Supercharge app ratings with iOS StoreKit

Monese first launched on Android with our iOS app following months later. The iOS app has been playing catch up ever since in terms of users, features, and app store ratings and volume.

A problem we often encounter when shipping a new version of our iOS app, is that review volume is slow to pick up and often takes a week or longer to generate enough reviews to receive a current version average rating.

Sound like a relatable problem?

Worse, if your current version is sitting on a handsome average, you may have a tendency to hold back shipping a new version as you know your star rating that took weeks to accumulate will be reset to zero.

Now I know what you might be thinking, why focus on app store ratings? They tend to either be 5 or 1, there are no in betweens.

However, when you’re starting out and growing your product and brand, it’s important to build trust and confidence with users. Positive app store ratings contribute to this. An install decision may be made on app rating alone. First impressions count.

To try and increase review volume at Monese, we first introduced a feedback mechanism in the account menu. This led to a marginal uptick in review volume, but it was nothing to shout about it. The approach was too passive.

So we started working on a proactive review strategy, targeting users after a positive interaction in the app and encouraging them to leave a review.

Developers would have to create the prompts and send users out of the experience and into the app store to leave a review. The process was clunky at best and had the side effect of potentially frustrating users.

Luckily, Apple introduced StoreKit reviews in iOS 10.3 before we had implemented the above solution. We decided to integrate the StoreKit Framework with the above review logic (positive experiences) and the results have been way beyond our expectations.

StoreKit In App Reviews have drastically increased Monese’s review volume

To put this into context, in 9 months the Monese iOS app has received less than 60 reviews from users. When we shipped with in app reviews, the current version has already received 256 reviews at the time of writing.

What makes this even more astonishing is that during my time at Shazam, which has over 100 million monthly active users and a proactive review strategy, an average app version received 100 reviews or less.

We received 256 reviews in 10 days, and we surpassed our lifetime review volume within the first 24 hours of shipping the new version. We suspected it would have a positive impact, but not this positive.

Monese app store ratings: See the small difference between the current version volume and the lifetime volume

Prior to our current release, our lifetime average rating was also sitting at a modest 3.5 stars. Since shipping the new version we’ve leaped to 4.5 stars. It’s early going and it could be a freak release, but the signs over the past 10 days are extremely positive.

StoreKit reviews make it easy for the user, they no longer have to leave the experience and can simply submit a short review in seconds. What’s also great is that you can now reply to customer reviews too.

As well as integrating StoreKit, we use a helpful tool called AppBot to track app store reviews and monitor customer sentiment. I was introduced to the tool by a colleague at Shazam and it has a cool integration with Slack to provide reviews directly into a channel of your choosing.

AppBot helps us keep track of reviews in real time, and also translates reviews written in a different language.

AppBot graph showing our iOS App Star Rating overtime

As we continue to grow our product at Monese, tools like StoreKit and AppBot are an awesome way for us to capture and monitor user feedback.

If you’re struggling with review volume it might be worth trying out StoreKit and giving your users a little nudge after a positive experience.

You can download the latest version of the Monese iOS App here.

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