Last Updated: March 2023
App Store Optimization, or ASO for short, is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in the app store search results. It involves several factors, including keyword optimization, app title, description, and visual elements, such as icon and screenshots. However, app ratings and reviews also play a crucial role in ASO, influencing app discoverability, user engagement, and retention.
The Importance of App Ratings and Reviews
According to ASO expert Moritz Daan, CEO & Founder of Phiture, a Berlin-based mobile growth consultancy, app ratings and reviews are one of the most critical ASO elements. Here is what he had to say:
“App ratings and reviews are important for ASO because they are the most visible elements of an app’s social proof. They provide potential users with insights into the app’s functionality, usability, and overall user experience. Moreover, they influence app store algorithms, as high rating apps are more likely to rank higher than low rating ones. At the same time, negative reviews can harm an app’s reputation and decrease its chances of being downloaded.”
In other words, app ratings and reviews serve a dual purpose in ASO. On the one hand, they help users make informed decisions about whether to use or not an app by showcasing social proof. On the other hand, they signal to the app store algorithms that the app is popular and trustworthy, which increases its visibility and organic downloads.
How App Ratings and Reviews Affect ASO
Here are some ways in which app ratings and reviews impact ASO:
- Visibility: Apps with higher ratings and positive reviews are more likely to be featured in various app store sections, such as “Top charts,” “Editor’s choice,” or “Recommended for you.”
- Credibility: Apps that have many positive reviews and ratings signal to potential users that the app is trustworthy and of high quality. It enhances the app’s reputation and encourages more downloads and engagement.
- Retention: Apps with high user ratings and positive reviews have better retention rates, as users are more likely to return to the app and use it again. Conversely, apps with negative reviews and low ratings may suffer from low retention rates, resulting in fewer organic downloads in the long run.
Therefore, one of the main goals of app developers and marketers should be to encourage users to rate and review their apps positively. This can be achieved by various tactics, such as showing in-app prompts, sending push notifications, or offering incentives, such as in-app rewards or discounts.
Best Practices for App Ratings and Reviews
Based on industry insights and best practices, here are some tips for improving app ratings and reviews:
- Encourage feedback: Make it easy and convenient for users to rate and review your app by using in-app prompts or push notifications. However, don’t overdo it, and be respectful of users’ privacy and preferences.
- Respond to reviews: Show that you care about your users’ feedback by responding to their reviews, especially to negative ones. Address their concerns, offer solutions, and thank them for their feedback. It can turn a dissatisfied user into a loyal fan.
- Update and improve: Act on users’ feedback and make improvements to your app’s functionality, usability, and design. Make sure to communicate these updates in the app’s release notes and respond to users’ feedback accordingly.
- Create a community: Foster loyalty and engagement by creating an online community around your app, such as a social media group or a forum, where users can share their experiences, ask questions, and give feedback.
- Offer incentives: Encourage users to rate and review your app by offering them incentives, such as in-app rewards or discounts. However, make sure these incentives don’t violate the app store guidelines and don’t incentivize fake or misleading reviews.
App ratings and reviews are an essential aspect of ASO, influencing app visibility, credibility, and retention. Positive reviews and high ratings can enhance an app’s reputation and encourage more organic downloads, while negative feedback can harm an app’s image and reduce its chances of success. Therefore, app developers and marketers should prioritize getting positive reviews and ratings, encouraging feedback, responding to reviews, improving their app and creating a community, and offering incentives.
In conclusion, app ratings and reviews are critical for ASO and should not be overlooked. By optimizing these elements, app developers and marketers can increase their app’s visibility, attract more users, and enhance its reputation. Therefore, app ratings and reviews should be an essential part of any ASO strategy, and app developers should take proactive measures to get positive feedback from their users.