Are you focused on enhancing your app’s visibility and wondering how app store ratings and user reviews play a part? App Store user reviews and ratings are crucial in shaping your app’s success and can significantly influence your App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy. This guide offers insights and strategies for leveraging these elements to your advantage.
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: The Role of Social Proof
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, app store 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 App Store User Reviews Affect ASO
App Store user reviews and ratings serve as a primary social proof element, often being the first thing potential users notice. These ratings, ranging from 1 to 5 stars, reflect user satisfaction and are crucial in both the iOS and Android App Stores. Meanwhile, app store user reviews offer a narrative insight into user experiences, providing valuable feedback and influencing prospective users.
Strategically managing and monitoring app store reviews is essential for a robust growth strategy. Here’s how these elements impact your app’s visibility and credibility:
- Visibility: App store ratings are often the first element noticed due to their prominent placement. A higher rating, ideally between 4.3 to 4.9 stars, enhances visibility and user trust.
- Credibility: Ratings below 4 stars can deter users, making it imperative to maintain a high rating for credibility.
- User Engagement: Reviews offer a deeper insight, often being the deciding factor for users satisfied with the app’s rating. Engaging with reviews and addressing concerns is key to maintaining a positive image.
- 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 to keep 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
Developing a targeted 2024 ASO strategy to enhance app store user reviews and boost app store ratings is vital for any iOS or Android app. Recognizing that satisfied users are often less inclined to leave feedback, it’s essential to encourage them to share their positive experiences.
To increase app store user reviews, and app store ratings, a common practice among developers is to use in-app pop-ups prompting users to leave a rating or review. However, this needs to be executed without disrupting the user experience.
Annoying pop-ups can backfire, so it’s crucial to design these prompts to be as non-intrusive as possible yet effective enough to motivate users to take 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: These are fundamental in any strategy to get more app reviews. Triggered by specific user actions or after a certain usage period, these prompts are effective for initial app store rating boosts. They rely on users having sufficient interaction with the app to form an opinion. Common triggers include a number of app launches or hours of usage.
- 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 User Reviews 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 user 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 user 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 the Google Play Store since the Google search algorithm can detect them.
The App Store user reviews and ratings are vital aspects not only for understanding what 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.
What Is a Good App Store Rating?
Ideally, an app with 4 stars or more is considered good.
How Is the App Store Rating Calculated?
Three things have an impact on an app’s rating score: quantity of new users added, app usage, and velocity of downloads/engagement.
What Is Content Rating in App Store?
The term “content ratings” refers to the minimum maturity level of content in apps. Nevertheless, content ratings do not indicate whether an app is intended for a specific age group. Ratings are often assigned depending on a variety of factors.
How to Monitor App Store Reviews?
Regularly check user feedback through the app store dashboard and use analytics tools for in-depth analysis and trends.
How to Get More App Reviews?
Encourage reviews by using timely in-app prompts after positive user experiences and respond to existing reviews to show engagement.
Originally published on November 21, 2022. Updated on November 23, 2023.