5 Ways to Achieve 5 Star App Reviews

5 Star ReviewsA study by Apptentive found that a two-star app is downloaded approximately 50,000 times.

That’s not so bad.

But a four-star app averages at 270,000 installs.

Now that’s a big difference. 

There is a direct correlation between a high rating on the app store and the number of times an app is downloaded. Highly rated apps attract more downloads in the same way that a 5 star rated restaurant on TripAdvisor attracts more diners. People want to see a badge of approval before they part with their money and time.

What’s more, according to Michael Silverwood, Operating Associate at Tandem Capital, Apple App Store’s ranking algorithm works along these lines:

“Ranking = (# of installs weighted for the past few hours) + (# of installs weighted for the past few days) + REVIEWS (star rating + number of reviews) + Engagement (# of times app opened etc.) + Sales ($)” (Source: Venture Beat)

This shows that it is not only the number of installs that matters in the world of App Store Rankings. In fact, star rating AND number of reviews both play a big role.

Silverwood claims that the success of Flappy Bird in 2014 was due to the influx of reviews that came as a result of a well-placed review button. In fact, it was found that Flappy Bird received 5,500 reviews in one single day. Impressive, right?

So, a high app rating and a high volume of reviews can have a direct impact on your bottom line. A little something like this:

5-star reviews + your app = SUCCESS

Alright, the equation may not be that simple, but it is proven that apps with 5-star ratings trounce those with low ratings. 

We asked app experts the best ways to achieve a 5-star rating, so that you can begin your journey to number one on the app store. 

Here are 5 ways to get 5 star app reviews: 

1. Ask for reviews

The likelihood of your users leaving a review without being prompted is low. Your customers want to get on with using your app with minimal interruptions. But asking for reviews is the important first step to building out your review profile.

“If you want customers to leave you a review, the first thing you can do is probably the most obvious and yet not most common solution: Just ask. Customers are more likely to actively leave a review when they have a bad experience. If you want customers to leave feedback for the good, you need to ask. It's also important to ask as soon as possible in the customer lifecycle. Issues that can be overlooked at first will lead to frustration as time goes on."

- Phil Strazzulla, CEO & Founder, Select Software Reviews


“If your app has zero reviews right now, I recommend taking a high touch approach. Send personal emails to customers and users asking for their feedback. Keep doing that until you receive at least 5 positive responses. Once you have those responses, offer to get on the phone to guide users on how to leave reviews or provide a video to guide them through the review process. Continue this process every month until you have 10 reviews.”

- Bruce Harpham, SaaS Marketing Consultant

2. Time your requests for app reviews to perfection

Sending out notifications asking for reviews all hours of the day is just going to irritate your users. The art of timing your requests is the difference between a customer giving a glowing review or angrily closing the notification.

“When you remind users to review your app, avoid disrupting the user experience – timing is everything.

Instead of having a pop-up appear on a user’s screen randomly, time it so it appears after a user completes a task, such as beating a level in a game, booking a reservation, or tracking a workout.”

- Muhammad Mateen Khan, Digital Marketing Strategist, PureVPN


“While we know we need to ask users for a review, when we ask is of key importance. If you prompt your plugin too soon into the experience, you’re likely to get an eye roll and a pass. The really effective way is to catch them at a high point. If yours is a game app, ask for a review when they successfully complete a challenging level. If it’s an eCommerce app, prompt when you observe them enjoying your collection for a while. In general, time your prompt well to receive the most positive reviews.”

- Hiral Atha, CEO, Moveoapps.com

3. Develop an incentive program


Users are much more likely to review a product if there is something in it for them. It’s a no brainer. If you get an Amazon voucher for referring a friend… the likelihood is you will try hard to get that referral! It’s the same thought process behind reviews. 

“You can incentivise your initial users by offering something within the app that they might find valuable. Offering in-app rewards is an excellent way to get loyal users to provide positive feedback because they value what you are offering.”

Kenny Trinh, CEO of Netbooknews


“As a CTO and general tech fanatic, one of the best things you can do for your app to get reviews is to plug them every so often within the app itself. They should not be annoying, or you will never get a review, but a banner or pause screen can work really well. If you can offer a reward, this may also be another incentive for people to write a review. You could offer in-app rewards, or a gift card every month. If the customers believe that they can get something, and help the app, they are more likely to do it.”

- Rorie Devine, Founder and CEO, Gro.Team


“I don’t blame customers if they don’t proactively engage. After all, what’s in it for them? I suggest encouraging them by offering them an irresistible deal in exchange for their sweet review. With this method, you hit two birds with one stone: you get your review while improving your relationship with a loyal customer.”

- Yaniv Masjedi, CMO at Nextiva

4. Respond to feedback


Interacting with your users in the reviews section is really important. It gives a voice to your brand and ensures any negative comments are dealt with appropriately. What’s more, responding to feedback shows willingness to listen to customer opinions and work in changes.

“When people take time to rate an app or leave a comment, they usually care about the product and want to see some feedback. It doesn’t matter whether they leave a positive or negative review - your job is to acknowledge it, thank people and act on the feedback you receive. If you show that you care about your audience’s opinion, you will earn people’s respect and they will eventually award you with lots of positive reviews. Don’t forget to be authentic while responding because people can easily distinguish a template-looking answer from a real and honest comment.”

- Malte Scholz, Head of Product and Co-Founder at Airfocus

5. Deliver quality

The fact is, if your product is low quality, it will most likely receive poor reviews. After all, if your product is bug-free, delivers great UX and generally works seamlessly - what do customers have to complain about? Delivering quality is the essential first step to a 5-star product, 

The main reason customers leave negative reviews is due to issues with the product. If a customer finds a bug, maybe in the payment process, or sign up process, the likelihood is they will vent their frustrations in the reviews. No one likes downloading a glitchy product. So, by delivering a high-quality, well-tested app, you can drive customers to leave a positive review, rather than a devastating one.”

- Fahim Sachedina, Quality Consultant at Global App Testing

Achieve a 5-star product

App reviews are important. If your developers spend months perfecting an app, only for it to receive little or poor reviews, your product isn’t going to have the success it deserves. 

After all, when app stores base their algorithms on reviews as well as the number of downloads, a poor review profile can detrimentally impact your bottom line.

So, prioritise working out a strategy to get your app to the 5-star rating. This will help protect the future of your app and encourage new users to download it. 

Remember these 5 tips to achieve a 5-star product:

  • Ask for reviews
  • Time your requests for app reviews to perfection
  • Develop an incentive program
  • Respond to feedback
  • Deliver quality

If you would like to find out more about delivering a high quality app for your users, speak to one of your growth experts today.

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