If you’re thinking about a trip to the movies or want to book a table at a local restaurant, the chances are that you’ll head to Google to read reviews first.

The internet has transformed the way we make purchasing decisions, with nearly 90% of consumers reading reviews before they buy something online.

What’s more, 90% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do personal recommendations, so customer feedback has never been more important.

In today’s crowded app marketplace – there are more than two million apps on both the App Store and Google Play Store – you’ll need to do everything in your power to stand out from your competitors, and one of the best ways of doing so is by encouraging user reviews.

Think of it like this: if you’re looking for a productivity app and you’re presented with two options – one with dozens of five-star reviews, and the other with no reviews – then you’re likely to choose the one with the most interactions.

App reviews can build trust, increase your app’s visibility, and encourage people to download and interact with your content.

App reviews are also a great source of customer feedback – if your users download your app and delete it without leaving comments, then you’ll never improve.

Reviews, whether they’re good or bad, allow you to enhance your user experience and fix any bugs or problems.

But how do you encourage people to leave reviews? Below, we round up a few ideas…


Prompt users in your app

Sending a prompt when users are engaged with your app is one of the most effective (and common) methods of gathering reviews.

The good news is that both Apple and Google offer prompt APIs, although Apple’s SKStoreReviewController API can only be used three times in a 365-day period to avoid spam.

By using built-in review APIs, users can write and submit their reviews without leaving your app, offering a better user experience and increasing app engagement, but third-party plugins can be used if you want to customise the experience.


… but make sure the prompt is timed

Although prompts are a great way to encourage users to leave a review, be mindful of your user experience, and don’t interfere with users unnecessarily.

Some developers make the mistake of asking for app reviews as soon as the app opens, but that’s bad for users, as they’ve opened the app to engage with your content and features – not to be asked a favour right away.

Don’t interrupt the normal user flow, and consider A/B testing to time it just right.

Alternatively, you could trigger a review prompt after a user has accomplished something in your app, whether that’s reaching the next level in a game or completing an in-app tutorial.


Offer incentives for app reviews

Before we go on to this next technique, a quick word of warning: Apple has been known to suspend or remove applications and developers that offer incentives for app reviews, so be careful when heading down this path – follow the terms set out in your developer agreement.

Apple says in its guidelines that “developers who attempt to manipulate or cheat the user reviews or chart ranking in the App Store with fake or paid reviews, or inappropriate methods will be removed from the iOS Developer Program,” and Google has a similar policy in place.

The truth is that consumers don’t like popups or being pestered for a review, so one way that you can eliminate the constant nagging is to incentivise reviews, offering users who write a review a gift, upgrade, or entry into a prize draw.

Again, you should be careful about how you word this, and you shouldn’t encourage users to share anything but their honest opinion.

It’s perfectly acceptable to incentivise users to write reviews, but offering rewards for positive reviews is where you may fall foul. “Leave a review and get a free premium subscription” is fine, but “Leave a five-star review and get a premium subscription on us” is against the rules.

Apps that feature a rewards scheme or points system will likely find it easy to implement app review incentives, handing out points or unlocking a new badge when users rate and review their app, but all apps can incentivise by offering a free premium trial or a prize draw entry.


Make it easy

If you want to get as many reviews for your app as possible, then make it convenient for your users to leave one. Add an accessible button that directs users to your app listing so they can leave a review, and consider placing reminders at the end of tasks, like if a user ticks everything off their checklist or finishes a conversation with your support team via live chat.

The key is to simplify the process and make it easy for users to leave reviews on their own terms, rather than ramming a review prompt down their throats.

At the same time, you do not want to disturb their user experience, as they’ll become frustrated and will either delete your app or head to the App Store to write a bad review – both things you don’t want to happen.


Be responsive

Make sure you take the time to respond to feedback and reviews on the App Store and Google Play Store and accept that you’re not going to make everyone happy with your app.

By responding to both positive and negative comments, you’ll show potential users that you’re passionate about their opinions and experiences and that you’re listening to what they have to say.

Sure, not every suggestion is going to be feasible or even constructive, but taking the time to respond to reviews will encourage more people to leave their own views.

If you’ve released an early beta of your app and want to gather feedback and suggestions, consider adding a feedback feature inside of your app rather than asking users to head to the App Store.

That way, you’ll be able to collate ideas and feedback without the worry of attracting negative or critical reviews that could damage your app store optimisation.


Wrapping up

There you have it – just some of the ways in which you can improve your App Store ratings and get more reviews from your customers. Above all else, focus on building an application that solves a problem and offers great user experience; if you get that right, then the five-star reviews will naturally follow.

If you’re considering an app for your business, or you’d like help getting your app to the top of the App Store and Google Play Store, get in touch with Zudu.

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