New app rating algorithm is coming, are you ready?

Michał Tajchert
May 30 · 3 min read

Starting August 2019, Google Play will change a method of calculating app rating from “all-time average”(aggregated rating) to one that decays old app reviews over time to better reflect recent reviews. This shift is a long-awaited in Android app ecosystem. Till these days having an old app with multiple negative reviews from the early days seemed as an impossible task change the tide. Such app in most cases never surpassed 4.0 or sometimes even 3.0, and users weren’t eager to update their old reviews.

App rating is a key differentiator in very crowded app market nowadays, some cases studies conclude that app rating above 4.0 shows over 500% increase in app downloads comparing to 2.0 rating. Over 2 years ago I explained how to use Machine Learning by Google Firebase to display an incentive in the very best moment for only those users who are most likely to rate your app — and this study is even more important with recent changes.

Google Play Console

New app rating is already visible for app owners in Google Play Console (go to User feedback-Ratings). If your new one is higher than previous — congrats! Your users appreciated latests app updates.

Another addition to Play Console allows you to easily compare your app to a “peer” group (most likely your competition). This gives you a sneak peek of a situation after August 2019 and allows to monitor your app performance in the store on day-to-day basis. Let’s take a look at some examples!

This chart of app rating over time is going to be very useful for us — in many places of Google Play Console (as well in Firebase) you can select an area of the chart and copy all data from it. This doesn’t sound as ground breaking as it should. Now, please note that you can edit your “peer group” as you would like, and it can include only one app. Which in result allows you to reveal that very specific app rating history (up to 2 years). Chewie We’re Home!

Example comparison

Let’s take a look at a segment that is closest to my heart — mobile banking. I selected the biggest and most popular banks to understand, how their rating will (probably) change with new way of calculating user reviews.

As you probably noticed, this new tool in Google Play Console can be very helpful tool to learn from changes in your competitor’s ratings and use it to your advantage to notice what is most engaging for your users.

In the second part of this article I will discuss information on mobile banking sector with some interesting details about app ratings — follow me to be notified right away.

I work @ DXC Technology, where delivering best mobile solutions is my day-to-day job. Ping me if you are interested in working together.

Thanks to Michal Bialas

Michał Tajchert

Written by

Technology Business Development Manager @ DXC Technology, author of Kanarek app.

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