14 Ways to Improve App Store Rating and Reviews18 min read

by Cihan Ilter

The App Store rating and reviews play a major role in the success of your app. In fact, as social beings, users will readily download and use an app if they see it has high ratings and positive reviews.

You see, one of the strongest triggers that could cause a person to buy something is social proofs. It is no wonder then that marketers use testimonials, ratings and reviews to convince people in choosing them. 

Thus, in this article, we want to know: how can I improve my app store rating and reviews? That’s exactly what we are going to discuss today.

Here are powerful, effective, and surefire ways to ensure your app store review and ratings would contribute to your app’s success!

What are App Ratings?

The App Store rating ranges from one to five stars. Users are given the opportunity to rate your app between one and five stars, one representing the lowest rating and five as the highest rating. Generally speaking, the happier and more satisfied a user is with your app, the higher the rating they will give you.

Image of ratings in Apple App Store

In the Apple App Store, the summary rating is displayed in search results and the app store page. It is worth noting that the summary rating is specific to each territory on the App Store. 

Resetting app ratings

Did you know, as the app admin, you can reset your app ratings? Yes, that’s right. Apple App Store gives you the chance to reset your ratings when you release a new app version. This can be useful when you want to start all over again or only reflect ratings about your new app version. 

However, it is highly recommended that you only use this feature when you really need to. One reason is that if you have only a few to no ratings, then users might not download your app anymore. 

Another reason is that app updates usually are done to address existing user concerns. Thus, if you reset your app rating, you lose the chance to show other users that you actively monitor app reviews and ratings, create solutions to any issues.

Users can leave ratings on the Apple App Store page using their device. Ratings can be done for tvOS, macOS, iPadOS, and iOS apps. For watchOS, they can rate your app on their iOS device.

Please note that if you reset your summary rating, the written reviews would still remain.

What are App Store Reviews?

The Apple app store review is different from ratings. While both are done simultaneously, the app review is more like written feedback of users about their experience when using your app.

Image of how app store reviews appear on the Apple App Store

After your user gives you a rating, they can then give written reviews to explain further why they gave you that rating.

App Store reviews are super helpful, whether they are positive or negative. Through feedback or written reviews, you can determine the strengths and weaknesses of your app.

What is the Importance of Apps Rating and Reviews?

It is no secret in marketing that ratings and reviews play a vital role in determining the number of people who will use and buy your products or services. The same is true in the Apple App Store. App Store reviews and ratings help users to decide whether they will use your app or not. It’s also affecting your mobile app rankings.

Here are some of the reasons why you should invest time, energy, and resources in managing app store ratings and reviews:

a. Increase app store traffic

Like what was mentioned above, when a user searches for apps in the App Store, search results would display not just the name of your app, but also a summary rating. Users can instantly see how many stars your app has.

Naturally, the more stars your app has, the more people would be curious and convinced to check your app. This leads to more people visiting your app store page.

Here’s what you need to take note of: both Apple and Google tend to feature apps with higher ratings and hide apps with lower ratings. Thus, the quality and quantity of your ratings have a direct impact on your app’s keyword rankings

For example, think about two similar apps. One app has higher star ratings but the other app has lower star ratings. When a user searches for a particular app, the app with a higher rating would appear first or above the other apps with lower ratings. 

All in all, ratings can either make or break your keyword rankings. So, if you want to rank higher for a particular keyword, you need to give your ratings and feedback much attention. Obviously, the higher your ratings are and the more positive the feedback you receive, the more organic traffic you will receive.

You can also check our another post about improving app rankings.

b. Increase your conversion rate

An open laptop showing graphs and numbers

It is not enough to simply cause your users to view your app store page, correct? You would need to convince them to download your app, too.

So, how do you do it? It can be done through the app ratings and reviews.

When they see that you have a lot of positive reviews and high ratings, then it is more likely that they will download your app.

It is no secret that if your competitors have higher ratings than yours, users will more likely ignore your app. They would readily choose your competitors’ apps with better ratings and reviews.

Thus, as you can see, the more positive apps rating and reviews you have, the more your conversion rate would increase.

c. Improve your brand image

An Apple laptop with different stickers of various brands and images

When people think about your app, do they see it in a positive light or negative light? We hope it would be the former, right?

That’s why it is important to manage your ratings and reviews. If you have a lot of negative reviews, what would that tell your existing and potential customers about your brand? Obviously, they would not be interested in the services and products you offer.

