Why Mobile App Ratings & Reviews Matter to Conversion | with Adapty

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Nadya Pominova
Why Mobile App Ratings & Reviews Matter to Conversion | with Adapty

Table of Content:

  1. App Store user reviews are a powerful selling tool
  2. How to use app store reviews for product testimonial
  3. Managing ratings and reviews with AppFollow
  4. A/B testing with Adapty

The mobile app market is becoming more competitive—the more apps entering it, the higher the competition. This competition makes users increasingly particular in their choice of apps. They aren’t interested in wasting their time on weak apps if a few better alternatives are available.

9 of 10 online customers take notice of the app’s ratings when deciding whether they should buy it. 7 out of 10 users look through at least one review before downloading the app. According to this report by the reputation management tool called AppFollow, rating stars matter for both installation and subscription conversions.

App Store user reviews are a powerful selling tool

Genuine gratitude expressed by a loyal client can sway the customer more effectively than announcement of new features from the developer, for example. The more apps that offer similar features or services on the stores, the higher the demands and expectations of users, who now have more choice — meaning they’ll be looking more closely at ratings and reviews to get an idea of an app’s performance. However, a positive review can do much more than convince the user to install the app. Current users’ reviews can persuade a prospect to go further and commit to paying for a subscription.

Lots of apps make good use of ratings & for social proof as testimonials in their paywalls. Take a look at some examples in Adapty’s paywall collection:

user reviews used as testimonials for the app paywall

How to use app store reviews for product testimonial 

From a UI design standpoint, adding reviews to your paywall is a trivial task. It isn’t enough to just put some reviews and stars out there, though. You need to understand which words will work for a particular user persona to persuade them enough to subscribe.

Some apps on App Store and Google Play have manipulated their store ratings and reviews. Users are well aware of that, so a review that’s generic and simple like: “Incredible app, brilliant developer!” is unlikely to turn heads to visitors that are increasingly suspicious of fakery. Try to encourage users to leave reviews with more detail if possible, and then use those for your paywall social proof. You can always A/B test paywalls with different user reviews to see what converts better.

Managing ratings and reviews with AppFollow

Let’s look at a simple way to test reviews using the example of Strava: Run, Ride, Swim:

Example of a user testimonial on paywall

In summer this year, this app featured a review carousel in their introductory offer paywall.

Other people’s reviews and success stories are especially important for Health & Fitness apps. By installing a fitness app, the user makes a step toward self-improvement. Real-life success stories are especially good at imbuing users with motivation. So it’s not surprising that Strava chose reviews as their key persuasion tool, despite having the Editor’s Choice award in the App Store.

The app is quite popular with users. Right now, it has 180 thousand ratings in the App Store. Reviews are plenty as well, so there’s room for choosing the best ones.

Now, the Strava team knows that reviews are great for subscription conversions. How would they test to find out which reviews work the best, though? Let’s use the reputation management tool for mobile apps called AppFollow.

In AppFollow, you can collect and segment user reviews by selected criteria and find the review you need. That’s handy for popular apps and projects with large audiences. In this case, we need to pick out genuine reviews from more than 20,000 records:

feedback segmentation from user reviews from AppFollow

You can’t put detailed reviews with lots of text into your paywall. It also makes sense to test separately for each localization, displaying the reviews in users’ language.

These two reviews provoke very different feelings. See for yourself:

positive review examples used as testimonial

People perceive things differently. Some take inspiration from seeing others succeed, and some like competition and rankings. Some want to share their success with friends. Since you don’t know which review will be most appealing, it’s best to test lots of hypotheses.

A/B testing with Adapty

Usually, A/B testing for paywalls can require lots of time and resource investments. With Adapty SDK, though, you can switch between hypotheses on the go without updating the app.

Depending on your paywall’s source code structure, you can switch configurations for some elements on the go with Remote Config—for example, review texts or images. Remote Config is a JSON package that holds customization variables. For example, if you want to include your review as a single image, you can just link it without having to change anything:


"review_image": "https://appfollow.io/app/3339/review/277747831?s=global3&img=png"


# Test review1 on your paywall


"review_image": "https://appfollow.io/app/3339/review/268570352?s=global3&img=png"

# Test review2 on your paywall

You can create and run A/B tests for your paywalls:

Note that here, the A/B test runs for all users. The better approach here would be to segment users by country and display reviews in their language with AppFollow. After that, you could create A/B tests for each geographical segment and display ocalized paywalls for each language group. All of this is also easy to do with Ada ty.

Remember, your success is the sum of your effort X the number of tests you've done. On average, thinking too much and testing nothing will yield you worse results than wavering a bit less and testing more.

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