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Getting 5 Star Ratings for Your App: A Smart Guide

Updated on October 1, 2015

Getting 5 star ratings for your app – Isn’t it the holy grail of app marketing? If you’ve built a decent app that effectively delivers a core experience around users’ need, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get high ratings and raving reviews on it. But it’s not as much about stars as it’s about leveraging the users’ feedback to improve your app experience. Here’s a smart guide to get good ratings and reviews and using bad ones to improvise further.

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Mind the Rating: It Matters

If you look at the top apps on the store - Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat – you might note, they also happen to be the best rated apps in their genres. It can’t be a coincidence. Right? Deciphering the algorithm behind app store ranking is tricky. But one thing is certain, ratings and reviews of an app play a key role in ranking algorithms. Highly rated apps secure higher ranking on the app store and show better discoverability.

Rating Prompts: Getting it Right

Ask and you shall receive. When it comes to getting the users to rate and review your app, it’s not that simple! Sound too desperate and you might get a review like this – “For bugging me with repetitive rating prompts, you get one star. Happy?” Or picture this. You are in a restaurant. The waiter comes at your table with your order and asks you how’s the food, even before you’ve tasted it. That’s how users feel when your timing is not right. Timing is crucial both in terms of ‘when’ and ‘how frequent’. A smart thing to do is wait for a week after they download your app. If they still have your app on their screen after a week, chances are, they already like it. It increases your app’s likelihood of getting higher ratings.

Getting the prompt message right is a bit like proposing. You get too modest, you lose; you get too pushy, you lose. You ask too soon, you lose; you ask too late, you lose. The key to winning is to hit them at the right time with the right message.

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Incentivize Rating: Win-Win Scenario

Rating prompts are like uninvited guests. No matter how nicely they dress up, no one welcomes them. But if they bring gifts – The whole perception changes – Party hosts take a note and say ‘Hi’. That’s incentivizing! There’s a huge difference between ‘Rate us now’ and ‘Rate us now and get a free coupon’ Contrary to what some of you might think, incentivizing doesn’t always imply monetary offers. Depending on your app, you can always get creative - If it’s a game app, offer to unlock a feature or give them extra points for rating your app.

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Get Your App Loved: Listen

Remember, behind every one user who speaks out his mind through ratings and reviews, there are five more who silently walked away from your app. If you really want your app to be loved, then follow the first rule of love – Listen.

No matter how awesome your app is, there will be reviews – good, bad and ugly. The important thing is not to let the good ones get over your head or the ugly ones to weigh you down. When users crib, don’t close yourself or get defensive. Be fair and objective and pay close attention to the reviews, even the ugly ones - especially the ugly ones. When the users discover, the brand actually gives a weightage to their opinion, it changes the whole dynamics. Getting good reviews is not as important as leveraging bad reviews to improvise. So, reach out to users and be open to their feedback – Both positive and negative. Bugs, crashes or just a cluttered UI – there's nothing that can't be fixed.

Updating your app in response to users’ feedback helps you build a loyal community, improve the user experience and drive more downloads. Choose an app builder that comes with built-in CMS enabling you to make unlimited updates to your app.

Negative Reviews: Handle with Care

As humans, we all find it easier to complaint than appreciate. Users who love your app to the hilt are less likely to rate you than the ones who just hate it! But you can’t afford a negative review on the app store. Can you? One smart way to keep a check on negative reviews is to have a robust support channel. A support channel will shift your users’ focus from spewing negative reviews to getting the issue solved.

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Stop REacting, Start PROacting

Before you even set out to launch your app, show it to your family and friends; colleagues and acquaintances. Having geeky friends will be an added advantage. Ask them for honest feedback. Start improvising your app in incremental steps and win them back. Also, make sure the elements are correctly aligned and displayed on different devices, be it a tablet, phablet or smartphone. Choose an app builder that features pre-launch on-device trial.

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