5 Trends In Working With App Reviews in 2019

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Mary Kulikova
5 Trends In Working With App Reviews in 2019

Table of Content:

  1. The most loyal users are from North and South America
  2. More review replies increase user activity in app stores by 9 times
  3. Google Play users who receive a reply change their ratings to a higher score more often
  4. App Store users who don't receive a reply often lower their ratings
  5. Users are 3 times more likely to increase their rating after receiving a reply
  6. Bonus: replying through helpdesk services helps increase your support team's productivity three-fold
  7. How to measure performance

App developers often don't work with app store reviews because they either don't see the point in doing so or don't know how to measure their performance. We examined what you can impact when working with reviews by analyzing the changes in 3.5 million reviews for major e-commerce and service apps in the App Store and Google Play. These are apps whose sales and subscriptions are driven by user opinion. The trends we've revealed will help you do a better job at guiding user opinion, evaluating your support team's performance, and adjusting the way they work.

1. The most loyal users are from North and South America

Users in North and South America have an outsized impact on driving ratings down if their review is ignored. These regions are highlighted in dark red in the maps below. In the App Store, these users decrease ratings by up to 0.042 stars after an ignored review. However, after they receive a reply from developers, they add an average of 1 star to an app's rating (dark green on the map) The opposite is true of users in Asia and Europe. Even after receiving a response, they only increase ratings by 0.3 stars (light green).

The friendliest users are from Oceania. They may be few in number, but they don't drop ratings if they don't receive a reply to their review and increase ratings by 1.5 stars after getting a response.

Google Play

Google Play global loyalty trend map

App Store

Appstore global loyalty trend map

2. More review replies increase user activity in app stores by 9 times

As soon as developers start replying to reviews, users begin to come back more often after receiving a response. Subscriptions from these same users aren't solely responsible for the overall growth in the number of reviews. When silent users see that a developer is active, they also decide to speak their minds. Responding to reviews is a great way of getting these users to recommend your product.

User activity varies from app store to app store. Because there are more Google Play users, the app store sees a correspondingly larger number of reviews. What's more, increased developer activity also sees a nearly 9x growth in feedback. Although App Store users leave fewer reviews overall, even their feedback increases seven-fold.

The hardest part about App Store Connect is starting to reply on a regular basis. The console is poorly designed for replying to reviews and it's harder to automate it. Find out how to change that.

3. Google Play users who receive a reply change their ratings to a higher score more often

On the whole, Google Play users are friendlier than users in other app stores. We analyzed how they changed their ratings over the 7-day period after leaving a review. (We didn't count users who changed their review but not their rating.)

74% of users who receive a reply to their review increase their ratings. 60% who don't receive a response come back to decrease their rating.

Google Play replies that receive a reply improve their app rating

The difference is even bigger in the App Store.

4. App Store users who don't receive a reply often lower their ratings

App Store users are more demanding than Android users. 72% of them return to lower their ratings when they don't receive a reply to their review within a week. Users who don't get a response decrease their rating by an average of 5%. You can prevent that drop by replying.

68% of users increase their ratings after getting a response. That's 6% less than in Google Play.

Data slice showing that receiving no reply to the review lowers the score

5. Users are 3 times more likely to increase their rating after receiving a reply

You can wait to release the next version of your app or use an in-app rating request to remind users to increase their rating. But if you just talk to them, they'll come back on their own to change it. On average, 13% of users return without being prompted to increase their review rating without receiving a reply. When you reply to a review, you motivate a third of users to increase their rating.

Despite the popular opinion that you should reply to 1-star reviews first, it's harder to change those users' minds to a positive opinion.

In Google Play, 39% of users who leave 2 or 3 stars willingly give a high rating later on. However, only 32% of users who leave a 1-star rating are prepared to increase it. App store users increase their rating equally often, regardless of whether they leave 1, 2, or 3 stars.

But don't make users hopping mad by only replying to 1-star reviews. It's a lot easier to influence users' opinions when they leave 2 or 3 stars.

Slice of data proving the statement of better user ratings after receiving a reply

Bonus: replying through helpdesk services helps increase your support team's productivity three-fold

By integrating working with reviews with helpdesk services, the customer support team reduces review response time and increases the total number of replies. For example, by configuring their work with Zendesk or Salesforce through AppFollow, e-commerce apps increase the total number of review replies they generate from 11,000 to 36,000 per month.

Correlation between reviews and replies in Appfollow

How to measure performance

We analyzed apps with an average of 500,000 reviews and dozens of times more ratings. At a scale this large, it's really hard to see the impact on the average rating. The change would be in the tenths or hundredths of a percent.

There's a different factor that's important to evaluate your performance: the user's attitude toward the product after talking to them and their desire to come back for a new product or subscription. You can find this out by tracking the percentage of users who have changed their rating or review after you reply. Our data shows that 10% of users do so.

Another way to evaluate your team's performance is by looking at whether they increase the rating by reviews because this is the metric that customer support can influence. To do so, we here at AppFollow have put together a side-by-side comparison of three types of average rating: the average rating you see in the app store, the average rating by reviews for the support team, and the average rating by feature reviews for ASO and PR campaigns.

Appfollow ratings chart showcase
Here's how the average rating works and why you should look at different rating types.
Start replying to reviews with AppFollow.

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