4 best practices to get better app store ratings & reviews

Ask anyone who works in mobile app marketing, your app store rating is key to increase your app’s downloads & ensure its success. Ratings and reviews are the only social proofs in the app store.

The era of app stores

The number of available apps has skyrocketed to 2’200’000 for Google Play Store and 2’000’000 for the Apple App Store as of June 2016. No mobile marketer can reasonably ignore ASO and thus app store rating & app store reviews. Same goes with any available means to differentiate itself from the competition.

Statista — Number of apps available in leading app stores as of June 2016

That being said, what if I told you that it’s actually easy to increase your number of good ratings while decreasing the number of negative ones? What about getting user user feedback in the process?

Too many mobile applications ask their users for a review at the worst possible time, how annoying is that! Below is my foolproof plan to achieve higher ratings.

1. Ask at the right time

Who likes to be interrupted? Pretend you read Seth Godin’s famous book Permission Marketing and start applying its principles. In practice: ask for a review only once a user completed a task or is at the end of a happy path like after a purchase.

Ask at the right time and only ask once. Don’t want to look like her do you?

In the same way, don’t interrupt your users with a push notification while they are doing something else. Instead, go with a dimissible & well-designed in-app message.

Also, wait for a few more sessions before asking your user as to rate your app as they won’t have explored your whole app during their first visit.

2. Only ask your most engaged users

If you ask any user without distinction for an app store rating you’ll get surprizes. If you do that you’ll get happy users as well as mildly happy and unhappy ones.

One way to counter that is to only ask your most engaged users to review your app. Because they use your app often and know it well, you will have better chances of getting good ratings by targeting them. You could even target them based on engagement, frequency, share and so on.

3. Triage them between happy/unhappy users

Better safe than sorry, triage your users again to make sure to send them to the right flow whether they like your app or no. Remember unhappy customers are noisier than happy ones and won’t miss a chance to leave you a bad app store review. A few ideas on how to do that:

  • Ask a question like “Are you happy with our app?” and YES/NO calls-to-action.
  • Offer your users to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 5. Treat 0–2 stars as unhappy users and 3–5 stars as happy users.

a) Happy

Send your carefully selected happy users straight to the appropriate app store and score a good rating & app review.

Little hack: for IOS apps, you can send users to the Apple App Store with the “review pane” opened. By playing a bit with the URL in iTunes store, you should get something like that:

https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewContentsUserReviews?id=476353338&pageNumber=0&sortOrdering=2&type=Purple+Software&mt=8

b) Unhappy

What do unhappy customers do? They complain, right! That’s ok, but have them complain to you: send them to your support system (email or in-app).

This way, you get to talk with them, gather their negative feedback and get a chance to improve.

4. Actually provide customer support

You’re thinking “don’t I know that!” but still, I had to talk about this: answer your support tickets/emails. This will help you catch your angry users and make sure they’ll leave good reviews when asked to. Some of them might even change bad app ratings & reviews to leave good ones instead.

On Google Play Store, you can answer your user’s feedback. Don’t miss that opportunity to interact with your users. You can reinforce trust in your app for the happy ones as well as reply to your not-so-happy ones. By experience, some users will change their bad app store ratings & reviews after you show that you care about them.

Bonus tips

Bonus tip: if launching, ask friends to rate & review your app to give you a head start.

Bonus tip 2: But no employees if you don’t want to be sued for $1,25 Million like Bell Canada!

Summary

  • Ask at the right time
  • Only ask your most engaged users
  • Catch happy/unhappy customers and treat them distinctively
  • Provide flawless support

Here you go: a foolproof and easy-to-implement system to ensure better app store ratings & app store reviews which will improve your app store ranking.


Anything to add or any feedback? Let me know in the comments or via my twitter @AmbroiseDebret

Originally published at ambroisedebret.com on August 26, 2016.