However, if you have a lot of positive reviews, then it would follow that you will also have a more professional and reliable brand.

d. Build rapport and trust

One of the best ways that users can interact with you is through their reviews. By leaving a review, they are telling you what they think about your app. This gives you an avenue to reply and talk to your users.

With positive app reviews, you can always express your gratitude to them. With negative reviews, you can always get back to users, express your willingness to check the issue, and eventually improve your app.

How to improve your App Store rating and reviews

Now that we know what ratings and reviews are and the importance of managing them, it is time to learn how to improve them. Here are the 14 best tips to remember.

Four tips on how to improve app rating and review

1. Create the best app to get more rating and reviews

The features and functionalities of your app would primarily determine whether users would be happy or not. When your app meets the needs and preferences of your users, you can almost be sure that they will give you a high rating and positive review. 

On the other hand, if your app sucks, then you will not only see your uninstall rate soaring to the roof, but you’ll also receive a lot of negative feedback.

So, the first thing you need to do when managing your ratings and reviews is to start with your app first. Make sure it is bug-free. It doesn’t crash and it has the features that your users need.

2. Don’t buy reviews

If you have the money and you know the importance of reviews, then why not buy them, right? Well, not too fast. You should think twice before doing it.

For one, buying reviews is considered a blackhat app store optimization (ASO) strategy. Blackhat means that you are trying to take advantage of a loophole in the rulebook and sometimes, it is a direct way of breaking the rules. When you buy reviews, you are taking a huge risk.

If you get caught, you can be penalized or banned from the App Store. So, it’s better to gather ratings and reviews the natural way.

So, how do you do that? Read the next point.

3. Ask for rating and reviews

As they say, “Ask and it shall be given to you.” Who knows, all you need is simply ask and they will really give you your much-needed review.

The problem is sometimes, people would readily give you bad comments, but not good ones. That’s why asking is very important and effective in gathering positive reviews. 

So, don’t be shy. Ask. Who knows, all your users need is just a simple push and they will readily give you nice reviews and ratings.

4. Use great timing

A person holding a smartphone and typing something

Think about it, if someone calls you in the middle of the night for no reason at all, you would either be grumpy when you answer the call or you simply ignore your ringing phone.

In the same way, perfect timing is important when asking for reviews. Never ask for reviews when your user is in the middle of a game or when they are actively using the app. 

Instead, ask for reviews when they have just completed a level, task, or action. Just make sure you don’t interrupt their app activities. 

Moreover, make a request during a time when you feel your user is most likely happy and satisfied. Don’t ask for a review when they just started using your app.

Most importantly, don’t be too demanding. They will give you ratings when they are ready. You don’t have to bother them with review requests every now and then.

5. Use the SKStoreReviewController API

Image of iPhones showing how SKStoreReviewController API works

The SKStoreReviewController API is an awesome way to request app store ratings and reviews with certain codes. There are different codes for different purposes.

For example, you can use the “requestReview()” method to tell the app store when is the best time to ask a review from your user. That’s one example and depending on what you want to accomplish, you can choose from a list of other codes.

The best thing about SKStoreReviewController API is that it will allow your users to submit ratings without even leaving your app. Moreover, this is Apple’s own way to request for ratings and feedback. So, you can be sure that it is approved by Apple.

Lastly, please note that SKStoreReviewController API enables you to only prompt up to three times in a 365-day period for a review.

6. Display your support contact information

It is super important that you let your users know how to contact you. Not only that, but you should also encourage them to get in touch with you when they experience some glitch or difficulties in your app. This saves you a lot of bad ratings, too. 

Instead of users expressing their dismay on your app review, you give them a chance to contact you first.

Your contact information should be displayed on your App Store product page. It should easily be seen and found.

7. Respond to users’ feedback

Image of a sample review from Apple app store and how it appears on the developer's side

Users love it when they know they are being heard. You can do this when you respond to them. It is not enough to simply receive feedback, you need to give a response regardless they left a positive or negative review.

A simple “thank you” and acknowledgment for positive reviews would go a long way. For negative reviews, you can always assure your user that you are looking into their issue and constantly improving your app.

8. Aim to change negative rating and reviews

When you get a negative review, it isn’t the end of the world yet for you. In fact, you can do something to convince users to turn their negative comments into positive ones.

Here’s how. 

Responding to your user can be done in the App Store Connect page. The best thing about this is that every time you respond to your users, they will get a notification. So, if you are able to address their concern and solve them, your user can change their initial comment based on the action you took.

This is a great opportunity for you to convert irate users into satisfied users. When that happens, they may even change their mind and give you a better rating and reviews.

