Why Ratings and Reviews Matter in App Store Optimization
Ratings and reviews are simply a way for users to express their sentiment towards an app either rating it from 1 to 5 stars, being 5 the best rating, and writing a review on which users put into words what they like or dislike about it, or even ask for new features.
In the digital world that we currently live in it’s becoming more usual to buy products online, and ratings and reviews play a key role in almost all marketplaces and e-commerce. They are a component of “social proof” that the product is worth buying or downloading in this case, and therefore users will definitely take it into account. It’s easy to see that tendency in e-commerce like Amazon, but it’s getting more relevant than ever in other markets like app stores, too.
That being said, it is fair to say that ratings and reviews are a vital factor in any marketplace, as the number and quality of ratings and reviews influence the number of sales or downloads. To what extent? It is difficult to say, but a good average rating (above 4 stars) has proven to lead to a better Conversion Rate to download in the app stores, which makes an app more relevant and helps in terms of visibility. So, planning a good strategy to get more and better ratings and reviews is a must for any App Store Optimization strategy.
Well, we can definitely say that having ratings and reviews helps your position to be better than not having any. Needless to say that high ratings are better than low ones. So, let’s start working on them!
How do Ratings and Reviews Affect Conversion Rate to Download?
The most obvious reason, why your app’s rating in mobile stores matter is that a great rating and a bunch of positive reviews impresses potential users. And to be honest, who doesn’t want to be honored for great work? In fact, app store reviews and ratings can give your app a competitive edge.
Let’s take a look at this example. There are tons of apps ranking for the search term “QR Code Scanner”. Thus, you should not only optimize your keyword strategy but achieve a good rating through a presentable number of user feedback.
The number and average ratings, as well as the number of reviews, has a strong influence on how your app ranks in app store search results. Google for example just confirmed to further improve their algorithm to reward high-quality apps. That means strong engagement and retention metrics, as well as traditional measures like high star ratings, have an even stronger influence on an app’s appearance in Google Play Store than ever before.
As stated before, most of users check a game or app’s average rating before downloading. And if they do so with free apps, imagine when it comes to paid apps: the number increases. We can see the average ratings in search results in both app stores (Apple App Store and Google Play Store), so users will see them for sure.
Apptentive shared a report on which thousands of users were interviewed to know their opinion of ratings and reviews. Almost 80% check them and 4 of every 10 consider the reviews as important (or even more) as their friends’ opinion. And when it comes to the minimum acceptable average rating of mobile apps, here’s where they stand:
As we can see from this graph, apps that are rated 3 or less are hardly considered to download. In contrast, those that show 4 stars or more get all the acceptance, so we can conclude that you need to get to that mark in order to get a good Conversion Rate. The more and better ratings and reviews you have, the better users’ sentiment will be, and that will lead to more downloads. Tip: Improving Conversion Rate to Download means more downloads with the same amount of app store listing traffic… An epic win!
It’s important to mention that for iOS apps is possible to reset user ratings when a new version is released, so you can get a more accurate rating of your app if you have done significant changes. In Google Play this feature isn’t available, so it’s important to test everything you need to fix before releasing an update. Also, consider that a good design of your product page can translate into a chance to get featured on the app stores.
Another aspect worth mentioning is that the use of keywords in user reviews matters for Google Play Store Search rankings; as their presence help improve those keywords rankings.
Furthermore, games and apps in Google Play Store now show more detailed rating insights and highlighted user reviews.
Make yourself available
If you want to receive many user reviews, you should make it as easy as possible for the user to contact you or to leave a comment. Your contact should be everywhere, so as the user might send the feedback only to you. Make sure you have a support contact available in your app and on iTunes. For instance, on iTunes, next to “leave a review”, there is a “contact support” button, leave the right email there, and be sure to check the inbox frequently.
In your app description you should also include contact information, it can be even from social media profiles. Another possibility is to create a landing page for support where you can add the link on your app page. Within your app, you must have a part dedicated only for contact information. It’s important for the user to know where to find you.
Ratings and Reviews are a key aspect for any ASO strategy, as it has been shown that they impact Search Visibility, Conversion Rate to Download and the possibility of being featured on the app stores.