App reviews and ratings play an important part in the success of your mobile apps. On one hand they influence a user in downloading an app, and on the other hand they serve as metadata for the app store ranking algorithms.
Reviews and ratings are a very strong signal for us on Google Play
– Ankit Jain, Google Play
Effect of ratings and reviews on App Store rankings after inclusion of ratings and reviews as a factor:
Image Source : FIKSU
Many apps prefer intrusive and dark patterns for getting more reviews. Some of these review prompts made John Gruber of Daring Fireball made the following statement:
“I’ve long considered a public campaign against this particular practice, wherein I’d encourage Daring Fireball readers, whenever they encounter these “Please rate this app” prompts, to go ahead and take the time to do it — but to rate the app with just one star and to leave a review along the lines of, “One star for annoying me with a prompt to review the app.”
While, we understand that asking for reviews is quite contextual, but we can certainly draw some generalized conclusions that can help. With this post, we bring you some proven methods to increase positive app ratings.
Asking for reviews within the app
Request politely, be clear -When you know that ratings are crucial for your app business, you can ask users to rate your app with an extremely polite language. A message like this could be extremely helpful “Hey, like you we hate rate App prompts, but our business relies on your reviews. Help us making more cool applications by rating us on App store”
There is a way and a language to appeal to someone to rate their apps, and it needs to be effective.
Wil Shipley mentions this on his blog:
“Developers have never been waiters”- They don’t know that if they go to a table and say “Hey, I’d really appreciate it if you guys would tip me 20% but also you can’t do it here — Can you stop eating for a minute, come back out again, and give me a tip now, before your meal is over”.
Do not ask at launch – Yes, this should be your last choice.
Asking for reviews is like asking for a favor, which ideally follows the same unspoken social rules of reciprocity. Anyone would love to return a favor, if he or she gets some value out of it.
Chances are that your app might get a bad rating, or worse, one-star-uninstall-rating.
Flower Garden developer Noel Llopis, who constantly manages to get good ratings in app store advices against prompting users when they launch it for the first time.
“First of all, you should never ask the user to rate the first time they launch it.”
Don’t bother users when they in middle of something – This not only results in a bad user experience, it also hampers task completion. These prompts sometimes prevent tasks from getting completed. Many users don’t expect such prompts to show up when they are working, they often end up tapping the modal dialogue and are redirected to the app store. This is a nightmare in terms of interaction design.
Cloudmagic easily prevents that from happening, they instead gently nudge users without blocking them from what they are doing.
Image Source : CloudMagic
Choose your moment carefully – Don’t simply rely on metrics like ask for reviews after 3 days or a week, go for more quality metrics like “the number of times your app has been opened”. Your chances of getting good reviews increases in this way. More specifically, ratings should be only asked for when certain conditions are met.
Tom Tasche’s app ratings skyrocketed after he planned his prompted after user performed certain things.
Flower Garden further enriched their approach of requesting app reviews, and adds an extra condition of launching it X number of times before asking for reviews.
Here are the results :
Image Source : Gamesfromwithin
See how Matthijs Hoekstra achieved rating/download ratio of 1:10 by prompting after 5 time user opens the app.
“The trick I use is to ask a user to review my app after the 5th time they startup the app. I make it super easy to review the app and the idea is, why would somebody who doesn’t like your app start it for the 5th time, so WHEN the users startup your app for the 5th time the chances are pretty good they like to use your app anyway, so they probably would rate the app high as well.”
Ask for reviews when something rewarding has happened. Happy users are more likely to leave a positive review. Situations that you can utilize for app review prompts are: When a user hits a new milestone, completes a purchase, or uses a coupon to get discount, etc
Circa News mentions how HotelTonight requests app ratings when something awarding has happened:
“Apps like HotelTonight ask for a rating after you’ve had a successful experience in booking a room.”
Integrate app review option in your user interface – This is probably the most user friendly way to request app reviews. Although, this does not gets much attention, but it certainly helps you in getting positive app ratings.
iKU doesn’t sidetracks the users, it rather has a button for the user to rate the app :
Image Source : Twobitslabs
A little modification in the way of asking could help a lot in getting more positive app reviews.
Rather than asking user to go and review your app on the appstore, you can ask them if they are “happy” or “unhappy” or incase they “need help”. If the user is happy, you can redirect him to app store, otherwise you can redirect the user to customer service and support. The latter ensures that only those users who are happy with your service are reviewing it on appstore.
This effectively deals with the following situations:
- Users who rate your app one star just because it does not have a particular feature.
- iOS does not allows users to contact developers. So, bug fix requests frequently appear in form of a “one star rating”.
The modifications are infact a dark pattern to filter the reviews, but they genuinely help remove the disengagement resulting from app store. Below are two examples of such prompts.
Image Source : Marketingnonsense
Image Source : Worldofsearch
Asking for reviews outside of the application
It is one of the most effective ways of asking for reviews. Update notes, Social media, blog posts, and the email threads are the best places to ask for reviews. Asking this way is quite effective and non-intrusive.
Twitter even has a hashtag that originated from this initiative #Ratefriday.
Image Source : SuperTop
- Games from Within: https://gamesfromwithin.com/increase-your-app-ratings-on-the-app-store
- Daring Fireball: https://daringfireball.net/linked/2013/12/05/eff-your-review
- Circa: https://medium.com/circa/the-right-way-to-ask-users-to-review-your-app-9a32fd604fca
- Marketing Nonsense: https://www.marketingnonsense.com/2012/04/how-to-increase-app-reviews-and-ratings.html
- World of Search: https://www.worldofsearch.io/aso/aso-case-study-the-effect-of-ratings-on-search-rankings/
- Super Top blog: https://blog.supertop.co/post/77962740329/the-effective-way-to-ask-for-an-app-review
- Two Bits Lab: https://twobitlabs.com/2012/05/toward-a-better-rate-this-app/
- Matthij’s Blog: https://matthijs.hoekstraonline.net/2013/01/12/how-to-increase-your-windows-phone-app-ratings/