Blog Thinking about app reviews as a user acq...

Thinking about app reviews as a user acquisition channel

Many aspects of an app can impact its success. From a reliable user interface (UI) to captivating features. Although reviews are known to benefit an app, the true extent of their power is sometimes forgotten. As a result, mobile app developers often underutilize app reviews.

Positive app reviews serve not only as a way to appear in top search results in the app store, but also as an additional channel for user acquisition. Because mobile applications aren't tangible, user reviews are necessary to build a direct relationship between the user and the product before download. In fact, according to Reputation X, increasing your reviews by just 1 star can improve your business revenue by 9%. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can strategically approach reviews to secure a bright future for your app.

How to earn more positive reviews

BusinessofApps claims that your app store reviews should average at least 4-stars to ensure a strong conversion rate. If your app reviews should fall below 4-stars, there are a few strategies you can employ to grow your number of positive reviews.

  1. Make reviewing easy. Reviewing a mobile app needs to be simple.  If there's too much effort involved users are much less likely to leave a review, so prioritize making the process short and uncomplicated. Code the journey into your app so that a simple click will bring the user to a review site. Or, better yet, allow users to write and publish their reviews without leaving the app.
  2. Be transparent. You can ask users to leave reviews directly via in-app prompts. Let them know how much it supports your business! Of course, you shouldn't send these out regularly and without thought. This is especially true for the App Store as you can only display review prompts three times per user per year. Choose to display requests at times when the user is most likely to want to leave a review.
  3. Notify users of changes. When you've released a fix or improvement, respond to relevant reviews to notify those users of the update. This shows them you've listened to their feedback and gives you leverage to ask them to update their review with a higher rating. This method can turn negative reviews into positive ones and shows visitors that you're customer-focused.
  4. Perform A/B testing. Also known as split or bucket testing, A/B testing is when a developer compares the results from 2 versions of a platform to see which performs better. Try A/B testing your review prompts with your users to see which they find more persuasive.

Get hands-on with your brand reputation

One negative review can encourage negativity from other users, tarnishing your app's reputation. When you do get a negative review, here are some ways you can actively manage and protect your brand's reputation.

  • Reply to all reviews. Stay professional and empathetic in your tone and aim to respond promptly. Not only will customers appreciate a timely reply, but readiness to engage is also favored by the app store algorithm.
  • Report inappropriate reviews. When a user is angry or disappointed their emotions are heightened, so they may include profane or incorrect remarks in their review. You may also get false reviews from trolls or spammers. Make sure you’re familiar with Google’s and Apple’s guidelines and report any reviews that breach these terms and conditions.
  • Make regular updates. Show your users you are listening to them and make updates to your app regularly based on user feedback. Your user base will appreciate this and the experience will be improved for future users, too.

Include reviews as a business metric

One common acquisition contributor is app store ranking, as your app is among the first to appear in the consumer’s search results. But to reach the top of the app store you'll first need to appease the algorithm. And, you guessed it, one important factor that the algorithm takes into consideration is positive reviews. The more positive reviews your product can garner, the more likely it will rank higher. So if your focus is user acquisition, then app reviews must be considered in your business' growth metrics.

Reviews should be considered alongside other metrics like:

  • User retention and engagement
  • How much a user spends (ARPU)
  • How long a user spends on the app
  • How first impressions on your app’s page influence installs

Reviews boost your app’s social proof

It’s clear to see there is a strong link between reviews and a consumer’s trust of a brand. Social proof is essential because it can convince a visitor to click “install”. A study from Invesp found that 90% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase, with 88% trusting those reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Consider repurposing reviews across additional platforms to harness their social proof value. Share positive reviews on:

  • Social media: These social media followers already engage with you because they like your content. If they haven't bought from you yet, then reaffirming that other users have tried your app and enjoyed it makes it easier to convert these potential customers.
  • Website and app store description. Highlighting glowing testimonials across your website and in the app store will boost the confidence of users in the consideration stage. They will believe that the app will meet their expectations as other users have clearly had this experience.
  • Your paywall. Remind users of others’ positive experiences when they’re provided with the opportunity to subscribe or upgrade. This will provide extra assurance that they are making the right decision in spending their money.

Although sometimes overlooked, the value of user reviews in supporting user acquisition should not be forgotten. Try each method we’ve discussed to determine what works the best for your business to help you maximize your returns.

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