Mobile App Optimisation

How to generate amazing mobile app reviews and boost app store ranking

26th October 2018

When it comes to mobile app marketing and optimisation, there are a bunch of questions we get asked all the time. If you’re a business having already developed a mobile app, and are wondering how to maximise its efficiency and potential, learning how to generate better (and more) app reviews is a good place to start. We already explored the 5 best ways to turbocharge your mobile app to success: fixing poor user reviews, generating more downloads, improving the UX of your app, developing for new platforms and utilising new technologies, and today we’re deep diving how to get better mobile app reviews in order to take your app to the top of the app store. Let’s do this!

Optimise your app based on user feedback
Mobile app development and optimisation isn’t a hit and run job. There’s an extremely common misconception that designing, developing and launching a new mobile app is enough to provide a competitive advantage. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Launching an app is only the first phase of a long and beautiful mobile journey. Success in mobile is all about deploying a long-term strategy that considers how your app can be optimised on a regular and defined basis across a period of days, weeks, months and years. This requires continuous feature deployment according to what the majority of users want and having the right skills and expertise in mobile app optimisation to do so. If you’ve already developed and launched a mobile app without an ongoing plan for refinement and continuous optimisation, it’s time to get something started.

Users don’t just love it when your app is updated regularly with new features and fixes, in today’s hyper-competitive mobile landscape, they demand it. Each time a new OS software version is released, it represents a fantastic opportunity to roll out new features and engage and monetise your app users. But new features can also mean new bugs, and it’s essential that these are addressed and fixed accordingly. This means it’s absolutely essential to thoroughly test your app each time a new feature is released. If you’re fixing the right features, you’ll dramatically enhance the probability of your app receiving five star reviews. Ideally, you’d aim to roll out new features on a monthly basis, to signal to app users that you’re constantly improving, and work closely with your mobile optimisation partner to analyse feedback and data.

Always ask the question
Prompting users for app reviews can be difficult. We recently explored the challenges associated with running a successful push messaging campaign, and prompting user reviews is similar in many ways. But it’s incredible how many businesses develop an app, and struggle to generate positive reviews, without actually asking for one in the first place. It’s very unlikely, unless the app user has had an overwhelmingly positive experience, that they’ll leave a review without being prompted.

The best way to get started is to benchmark your current performance and work out how many reviews your app receives on a rolling basis, you can analyse the data as a daily or monthly snapshot. Create a target in terms of how many reviews you think you’ll need to positively impact your app store visibility, and develop a plan in terms of how you can work towards the right numbers. The aim of the game is to increase the volume and positivity of your reviews. Here are some things you should consider when asking for a review of your mobile app:

– Always give the app user a sufficient amount of time to explore the app. There’s nothing more annoying in terms of UX than being prompted for a review too early in the onboarding process.

– Avoid intrusive pop-ups and always make sure that your prompt does not inhibit the users enjoyment of the experience. Interrupting the app user during a critical moment of the app journey is more likely to stimulate negative reviews.

– Always ask the app user for a review at the right time. Think very carefully about your onboarding process and how to time your prompt so that it coincides with the app user enjoying a positive experience. You’re more likely to get a positive review if you ask at exactly the right time and the user is in a good frame of mind.

– Provide an option to leave feedback. If your apps UX isn’t up to scratch and users are having a difficult time getting to grips with the layout, they might want to provide some qualitative feedback, as opposed to leaving a bad review. Always provide a mechanism that enables the app user to get in touch so that you can learn based on real world customer feedback how to improve the performance of your software.

The best way to implement this from a development perspective, is to work closely with your optimisation team to create a plan. You can create a review workflow funnel, whereby users are prompted to say one of two things, either: ‘Yes I love the app’, or ‘I think this could be better’. The first option takes the user directly to the app store to leave a positive review. The second option pings an email, or integrates directly with your mobile CRM and enables the app user to outline their thoughts on what you can do to improve it. It’s estimated that a review workflow funnel can increase 5* reviews with actionable user feedback by more than 500% (Appbot)!

