Google launched the In-App Review API for Android apps. Why should you care?
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Google has always been after promoting the dependence of reviews, rating, and app downloads. At the same time, they’ve been easing the way developers can communicate with their users. And guess on what channel? Correct: app reviews.
Last week, Google made it easier to get more reviews not ruining user experience: they introduced the In-App Review API (finally, after Apple did it in 2016!). With it, users will be able to review and rate your app without leaving it. This works for both public and private reviews (for apps in beta).
When to ask for a review according to Google?
They suggest identifying when users have used the app long enough to understand its value and provide useful feedback. Surely you shouldn’t interrupt them with a pop-up in the middle of their mission or task. In this case, your dreams for a 5-star review won’t come true.
Also, they strongly advise against asking any questions before or while presenting the review request, and your requests must not contain any predictive phrases like “Would you rate this app 5 stars” or “Do you like the app”.
“We believe the best time to prompt your users is when they have used the app enough to be able to provide thorough and useful feedback. However, be sure not to interrupt them in the middle of a task or when their attention is needed, as the review flow will take over the action on the screen.” — Google
What to do when you’ve received a review?
Don’t forget that getting a review from your user is not the end of the journey. No matter the rating Google encourages developers to respond to them and proves that by doing so you increase your app rating:
"Every day, developers respond to more than 100,000 reviews in the Play Console, and when they do, we've seen that users update their rating by +0.7 stars on average." — Google I/O 2019
If you don’t have a lot of resources or a big customer support team, focus on featured, long, and updated reviews.
The first ones are seen by all the people who visit your app page; second ones provide the most valuable feedback, and updated reviews come from concerned users who weren’t satisfied or didn’t get attention from you in the first place.
To make responding to reviews faster and easier and increase your first response time, we recommend using review management automation and semantic analysis tools. With their help you can set automated responses to a specific type of reviews (like to those mentioning bugs you can respond with an apology and a promise to fix it), auto-tag them to make sorting, and searching for the needed ones easier. The Semantic analysis goes through your reviews and gives you an understanding of what users like or dislike about your app without you reading them one by one.
The API will work on the Android 5.0 devices (API level 21) or higher. Plus Chrome OS devices that have Google Play Store installed. More on the design requirements and how to install it find here.