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How to Generate App Store Reviews

Best Practices How to

How to Generate App Store Reviews

Ben Roodman January 16, 2014

App Store reviews and rating counts influence heavily on App Store Optimization (ASO), signal download popularity, and mobile app development quality. Asking users to rate your mobile app and generating app store reviews is not always a straightforward process though. MobileFOMO shares some of it’s best tips on how to generate app store reviews.

Android Specific Tips for the Google Play store:
A key time when Google+ can beneficial is the visibility of app ratings within the Google Play App Store. Friends and connections within your circles will see +1 ratings and comments as the App Store is personalized to their trusted social network.

Additionally, reach out to your Google+ network including emailing all members of your circles as a quick way to put a notification in Gmail inboxes and Google account navigational bars everywhere. Consider also running a contest asking participants to +1 your Google Play page as a growth hack without using paid media.

Asking user’s who have already downloaded and opened your app is crucial later for increasing the volume of reviews but doesn’t always work to prime the numbers at launch. When adding pop-ups within your app, be sure to do so when the timing is right. Ask users after successfully completing a level or wait until the user receives positive association from an app feature to present a pop-up to rate and review your app. Promoting users within your app for ratings should not be an incentivized activity at any time though. Apple is specifically harsh on developers who try to manipulate app store rankings through incentivized means.

Beta Testers:
Working out your app’s bug prior to launching publicly is the biggest thing you can do to stop low ratings from being attached to your app. Even a low number of 5 star reviews is better than having an equal number of low star to high star app store reviews. Beta testers can be your biggest fans as they are comfortable trying out your mobile application and dealing with a few development kinks. Ask your beta testers after you’ve completed your testing prior to launch. You might have to email your early adopters several times to motivate them to rate your app.

Ask Friends and Build Email Distribution Lists:
Ask your friends, your LinkedIn connections, trusted advisors, and start building email distribution lists to contact all of them. In your messaging, be sure to include links to the App Store and that you appreciate their time and feedback. If you have a particular connection type in mind, consider using Simplist to efficiently organize and manage the outreach generation to contacts. Additionally reach out to fans who have submitted interest in your application through email collection on a landing splash page or through Facebook.

The Darker Side of App Store Review Generation:

Internal Company Reviews:
Employees of your startup are always public representatives of your application. Recently Yahoo employees came down with “a case of enthusiasm” leaving stellar reviews for Yahoo’s updated mobile apps. Similarly you’re most likely to hear about the latest Google+ features from a Google employee. Asking employees to leave reviews should never be a job requirement, but sharing of your application to their own personal social networks should be encouraged.

App reviews fall into only a few kinds of buckets with the most common being short and sweet, critical about device specific bug issues, negative feedback on app changes, or overly long and somewhat disingenuous. Outsourced app store reviews are one of the most common means of inflating App Store search rankings besides paid downloads. The process typically looks like generating an excel list of 100+ generic reviews for outsourced submission. Apple and Google have started to move towards verifying that an actual user downloaded the App first before being able to leave a review and tying reviews to a single social identify.

Overall there is reason for enthusiasm when developing a plan to generate reviews, but continue to use caution in your outreach and don’t cross the guideline boundaries set by Apple and Google.

Ben Roodman

Benjamin Roodman
Senior Contributing Editor
Benjamin Roodman is an advocate for getting to the truth of what converts in mobile. Well versed in mobile advertising platforms with a notable aptitude and passion for analytics, he's currently putting deals together as head of partnerships at a mobile data startup. Benjamin has previously held Business Development positions at AOL Advertising and helped establish several funded location-based consumer startups.
Follow me on twitter @BRoodman

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