Apple and Google both use app reviews and app ratings in their app store search ranking algorithms. App store optimization as a practice and strategy is evolving as are the app store ranking algorithms that help to shape ASO. Because the app store rankings algorithms are not shared publicly and differ between Apple and Google, it is not possible to provide a specific weight of the quality, volume, or momentum of buy app ratings and reviews on search rankings. It is generally accepted and understood that:
* more ratings (and reviews) are better than fewer, and
* higher ratings are better than lower
It follows then that any complete app store optimization strategy requires looking beyond the app listing and not only building app users love but one that they are willing to rate and post app reviews for.
An amazing app is not enough. Let’s review the actual process of rating and reviewing apps from the user’s perspective.
The app review process is a bit broken:
Users can rate and review apps from their mobile devices in the app store app, or via the web if they are logged in. The part that is a bit broken is that asking for a rating and review requires a user to stop using your app, leave your app, open a new app (the app store app) and navigate to the review section or tab. While this is not ideal – there is another fairly common issue of irrelevant ratings.
Let’s see if we can’t help our users a bit, by making it easier to leave our apps a relevant review.
- Request app ratings:
There are a few approaches to encouraging users to rate your app that range from passive to downright annoying and disruptive to the user experience.
- Add a link to your app listing in the app store in the menu
The least obtrusive to the user experience, adding a link in your app’s menu or settings directly to your app’s listing in the app store accomplishes two things:
* reminds the user to rate or review
* saves them the step of navigating to the app store and then your app
Not very proactive, but helpful. A more proactive approach would be actually asking for ratings and reviews.
- Set an automated request after X days and X uses
A few years ago, a popular approach for requesting mobile app review was to simply schedule a popup that asked for a rating and review.
The publisher could set the popup to open on the 3rd app open (for example) or after 10 days, or both. This approach is flawed for several reasons:
- Ask for a rating and review during a high point
A better time to request a rating or review is when a user is at a high point in your app. Maybe they passed a level, unlocked some content, or otherwise just had a good experience in your app.
- The ideal process
The ideal way for many apps to best support their users and create a funnel for acquiring ratings and reviews is checking in periodically on the user’s experience. If there is an issue > funnel to support. If the user is happy with the app > ask for a review.
This has been the approach adopted by many of the mobile app review and user management services.