App Store Optimization – The Power of Good App Reviews


App Store Optimization – The Power of Good App Reviews

March 11, 2021

Standing out in a sea of app store options is a daunting task. However, the easiest way to boost your presence is also the most overlooked. This is where app reviews come into play. When it comes to App Store Optimization (ASO) activities, many app publishers only pay attention to optimizing their app’s listing at the expense of another essential facet of ASO – user reviews and ratings, which have a direct impact on your app’s organic search ranking within the app stores. Both Google Play and Apple’s App Store boost the rankings of apps based on the following:  1) the amount of app ratings; 2) the average rating of your app; and 3) the amount of user reviews your app has received.  

Keep reading for some proven (and easy-to-implement) strategies on how to boost your app store ranking with positive ratings and reviews.  

App Store Optimization is More Than a Beauty Contest

Regardless of how your app store listing looks, the vast majority of users are going to check the ratings and reviews before downloading your app. The graphic below from shows the percentage of users who check ratings and reviews before taking app-based action.

Even though mobile has replaced many things in our world, the power of word-of-mouth marketing isn’t one of them. Consumers are more well informed now than ever before and demand peer validation before taking action – whether that be a purchase decision or an app download.  Apptentive’s recent survey indicates that 4 out of 10 users consider reviews as equally or even more trustworthy than the opinion of their friends. It boils down to a simple fact of human nature: People trust others that have “been there, done that.”   Did you know that if your app has a rating between one and three stars, the chances of a user downloading it drops by 50 percent!

The Vital Connection Between App Rankings and App Reviews

Just because each app store has its own special sauce when it comes to how apps rank in organic searches, doesn’t mean you can’t take meaningful action across all platforms to boost the organic ranking and the rating of your app. What many app developers fail to realize is that your app ranking is tied into your reviews. Have only a handful of reviews but they’re all negative? Then your app will rank lower and be shown less often in the store. Have hundreds of positive reviews with responses? Then you’re more likely to be seen by users while browsing the store. Sounds too easy, right? It isn’t! Keep reading to learn why reviews matter so much. 

Did you know that more than 37% of users who leave a review will come back to increase their rating if you respond to them? That could easily lead to an increase in your average app rating by +1 stars. That’s enough to move your app higher in the app stores and increase your organic downloads.  CMO of Moovit, Alex Mackenzie-Torres said “Responding to users on Google Play is one of our favorite ways to improve store ratings. With one-to-one customer service, we typically find the underlying reason for 1-star and 2-star reviews, resolve it with the user, and ask them to revise their rating. The result is a higher rating, and more importantly, an active and happy user.”

How Responding to App Store Reviews Will Set Your App Apart

Why Respond? Listen, we know responding to all the reviews your app receives isn’t always the easiest or most glamorous work, but it is critical. Not only does it make your users feel understood and heard, it sets you apart from your app store competition.

Ninety seven percent of Google Play app reviews go unanswered! Feeling ignored, especially if they are experiencing an issue, is one of the fastest ways to turn users off from your app. Now we know every app launch will have issues, that’s a given. However, making sure your team is ready and willing to respond to users is the key to turning those 1-star ratings into 4- and 5- star ratings. Keep in mind it isn’t enough to respond, you have to respond in a timely manner. Turning the low ratings into high ones will take time and consistent action on your part. The faster you can respond to your user base the happier they will be. Happy users that feel “heard” will have a direct impact on your app’s rating and ranking in organic app store search results, and could even motivate your users to act as brand advocates for your app. Again, the power of word-of-mouth promotion at work.

Crowd-sourced Customer Support – Another Benefit of Responding to App Reviews

Responding to reviews also helps you in the long run. If you have a user experiencing a problem, there are probably more users having the exact same problem. By responding to one user, you are creating a way for customers to troubleshoot and solve would-be support issues on their own. Not only does this cut down on work for your support team it also can help to prevent multiple negative reviews on the same issue.

All of this works together to help create a positive feedback loop. Your customers feel heard and will appreciate your response. In return, they will be more likely to self-service, less likely to leave a negative review, more likely to recommend your app to friends and family, and more likely to use the app on a consistent basis.

Want to learn more about Mobile App Strategy? Check out the other blogs we have published on the topic: