Busting the top 10 myths on ASO and Review Management

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Olivia Doboaca
Busting the top 10 myths on ASO and Review Management

When we talk about mobile app reputation management, there's a lot that comes into play. From managing reviews to perfecting App Store Optimization (ASO) strategies, it's a whole world unto itself. These myths, if believed, can significantly derail your app's success on the app stores.

Get your myth-buster hardhats on, let's shine some light on common misconceptions about ASO and review management.

Myth 1: Replying to a review may influence the Keyword Ranking.

Contrary to this belief, replying to user reviews has no direct impact on keyword rankings.

The algorithms of both Google Play Store and Apple App Store focus on metrics like app usage, user retention, and download counts. While it’s absolutely true that engaging with users through review replies boosts user satisfaction, it doesn't change keyword rankings.

Remember the GameStop stock saga and Robinhood doing dodgy stuff? They had 100,000+ negative reviews posted in just a week. The app’s rating is 4.1 now on Google Play, but back then, it dropped to just one star. Google had to manually remove all these negative reviews.

So, if keyword rankings would update with review replies, that would be quite an interesting yo-yo effect in motion since the app would disappear into the abyss overnight.

Myth 2: Metadata updates impact the category ranking.

Metadata updates, such as changing your app title, description, or keywords, don't directly affect category rankings.

Category rankings are formed by the app's performance metrics like downloads, user retention, and engagement. If you refine metadata, you will improve discoverability and, as a result, the download rate, which can indirectly influence category ranking. One hand warms the other, as they say.

Myth 3: Google brings keywords in from screenshot captions.

Google Play Store's algorithm does not consider captions on your screenshots for keyword indexing.

Instead, the app's title, description, and other metadata are used for keyword optimization. That said, captivating screenshots with informative captions can boost conversions by giving potential users a quick glimpse of your app's features. Ideally, your customers should know almost instantly what the app is about and what they can expect.

Myth 4: Top 1 in Categories is a valid KPI to strive for.

While being the top app in your category can be an ego boost and offers visibility, it's not the sole KPI determining success. What truly matters is user retention, engagement, and lifetime value. An app can be number one for a day and then vanish if it doesn't keep users engaged.

Just about any successful app that gets an 80% share of the market has two things in common: they’re in the top 10 in the respective category, and they have a rating of 4.5 or higher. Aim for that instead, and learn how to keep your app users happy.

Myth 5: Semantic tags are the same as auto tags.

They're not.

Semantic tags are based on the inherent meaning or context behind the content, while auto tags are generated based on algorithms without necessarily understanding the content's contextual nuance.

Myth 6: Replying to reviews doesn’t have any impact.

Engagement matters!

While replying to reviews might not influence keyword ranking, it impacts user perception and can result in an improvement in star ratings. Yes indeed, users that feel heard and appreciated might change a negative rating to a positive one. It works the other way around, too—a positive review might turn into a negative review if the user had high hopes for the app but never heard back on their report and suggestions.

A responsive developer who appreciates positive feedback can boost user trust and loyalty—on top of the ratings.

Myth 7: Customers don’t reply to reviews.

They absolutely do, and it is almost always appreciated.

Image reporting a bug in the app you love and hearing from the devs themselves the next day. Once the bug is fixed, a dev also sends you an update, telling you personally that you have contributed. That feels good.

Every review is an opportunity to engage, rectify mistakes, and amplify positives. For users, that’s a bridge to people behind their favorite apps and a way to influence the app and nudge it in the right direction. More often than not, it pays off tremendously, and every successful app takes review management seriously.

Myth 8: There is no point in replying to 5-star reviews.

Indeed, why bother? It’s already the best mark you can get. What can you even say?

A lot of different things. Every review deserves acknowledgment. Replying to positive reviews can improve a sense of community. User loyalty is earned continuously. Besides that, a small token of appreciation—something as simple as “Thank you for rating the app so well; we’re happy you like it!” goes a long way.

Myth 9: If you report all negative reviews, this will affect ratings.

No, but there are other consequences to that.

Reporting improper reviews is necessary, but it should be done carefully. Only report those reviews that violate the Google Play and App Store policies. Blanket reporting of all negative reviews can come across as disingenuous otherwise.

Myth 10: Automating reviews will make your brand soulless.

Only if you use a single template for everything.

There are only so many ways you can say “thank you” or provide your users with an update on an ongoing problem.

Automation is a boon. With its help, one person can effectively respond to thousands of users almost instantly. There is a place for balance, of course: automated responses should be blended with a human touch. Write the messages yourself, make tons of templates for all sorts of occasions, and mix them together.


Both ASO and review management are riddled with myths. It’s okay—in this day and age, it’s normal to question everything. These myths can easily misguide even the most diligent app developers.

Remember, always prioritize the user, engage authentically, and keep iterating based on genuine feedback. That’s how you reach the coveted 4.5 in the top 10.

If you want to learn more about ASO, you're in luck. On September 28th, we are hosting a workshop on this topic as part of our global virtual event App Mastery Connect 2023. Click on the banner below to save your spot for this session.

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