Reviews are a vital component of good app store optimization.
They are essential for improving your position in chart rankings, they help you come up higher in search results and with the overabundance of apps in the app store, they let a shopper know you are worth the download. They can make or break your app.
With reviews being such a vitally important aspect of your growth, managers and marketers can’t and shouldn’t stand by and just hope users will leave reviews. That’s not enough. You need to be proactive about them, treat them equally to every other aspect of your marketing plan and develop a growth strategy to optimize the number of positive reviews you are getting.
So let’s help you get started at building this strategy. We have three pointers here to talk about that should help your app become a 5 star collecting machine.
Don’t Wait, Ask
A common and detrimental trend among apps is that they work under the assumption that their users will leave a review under their own volition.
That a user will simply love your app and think “hey, I should write a 5 star review” without any prompt or encouragement.
This, of course, is the ideal situation. But, unfortunately, that’s not how the real world works. Just because you have a kick-ass app doesn’t mean your users feel compelled to write a review. In reality, very few of your users will review your app on their own. For the most part, it won’t even occur to them. In fact, the only time most users will write a review is when something goes wrong and they are unimpressed, leaving you with an avalanche of negative reviews.
You need to start asking customers to leave reviews. Using unassuming pop-ups that prompt them to review your app and make it incredibly simple to do so.
If we look at Weave, they have simple yet effective notifications that compel a user to write a review. It’s polite, unassuming and gently urges a user to write a “nice review”.
It’s simple yet effective.
Think About User Experience
Asking for reviews is only part of the strategy. You also have to think about timing. When should you be prompting your users for a review?
This is a delicate balance. For an app manager, you want as many reviews as possible, therefore will want to add a pop up when your user is most engaged. When they are in, using your app and seeing its value.
However, this can backfire. It’s true that midway through an attack in Game of War your players are going to be most engaged but if their play time is interrupted by an annoying popup, it’s unlikely they’ll want to give you a glowing review.
It’s vitally important that you consider your user’s experience and think about when your user will be least irritated and most receptive of reviewing your app.
Here is an example for gaming app Crossy Road.
They have smartly decided to let their users play uninterrupted and only prompt them for a review immediately after the game is finished. It doesn’t interfere with a user’s experience yet appears at a time when they are still engaged.
Find Peak Happiness Moments
One strategy that numerous apps operate by is showing the “Please Rate Us” prompt after a specific number of logins. When their customer is opening the app for the 3rd or 5th time they are automatically encouraged to review.
This may get you a couple of reviews but if you are trying to optimize your reviews, it’s a poor strategy. In fact in the long run it may irk your users more than get them writing 5 star declarations of love.
The marketers at Circa wrote about their negative experience with this tactic. They decided to plan their review popups after a user was in their app 10 times over the span of 3 days.
Interestingly they did see an increase in 5 star reviews but they also noticed a negative effect – people were complaining about the popups.
As the CEO Matt Gilligan explained “we started noticing something along the way: people were rating us poorly just because we asked for ratings.”
So what do you do instead?
To optimize your reviews, you have to be clever with your timing and reach out to customers when they are at a stage of peak happiness.
Peak happiness is a point where they are actively in, using your app and achieving a goal. It can be after completing a purchase, successfully created their first project, completed the first level or added a new friend, etc. You can decide where this is in your app but they should be at a stage where a customer is seeing the value of your app.
If we take the example of gaming app QuizUp. They have an abundance of opportunities to ask their players for reviews.
While progressing in the game, users are rewarded xp points and given rewards for achieving goals.
These achievements are the perfect stage to ask their users for a review. They are being active, and you are engaging them when they are showing the most interest in your app and are therefore most likely to write a 5 star review.
Use common sense, be nice and don’t be pushy
Getting reviews can be a difficult thing to achieve. Very few users instinctively want to write them. And even when you prompt them, it can misfire and get you a negative rating.
With reviews, you need to use some common sense. Don’t just put some pop-ups in at random times. Instead recognize when it’s appropriate and target your customers at these times. It’s the only way to not be pushy and ensure that some of your users will click on those coveted 5 stars.