Analyse your competitor’s app store review performance
Learning about the performance of your competitors apps in terms of reviews and ratings is a great way to discover new ideas on how to optimise your own reviews. The best way to achieve this, is to calculate (and benchmark) the average rating for the existing version and all previous versions of the app. This data will provide valuable insight in terms of how well your competitors apps are performing, based on the perception of their app users. Bad user ratings are usually always indicative of poor app performance in terms of UX and usability. If the data suggests that your competitors mobile apps garner consistently exceptional five star reviews, then it’s essential to understand why this is happening and what they’re doing to influence success. Try and analyse the data to discover how many versions of the app they’ve produced and the features they’ve fixed as a result of feedback from their app users.

Adapting the frequency of your updates this is something you can do based on the analysis of your competitors apps. How often are they updating their apps? Generally speaking, the best mobile app optimisation teams will update an app based on a quarterly, monthly, weekly or even daily schedule. If you can see from the data that your competitors are releasing app version updates more frequently, you can adapt your own release cycle strategy accordingly. In some instances, you might be able to gain a competitive advantage by rolling out your own update a day or two before that of your competitors. Understanding how five star reviews are generated by your competitors is a great way to learn about how to enhance the reviews of your own mobile app. If this is something you’re doing just now, that’s great, if not, it’s worth working with an experienced mobile agency with depth of skill and knowledge in app store optimisation to get the best results.

Provide fanatical customer support
This might sound obvious, but one of the best ways to improve your app reviews is to provide exceptional customer support. You need to develop an understanding of the features of your app that users love, and the features that need to be improved. You can gain a better understanding of what your users really think, and provide a platform to amalgamate feedback, by segmenting reviews into different topics. There are various platforms that you can use to help you acheive this, or you can speak to your current app development and optimisation team to set the ball rolling.

Segmenting reviews by topic, enables you to see common traits between each review and work out which features and aspects of your UX are generating the most positive (and negative) reviews. Depending on the type of app you’re managing, you can segment user reviews into the following types of topics:

– Satisfied customer reviews: Try to group together all of your satisfied customers, enabling you to understand which common behaviours and buying characteristics.

– Design and UX: Understanding how the design and UX of your app influences user reviews is absolutely critical. This can help you to iron out glitches in your app onboarding and UX.

– Pricing: If your app is overpriced, relative to its value, it’s bound to generate negative feedback. If too many of your reviews are concerned with pricing, and users are unhappy, it’s time to think about how you can adapt your pricing strategy to leave users feeling satisfied next time round.

– Audio: Depending on the type of app you currently manage, there may be concerns relating to audio quality, which you can group together and address accordingly.

– Performance: If your app is being accessed across multiple platforms and device types, it’s liable that the performance will vary for each app user. If users are unhappy with a specific aspect of the performance, possibly speed or crashes, it’s important to acknowledge the scale of the problem and act in accordance with what your app users are saying.

– Requests for new features: The trick here is to always cater for the silent majority rather than the noisy minority. You can group together reviews based on the features that the majority of app users want to see. This is pretty important as it helps you to design a sensible development roadmap and avoid technical waste by focusing on the features that matter.

So asking the question is important, and having the right customer support in place to organise and manage reviews is also critical, but there’s still more that you can do to boost the volume of 5* reviews your app receives and enhance your apps position in the app store rankings.

Think about asking for reviews via release notes. Each time you roll out a new version of your app, explain what’s been done to fix old bugs and emphasise the fact that you’re constantly responding to the feedback of users to develop new features. You can also respond to reviews on the app store as this is an often under-utilised approach. It’s estimated that 97% of all Google Play reviews are left unanswered, which represents a great opportunity for mobile app marketers to be proactive and respond directly to app user feedback. This can be a great way to turn a negative one star review into a positive five star outcome. Another thing you can think about is adding a link to your review page via email support signatures. This might seem obvious, but it’s just an additional tool you can use to stimulate more reviews.

Fundamentally, generating tonnes of five star reviews is all about developing an app that your users love. But developing and launching an app is really just the first phase of the process. Hitting the market represents your first base, but there’s still a tonne of work to do if you want to optimise your app store rankings and improve the visibility of your mobile app. The trick is to listen to what your app users are saying, enhance the functionality of your app based on their feedback and continuously repeat this process until your app is performing against plan. Mobile app marketing and optimisation is all about continuous development, and fostering a great relationship with your mobile marketing team.

If you’re interested in learning more about mobile app marketing, optimisation and how to generate better reviews, contact the Waracle optimisation team today for more details.

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