Helpshift’s Weekly App Review: How Instagram Should Fix Its Conversion Funnel

Helpshift’s Review Analytics gives a thorough, actionable breakdown of what people say about your product in the app store. You now have the ability to transform feedback into a solid product development and marketing strategy at scale. Every week we’ll provide data-driven insights for an app based on its publicly available user ratings.

Instagram had a global average review score of 3.3 on iOS, excluding ratings without a review attached. How could such a popular app receive less than 5 stars?


Using our review sentiments, we can tell that Instagram had a spike of bad reviews over the weekend. Those 1 star reviews ebb in the middle of the week and then rise again as Friday approaches. To better manage weekends, many apps set up automations that tell users their concerns will be addressed, and some automations answer the problem then and there.

Though it doesn’t seem that users are reaching out to Instagram directly. Why? Let’s dive in by seeing why users “loved Instagram”:


The sign of a leaky conversion funnel is when a user says the product is great and yet leaves a bad review. In this case, an 18 month user doesn’t feel that there’s “anyone behind the app.” Their efforts to communicate with Instagram have been ignored, and even feels that the review itself won’t be read by anyone from the company. Getting 2 stars from a long time user can only be a communication issue.

A core problem with email (or any feedback bucket) is that the user experience feels like speaking into a void. There’s no engagement. At the M.O.R.E. Summit we learned that the biggest hurdle developers face is shifting the strategy from acquisition to retention. Top mobile companies recommended a “VIP Program” for veteran users with live chat. If Instagram adopted that method, they would see far less negative reviews from 18-month users.

We also noticed that users complain about account issues from the app store. That situation is frustrating for both the user and agent; the user feels that Instagram won’t do anything to help, and support agents get feedback in a place where they actually can’t. Making support options more enticing to users is the best way to redirect complaints to a place where it can be solved. It’s another good reason to avoid “bucketed” feedback methods.

Review analytics showed this about Instagram:

  • Despite having a native form of feedback, users don’t feel that they are being listened to. This is because the feedback is collected into a bucket rather than engaged with immediately, which is a core problem with email as well. Instagram should replace their feedback bucket with a messaging platform that lends itself to efficient responses–at least for their veteran users.
  • Users often complain that they have issues with their account, but leave those notes in a place where Instagram’s support can do little about it. Instagram should encourage users to submit issues via the app by bolstering the options there.
  • Instagram’s negative reviews spike over the weekend. They could mitigate this with automations that divert support conversations until they can be solved. But to do that, they have to bring users to their native solutions in the first place.

Improving your mobile app reliably is all about data-driven feedback. We’re happy to help. To get a free ratings breakdown, contact me at [email protected].

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