In the App Store Connect, you can also update your response. The latest version of your response would be displayed instead of the old one.

9. Respond reviews properly

It is not enough to just give any response, but you need to give a proper response.

What this means is that your response should be clear and concise. Stop beating around the bush. Directly address your user’s issue and provide immediate solutions.

Here’s an example from the OK Live app. A user gave them a 1-star rating. Here’s the feedback from a user name jgsffgv:

I think this is a vary bad app because people keep saying inappropriate things that are scaring us and that is not ok. There are so many people that are scaring us and I think that is not ok. I think this app could of been a good app but I think you ruined it and that is just not ok. And there are so many people that we had to block. Over all this is not a good app.

Now, that’s not good feedback, but it is a good opportunity for Ok Live to give more details about their app. Here’s their response:

Hello! We’re against distribution of any inappropriate content on our app. You can help us to fight that. If you detect any violations, please contact us via e-mail at live@ok.ru and report them. 

Not all feedback OK Live received are bad. There are also good. Notice how they responded:

Rylan135 comment:

I have met many new friends on OK Live. The people are nice and make me feel like a member of the community. Everyone is allowed to xpress their talents. Sometimes people act inappropriate but it doesn’t happen a lot. They act that way then go. I think this is the best app ever and I rate it 5 stars. I like the karaoke to.

OK Live Customer Support Team response:

Hello and thank you for your feedback! If you have any suggestions or remarks on how our app can be improved, please share them. We wish you a pleasant time on our app. 

Remember to be respectful and professional in your responses. Don’t include marketing languages, personal information, and spammy comments. Avoid arguing, instead, be courteous and patient as much as possible.

Strive to be friendly and use a tone that represents your overall brand. Personalize your review response as much as possible and avoid using canned or templated spiel. 

If possible, use their name when addressing them. This way, your user would feel that you are not simply treating them like some kind of a faceless commodity, but rather you see your user as a real human being who needs your attention.

10. Prioritize your most urgent users

Now, there are times when you can’t keep up with the many reviews you receive. In this case, prioritize users who have given you the lowest feedback and those reviews that have something to do with your app’s performance. Positive reviews can wait, but don’t ignore them altogether. What we are saying here is learn to prioritize and attend to the most urgent concern. 

Once you have released a new app update, make sure to tell users you have fixed the issue they have raised. Again, this is a great strategy to convince users to change their given app store rating and reviews and let other users see that you are indeed concerned for all your users no matter what their issue may be.

Finally, respond to your users as soon as possible. This way, you get to talk to your users when they are most engaged. If you want to get notified every time you get a review, you can do so by setting up email alerts in the App Store Connect and then go to the Users and Roles section. 

11. Report users App Store rating and reviews

To make it fair, Apple gives users the opportunity to report users especially when their review contains spam, offensive materials, and other content that may have violated Apple’s Terms and conditions.

Instead of replying to the review, you can report it by using the “Report a Concern” option. This is found under the review section in the App Store Connect. 

12. Hold a contest

Holding a contest won’t be just fun for your users, but it will also be a great way to improve your app reviews and ratings. Contests can be anything. One good example would be to ask your users to share your app with their friends and they’ll get one raffle entry every time they do. Announce when the contest would start and end and when the winners would be determined.

13. Get featured

Images of Apples App Store showing different featured apps

To get more app rating and reviews, you need to get more users. So, how do you get more people to download and use your app? One best way is to get featured by an influencer or a popular website. This may cost you a few dollars, but it should all be worth it by the time you get a continuous stream of users who would gladly give you high ratings.

14. Keep improving your app

It’s not enough to simply create an app and you leave it as it is. Like a child, you need to nurture it. In short, constant improvement is a must.

Remember, the iOS is regularly updated and so, your app needs to update too to ensure it remains compatible with the new iOS version. 

Moreover, your app might miss a few features and functionalities that you haven’t initially thought of. You can improve your app by including these features as you discover more ways to make your app more useful to your target users.

Finally, improving your app allows you to gain a more positive rating and reviews. When your app is always up to date, does not crash, and operates effectively, then you don’t just get higher ratings, but also new users.

How can you improve mobile app ratings?

These are just some of the best ways for you to improve your apps rating and reviews. Yes, it takes a lot of work, but this should be the type of work you are willing to take if you want to succeed in the Apple App Store.

One final word: in everything you do, keep your users in mind. 

When you genuinely care for them and do your best to create an app that would solve their problem, then the positive ratings and reviews would simply come and you don’t have to ask for them. You don’t really need to beg for it as people would naturally support your app because you have also been supporting them.

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