How to improve app ratings and get 5 stars

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Sasha Hodes
How to improve app ratings and get 5 stars

Table of Content:

  1. What are app ratings and why are they important?
  2. What happens if your app rating is low?
    • Less conversions
    • Harder to get featured
    • High rankings will be out of reach
  3. Did you know you can reset your app ratings?
  4. How to improve your app ratings and get 5 stars
    • Create the best possible app
    • Ask for ratings and reviews
    • Time your notifications
    • Respond to user feedback
    • Outreach
    • Always improve your app
  5. Compare against competitors to create a killer app

A high rating in the iOS and Google Play app stores is one of the most important factors in the success of your app. If your app has a high rating score, not only will users be more likely to download the app and share it with those they know, but app stores will be more likely to favor it too.

Your aim is to get as high a star rating as possible, so, where do you start?

What are app ratings and why are they important?

App ratings are a star based system that sits below the app name in the iOS and Google Play app stores.

They’re both easy to spot. You’ll see these ratings when searching for apps and games.

In both stores, app users have the opportunity to rate your app between 1 and 5 stars, 1 being the lowest rating you can give, 5 being the highest.

Ultimately, the happier the user is with your app, the higher rating they will give.

Example of Google Play Store rating
Example of Google Play Store rating

A high rating is great because it is a quality signal for those looking to download. In a survey conducted by Apptentive, 59% of people check the ratings of an app before they convert, while 71% of people said that a 4 or 5 star rating positively affects their view. This makes your star rating incredibly important in grabbing the attention of your audience in a crowded market.

What happens if your app rating is low?

There are few things which can happen if your app rating is low. Here’s a breakdown of what can happen.

Less conversions

The most obvious impact will be on your conversion rate. 80% of users don’t trust apps with ratings below 4 stars.

With the aforementioned figure of 59% of users checking the ratings before installing the app, a low rating could cause yours to be overlooked.

Essentially, users are going to trust a well-rated app over one with a poor rating. And if your app rating is low, they aren’t likely to convert.

Harder to get featured

Your app's rating also affects its chance of getting featured.

Getting a featured app on the iOS App Store or Google Play Store can be a tremendous boost when it comes to visibility and subsequent downloads.

Apps with a low star rating are unlikely to be featured. A low rating is an indicator that your app has issues that need to be resolved. Until you resolve the issues that cause the rating to be low, the curators of the featured app lists are likely to overlook your app.

High rankings will be out of reach

Maintaining a strong rating should be part of your ASO strategy. Overall ratings are taken into consideration when ranking your app.

An app with lots of negative reviews and a low rating can lose its rank for keywords, as more well rated competitors leapfrog.

Did you know you can reset your app ratings?

Did you know, if you are developing an iOS app store app, you have the opportunity to reset your app ratings?

Yes, it’s true, when you release a new version of your app, you will be given the opportunity for a fresh start. However, we recommend that you only use this feature when it is absolutely necessary.

Starting from scratch isn’t easy, and scrubbing the ratings you already have may make it incredibly difficult to entice new users in the future.

How to improve your app ratings and get 5 stars

Ultimately, the app rating is down to app users enjoying your app. This should be your first thought when developing one.

However, there are some things you can do to help improve your app ratings.

Create the best possible app

We are going to repeat ourselves here, but it really is the most important factor in boosting your app rating.

It sounds simple, but it’s true the secret to a high rating is…

Creating a great app.

Don’t take shortcuts, avoid cutting corners, just make the best app you possibly can. Develop something you’d want to download and rate highly. It’s likely that customer sentiment will shine through and app users will feel the same.

Alongside this, make sure the app is bug free, it doesn’t crash and that users can enjoy it for hours on end. Because not only does the content have to be great, the app has to run well too.

Ask for ratings and reviews

Don’t buy reviews, ask for them.

It might be tempting to go out and buy reviews. Why not, you have the money?

We recommend you don’t do this. The app development community (and app stores) will penalize you for this. These techniques are generally frowned upon and can land your app in the banned or blacklisted zone.

Instead, ask for reviews. This way, users can provide your app with a rating and feedback if they want—that is usually honest. You can learn a lot from honest ratings and reviews, such as the bugs in the app or pain points users are facing.

Speaking of which, if you’re planning to ask for reviews, a little prompt is sometimes needed.

Time your notifications

Timing when you ask for reviews is just as important as asking for them.

Prompts that happen too soon and too frequently will frustrate the user, meaning they’ll likely ignore it, or give you a critical review on purpose.

Give the user some time to play with the app and time the prompt after a set usage period, reaching a certain level, or upon completion of a specific task—just make sure it doesn’t interrupt their activity.

Doing this will enable them to become familiar with the app and work out why they enjoy it, resulting in a more accurate rating and a more well-thought out review.

Respond to user feedback

Now that you have a rating and review; what do you do with it?

Pay special attention to the reviews if you want to boost your rating and earn 5 stars. Try to reply to any feedback and action any bugs that feedback identifies.

With AppFollow, you can create filters to automatically tag and categorize common app feedback. This allows you to plan improvements for your next development cycle that will help to improve your app’s star rating.

Customer support review automation
AppFollow's customer support review automation

Users love to have their voices heard and, by responding to them, you show that you listen. Not only is reading your reviews a great way to improve your app, responding to them is an excellent way of building brand loyalty.

The secret is to be respectful and professional in your response to feedback, whether that be good or bad. Try to avoid anything too spammy and avoid anything that might make your user feel like they’re being treated like a number.

Outreach

An easy way to improve your ratings and reviews is to get more users. And what’s great for getting more users?

Finding an influencer or celebrity to endorse your app.

This is not for those on a tight budget, but an endorsement by a popular figure can help drive massive amounts of traffic to your app by brand association. If a fan's favorite personality is using your app, they’ll likely want to use it too.

Always improve your app

You should always look to improve your app. Never just leave it in the app store how it is, nurture it.

Your app always needs to be compatible with the latest software and you might want to add new features and functionalities as your app grows.

By looking to improve your app and listening to voice of customer, you’re actively looking to improve your rating. When your app is up to date, free of bugs and doesn’t crash, you’ll attract more users and maybe even get noticed by the featured app editors. A good way to do this is using user feedback to find what needs to be improved in the next update. Something like Semantic analysis can help you here.

All of this put together is likely to lead to a boost in your app’s rating and give you a chance of earning the coveted 5-star review score.

Compare against competitors to create a killer app

Boost your app rating by getting the edge on your competition. Use competitor analysis tools to gain intuitive market insights and real iOS and Android search data.

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