Four Smart Ways to Get Your App Reviewed Gather feedback and improve your app

App Review | AppManager

When it comes to creating mobile apps, you know it takes more than a good product to be successful. For a new app, one of your most effective marketing strategies is App Store Optimization (ASO). Similar to SEO (search engine optimization) for websites, ASO is important for improving your app’s visibility in app stores’ search results and rankings. A key component of ASO is getting positive reviews. As with traditional marketing, reviews and opinions will influence a user’s decision to download your app or not. Reviews are also important because the more positive reviews you have, the higher your app store ranking will be. A high ranking is important not just for bragging rights – users are more likely to download the apps that are listed higher and therefore getting you more organic downloads. Getting more positive reviews is not easy, but here are four smart ways to help you out.

1. Pop-ups

Pop-ups are one of the original ways of asking for feedback. Any app user is likely familiar with the app review protocol with the answers “Yes” or “Remind Me Later.”

  • ✅ Pros: They are a quick way to ask for a review.
  • ❌ Cons: Many people find the pop-ups to be annoying and will ignore them. There have also been some changes around how pop-ups can be used in app stores. Apple, for example, limits the number of pop-ups you can show a user per year and requires you to use their API for in-store reviews. They have also added a functionality so that users can turn off pop-ups.
  • Tips for Effective Use: Timing is everything with pop-ups. To increase the likelihood of a response, wait until after the user has accessed the app a certain number of times and don’t overwhelm them with requests. Think about the events that let you conclude the user is enjoying your app. Then show the review prompt in the right moment. (e.g. specific level, feature usage, sharing dialogue)
app rating API from Apple
Example of the native rating popup on iOS

2. Instant Message

Good customer service is one of the best ways to get a good review. Even if there are issues, users are more likely to leave a positive review if you work with them to solve their problems in the app. Instant message (IM) platforms offer a way to engage with users, whether through chat functions or integrations that allow you to text users directly (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat etc.). After interacting and answering their questions, you can send them a link to review.

  • ✅ Pros: IM gives you direct contact with users, so you can understand and address their questions in real time.
  • ❌ Cons: This method can be more time consuming and expensive than other methods. There is no guarantee users will leave a review even after you’ve engaged them in IM.
  • Tips for Effective Use: Going beyond pre-populated forms and macros and providing customers with a custom experience is more likely to work in your favor. Be sure to give users a way to opt-out of this functionality so they don’t feel like you are too aggressive.

3. Integrated rating requests

Integrated rating requests are similar to pop-ups except they are tightly integrated into the app experience so as to be less annoying to users.

  • ✅ Pros: You can customize the display and requests so it is consistent with your brand and in-app experience and you can build conditions for when and where it should appear.
  • ❌ Cons: Some users may find these extra requests to be annoying. It may not offer the same level of customer engagement as other methods.
  • Tips for Effective Use: As with integrated requests, be strategic in when you display them to users. Waiting until the user uses the app a few times is more likely to garner a response. Also, avoid interrupting the user experience with your request. Circa News, for example, has been successful with this method. You can also use them to avoid negative ratings and direct those users to your customer support team or get valuable feedback about the app. 
Screenshot of rating requests
Integrated Ratings Requests in the circa news app

4. Directly Engage with Users

Another customer service-focused strategy involves directly engaging with users on app review platforms and comment sections on sites such as The Verge, AppAdvice and MacWorld as well as directly on the App Store and Google Play with developer responses.

  • ✅ Pros: This is a great opportunity for you to learn about your users and quickly answer any questions or concerns they have. (Hi there support team!)
  • ❌ Cons: It can be tricky to navigate a situation with an upset user.
  • Tips for Effective Use: Volume and tone are key considerations in this method. You don’t want to overwhelm users with so many responses and comments that they feel like they can’t speak freely about your app. You also want to be genuine and listen to their concerns. Getting defensive is a sure way to turn users off and may even result in more bad reviews. Be sure to thank any user who offers feedback.
App Store screenshot with replies to user reviews
Example of developer responses to reviews on the App Store

Best Strategy for You

While there are key principles of ASO that all app developers should follow, the individual strategies will vary by company. Target audience, app functionality, budget and more will shape your ASO. One thing all app companies need to do, in order to boost their odds of success, is to implement a comprehensive strategy for garnering more positive reviews. No matter what your strategy looks like, there are a number of tools and apps that can help you track your reviews. Many of these tools integrate with software such as Slack, Zendesk, Trello or Zapier to make review tracking a seamless part of your business. Popular apps that track reviews include:

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