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According to Forrester, 63% of apps are found through app store searches. Yes, people can discover your app through methods such as paid advertising and PR, but search will always be the main method for how new potential users can gain exposure to your app. Bad ratings and negative reviews can drastically reduce the traffic, downloads, and overall user acquisition of your product. In the extremely competitive apps world, negative ratings and reviews will directly prevent you from having a successful app.

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1. Have Product Market Fit

This is often the most difficult goal to achieve. If the app idea is not a good one, then there’s little to be done except to pivot. Marc Andreessen defines product-market fit as “being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” Is there a want and need for your app? If it’s a useless app, bad ratings and reviews are inevitable. Gather feedback from those who have downloaded the app. Measure engagement. Engagement is a good indicator of product-market fit.

Three engagement metrics to look at in mobile according to Manuel Bronstein, VP of Zynga:

  • DAU/MAU(daily active users/monthly active users). % of monthly users who engage in the core loop on a given day.
  • MAU/Installs. For mobile apps this is a way to see what % of those who installed your product use it at least once/month.
  • # Days performing core loop actions/Week.Highly engaged users will use your product or service 5+ days/week.

Recommended reads on product-market fit:

2. Avoid Publishing a Buggy App

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Test, Test, Test, and Test your app again before publishing. According to Compuware, 79% report that they would only retry an app once or twice if it failed to work the first time. Only 16% said they would give it more than two attempts. App users have little patience for mistakes. Any app is at risk of having bugs, but careful testing will improve your chances of finding bugs and crushing them. Test on multiple devices. Having bug report tools for your app helps. Use TestFlight and see what beta testers have to say. Consider investing in mobile and crash analytics such as Flurry, Crashlytics, Crittercism, and BugSense.

3. Provide a Private Channel for Customer Feedback

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 4.14.03 PMCreating a private channel for complaints will allow your customers to vent frustrations while also preventing a minor grievance from haunting your public ratings. Customers would rather have their app issues solved directly, and only resort to public mediums when all else fails. However, Apple and Android makes this challenging. Their personal email and information is not easily accessible and privacy guidelines makes it more difficult to contact users about their negative feedback and reviews.

“17.2 Apps that require users to share personal information, such as email address and date of birth, in order to function will be rejected” – Apple Developer Approval Guidelines

“We don’t allow unauthorized publishing or disclosure of people’s private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, government identification numbers, driver’s and other license numbers, non-public contacts, or any other information that is not publicly accessible.” – Android Developer Guidelines

mobile app messaging
Especially for Apple, you have to find a way around their privacy walled-garden separating you from communicating with users. Leverage Helpshift’s in-app messaging to bypass this and communicate directly with customers. Plus, it’s a better way to manage the issue. You want to reduce friction for feedback and be as responsive as possible. In-app messaging is a very effective method for handling support in mobile while preserving a great user experience. Then, when a customer’s ticket is successfully resolved, you can nudge them toward the app store with a 5-star mindset.

Private feedback = Fewer negative public reviews

In Summary: Negative ratings and reviews have major impact on the search discovery of your app. But if you work on building a great product and keep users happy, you can combat these ratings and reviews. Let Helpshift make it easier for you!

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Published September 22, 2014
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