App Store Optimization Blog – Metrikal

How Negative App Reviews Affect App Store Optimization (ASO)

Negative reviews for your app can be difficult to accept and even manage. The last thing you want to read when you wake up in the morning would be negative reviews. 

However, did you know there are more reasons for you to avoid negative reviews than you first thought? 

There’s a strong correlation between negative app reviews and ASO (App Store Optimization). In fact, app reviews play a huge factor in the success of your ASO effort and your app as a whole.

In this post, we’ll take a look at how negative reviews can affect your app store optimization (ASO) results.

Example of ratings and reviews in Google Play Store.

What are app reviews?

Before we jump into the effects of negative reviews, we must first understand what app reviews are.

Think of app reviews as a way for your users to express their thoughts about your app. Their ratings and reviews reflect how satisfied and happy they are or vice versa.

Simply put: app reviews reflect your user’s experience.

Example of ratings and reviews in Apple App Store.

Users can either give you ratings or reviews:

Ratings are given from 1 to 5 where 1 stands for the least satisfied and 5 stands for the most satisfied. Aside from ratings, users can also comment about your app by giving a review. When your users give their ratings, they have the option to give feedback.

App stores typically display your app rating on your product page and search results. App ratings play a huge role in the decision-making of users. Thus, app stores make sure that users easily see the app rating.

Undoubtedly, negative reviews are directly related to low ratings. For this reason, it’s worth knowing the 14 ways to improve app store ratings and reviews.

What is app store optimization (ASO)?

ASO is the process of increasing an app’s ranking and visibility primarily in app stores. Statistically speaking, the higher the ranking of your app is, the more people will download, install, and use your product. With more users, your chance of earning and attaining your business or personal goals also increases.

To perform ASO effectively, there are a lot of things you need to improve. These include, but not limited to, your app title, description, screenshots, promotional videos, target keywords, and of course, app reviews.

Now, ASO is a huge topic. If you’re a beginner or you want to obtain more information about ASO, the following blogs should help:

By reading any of these blogs, you should then have a deeper and more detailed understanding of what ASO is.

5 ways how negative reviews affect app store optimization

Now, we come to the core of our discussion. Every time you receive negative reviews, it affects your app store optimization (ASO) effort. But the question is, “How?”

Let’s get down to the answers below:

  1. Negative reviews come with low ratings

If a user gives you a low rating, that same user would most likely leave a negative review as well.

As a result, apps with a lot of negative reviews would also receive a low overall rating. These apps may have an average of 1-star, 2-star, or at best, 3-star ratings.

So, when you have dismal ratings, it is not surprising to see that the app’s ASO would also be affected.

It is easier to run a successful ASO if you have high ratings. The reverse is also true; the lower your app rating is, the more difficult it is to see successful results with your ASO efforts.

  1. Users don’t like negative reviews

Negative reviews lead to low ratings and low ratings lead to fewer downloads.


Because people base their decisions on what other people are saying. That is just part of our natural herd mentality as human beings.

Statistics about how reviews affect user’s decision-making.

Check out these numbers from Apptentive’s consumer survey:

  • 77% of respondents read at least one review before downloading a free app.
  • 80% of respondents read at least one review before downloading a paid app.
  • 55% of respondents said that they negatively perceive an app with 1 or 2-star ratings.
  • 77% of respondents said that they positively perceive an app with 4 or 5-star ratings.
  • Conversion rate increases by 306% when the rating of an app is increased from two stars to three stars. 
  • Conversion rate increases by 90% when the rating of an app is increased from three stars to four stars.
  • 90% of respondents say that they consider app ratings and reviews every time they are looking for a new app.

It is not difficult to see that you, as a user, would most likely choose an app with higher ratings and more positive reviews.

As you can see, ratings are not simply badges. Reviews are not simply testimonials. Both play a huge role in either pulling down or pulling up your conversion rate.

  1. App stores prefer top-rated apps

Apple App Store and Google Play Store (the biggest app stores today) both award top-rated apps in their platform. Of course, this is only natural and to be expected. After all, users look for the best apps, and usually, the best apps have the highest ratings.

Screenshot of the featured apps in the Google Play Store.

With this in mind, Google Play Store features various apps in their “Top free apps”, “Top paid apps”, “Top grossing apps”, “Top free games”, Top paid games”, and “Top grossing games”.

And guess which apps they feature on those lists — yes, that’s right, the apps with good ratings.

In the same manner, the App Store also releases the annual “Best of” list in which you’ll also find Apple’s top-rated apps.

Not only that but in most cases, app search results display the apps with the highest ratings first. Even if you are only exploring the app stores, you can readily see highly-rated apps more than apps will low ratings.

  1. Play Store checks keywords in reviews

Play Store is owned by Google, the largest search engine on the Internet today. Google specializes in using keywords to provide relevant search results.

Unsurprisingly, Google combs through your app’s reviews to find relevant keywords to determine your ranking. In short, the keywords found in your reviews affect your app’s visibility.

Here’s something to bear in mind: negative reviews negatively affect your keyword ranking. 

Even if you have relevant keywords in your reviews, if they are negative in nature, it can’t increase your app ranking. Negative reviews send a bad signal to Google. Instead of ranking higher for that certain keyword, it may pull you down because of the unfavorable review.

  1. App stores consider the number of ratings you receive

Both App Store and Play Store favor apps with a lot of ratings. The more ratings you have, the higher your chance of getting featured.

The number of customer ratings and reviews affect app ranking.

For instance, you have two apps with 5-star ratings. The difference is that the first app has 10,000 customer reviews and the other only has 100. App stores would give the first app better visibility over the second app.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that if you have a lot of customer reviews, you will automatically get featured. App stores would still consider whether those reviews are positive or negative. Thus, even if you have a lot of reviews, but most of them are negative, it can hold back your app from succeeding.

Negative app reviews and ASO

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that app reviews do really affect ASO. 

To sum it all up, bad reviews lead to low ratings; and the low ratings lead to fewer downloads; then fewer downloads lead to a decreased chance of getting featured in the app store; not getting featured leads to lower app ranking; and lower app ranking leads to lower visibility.

All these play a major role in killing your ASO.

How bad reviews could affect the overall ranking of an app

Aim for positive reviews

No one wants to receive negative reviews. Nevertheless, look at negative reviews as an opportunity to improve your app. Take note of the pain points of your users. From there, you can quickly make the necessary changes. With the right modifications, you might as well turn negative reviews into positive reviews.

Always put your users in mind in every decision you make in your ASO.

Aside from that, be sure to ask for reviews from your satisfied customers. In some cases, they are the “silent majority.” You just need to tap this rich source of positive reviews by offering rewards and incentives.

For more details, be sure to read our article about how to improve your reviews and ratings.

In summary

Yes, negative reviews affect your ASO. When you keep on receiving negative reviews, it decreases your average rating and your chance of getting downloaded by other potential users.

So, be sure to put your users in the center when you make a decision. They are the ones who decide whether your app will be successful or not.

Try Metrikal for 14 days!

No credit card required!

Start free trial
Exit mobile version