You’ve finally launched your app, and you’re waiting for the five-star reviews to start loading. Why wouldn’t everyone else love your app as much as you do? And with app use on the rise, it makes sense to jump into this market. The only issue- it’s a saturated market.
Both Google and Apple applications have just over 2 million available apps each. So, how can you gain more visibility from your app? One way is through the reviews and ratings you receive. And, despite what you may have seen or heard, the more–the better. In today’s market, consumers have a preference for individualized, real reviews over advertising. Of course, good reviews will make your app stand out even more. Nonetheless, we will explain why app reviews are essential to designers.
Reviews and ratings are used as metadata for search. Depending on the types of news stories breaking in the tech world this week, ratings may even categorize your app in search results. When a customer types in a keyword such as “crossword puzzle,” you can imagine that all of the crossword puzzle games–with the most reviews–will start to populate the search engine results.
Moreover, you’ll see the ones with the best ratings on top. Search engines want to provide their users with the best experience–this means giving them the best products and services first.
When you search for new apps, which ones do you download? Do you download the one with no reviews or the one with multiple reviews? When two apps are similar, most consumers will download the app with either the most reviews and/or the best reviews.
As those stars light up, so do your chances of getting more downloads. It gets your app noticed. If you have the same or a similar number of ratings as another app, then the average user will download the app with the better ratings.
How reviews affect your app ranking
As an app designer, you might read your reviews on a daily basis. It’s essential to being discovered, downloaded and purchased. Not to mention, reviews and ratings help you to show up for relevant key terms. As a result, apps with ratings lower than 3 stars had a much lower ranking that more highly-reviewed applications. Here is a breakdown of what affects your app ranking in both the Google and Apple app stores:
- The quality of ratings and reviews
- Number of uninstalls
- Number of reviews
- Number of downloads
- How much your app is used
- Landing page keyword density
- App growth
Ratings by system
- Google–Reviews are local but star ratings affect average rating value, regardless of the location of the user. As a developer, you can reply to all reviews and they are visible to everyone in the Play Store. The only caveat is reviews will never expire, even those for an older version of your app.
- iOS–Reviews and ratings are version-specific. This means that when you publish an updated version of your app, most of the previous reviews disappear. Reviews are local. This means that reviews given by Japanese users are only visible to Japanese users, for instance. The rating is also local. To illustrate, the same app might be a 3.5/5 in the United States and 3.0/5 in Japan. You can’t reply to any of your reviews.
- Windows–You can reply to all reviews. Replies are also private and sent directly to the reviewer’s email address. The average rating is local and only visible to a specific country’s users. Reviews never expire.
Feedback helps to improve your work
Certainly, you wouldn’t publish an app unless you thought it was amazing. If only everyone else felt the same way. While you may have many fans, there will be critics. And, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Your app is supposed to appeal to your target audience. If it isn’t doing so, then you’ll find out quickly. This is especially true if users get specific such as reporting bugs or even having issues with a crashing app and a battery drain. These are important issues that you should fix if you find an overwhelming number of reviews discussing the same problems. Otherwise, you will continue to get bad reviews.
Then, there are the positive reviews. We’re not talking about the one your mom or dad wrote. These are good and real reviews showing you did something right, and you provided something your users actually want. It’s always nice to get positive feedback. Since user retention is so critical in the app world, you might encourage users to return by regularly adding exciting new features.
Even with the best intentions, we can sometimes fall short. On the other hand, we can knock our app out of the park. Regardless of how well your app is received, don’t be afraid of reviews and ratings. You need them for rankings and to help make the most of your work.