• Apps
Gabrielle Wooden June 10th, 2022

How to Get More App Reviews (Without Annoying Your Users)

Increasing positive reviews is a byproduct of a great solution, so having a great app that solves a clear problem for your users should be enough, right? Well, not really.

Users are more likely to leave bad reviews than positive ones. In other words, if you’re not actively asking for feedback, you could be missing out on hearing from your satisfied users.

And before you start adding random popups and prompts, in a lot of cases they can do more harm than good by annoying your users and potentially scaring them away from your app.

Instead, you’ll want to focus on these seven non-intrusive strategies that are guaranteed to increase the number and quality of reviews your app gets:

1. Run a Review-Writing Contest for Your App

An old but still effective strategy to get more reviews for your app is to run a review contest. This will incentivize and gamify the process for your users - or even score new ones in the process.

To run a successful contest, you’ll need a clear and organized process that makes it easier for your users to participate and easier for you to manage it. Some of the components you’ll need to think about are:

  • What’s the prize?
  • How will you pick the winner?
  • Where will you promote the contest?
  • What’s the messaging of the contest’s social media posts?

For example, you could create a social media post with all the information about the contest and ask users to comment on the post with their app username after leaving a review on the App Store or Google Play.

You can also use forums or Reddit threads related to your industry or app if there’s already a community around it.

2. Request a Review After Your User Achieves a Milestone or Success

Like sending sales messages, timing is one of the most critical aspects of the review campaign process. In our experience, many apps tend to ask for a review as soon as the user signs in. However, that could easily be one of the worst moments to ask.

Why? Because of intention. When users log into your app, they have a clear purpose, and a popup window is getting in their way. Take advantage of successes and milestones instead.

For an eCommerce app, this can look something like a product being delivered on time or ahead of time, or a user spending a certain amount of money. These scenarios are clear indications that users are getting great results and are happy with your app, in turn setting you up for a better review.

Think about your user's intention and what a successful session on your app looks like. Is it time spent on the app or a certain number of actions? If you can figure out the best moment to ask for feedback, you’ll increase the number and quality of your reviews.

3. Leverage Your Customer Support Team Everywhere

User experience doesn’t stop at the app's performance and design. Your customer support team also plays a vital role in your app’s success.

There will be problems no matter how well built your app is, and you’ll need a great team to solve those issues - especially when they come from third parties like delivery companies or API providers. But what does it have to do with app reviews? It’s a great way to turn bad experiences into good experiences, thus making it a great time to ask for reviews!

After issues are taken care of, and a positive outcome is achieved, users experience significant stress relief. You can take this as a little victory and, more often than not, a great moment to ask for positive feedback.

If this works for you, try replicating the process through all your contact channels like social media and forums.

Of course, not all scenarios are a good fit. Be sure to train your team to recognize opportunities for feedback, and when it’s better to let the user go on their way until the next milestone or success. In the meantime, you can then focus on building trust.

4. Optimize Your App Listing to Rank for Keywords Your Users Use

Another way to gain reviews is by getting your app discovered by a larger audience organically. Having more users will give you more opportunities to increase your reviews.

Although many factors contribute to your visibility on the App Store and Google Play, optimizing your app listing can help you bridge the gap, especially if your app is new.

Just like search engine optimization (SEO), the goal of app store optimization (ASO) is to help your app rank higher in search results when a potential user enters a query in the search bar. A Forrester study showed that 63% of all app downloads start with a search in the App Store or Google Play, so diversifying the keywords you rank for (as long as they are relevant to your app) will increase your user base.

App Radar created this comprehensive ASO guide if you consider implementing this strategy. Another great place to start is reading how your users describe your app or how they’re using it. This can give you some ideas of which keywords to include, for example, in the title or description.

5. Ask for Reviews and Feedback in Your Release Notes

Release notes were designed to tell your users about new features or bug fixes implemented in the latest version of your app. However, they can also be a great place to ask for feedback.

As a communication channel, release notes can help you connect with your users if you use the correct language. After all, these notes are meant to help users notice and use new features, making it natural to just ask for their feedback.

Yes, not all your users will read them, but you should still think about your app release notes as an extension of your brand. For those reading your notes, it can make a huge difference.

6. Gamify the Review Process

Gamification increases user engagement by bringing game elements to ordinary tasks. In fact, we already used gamification when discussing running a review contest.

To take gamification a bit further, you can use tools like Yotpo to add gaming elements, like progress bars and hints, to the review writing process and entice users not just to leave reviews, but to write better ones.

Yotpol’s smart prompts use AI to find the most common and relevant keywords used by other users and suggest them to new reviewers writing their app reviews. Every time they use one of these keywords, the progress bar fills in until it shows as a complete achievement.

Apps allow us to use gamification in many different ways, so be creative and open-minded, and you’ll grow your review count in no time.

7. Deal with Negative Reviews to Turn Them Around

As a business owner, you want to gain many reviews to reach a larger audience and to have the social proof that’ll make new users download your app.

However, focusing solely on their acquisition can blind you to the other side of the coin: bad reviews.

You don’t just want to get more of any kind of reviews, you want to increase the number of positive (five-star if possible) reviews. The best place to start is by addressing the bad reviews.

Reviews are nothing but direct feedback. Apple and Google have realized this, providing businesses with the ability to respond to reviews. Make a list of negative reviews, address their concerns, and reach out to users after implementing the changes.

Although it won’t work every single time, turning one-star reviews into five-star reviews can help you win back users and change their minds. It also tells new users that you’re actively improving the app and listening to what they have to say.

Ready to Get Started?

These seven strategies have proven to be effective time after time, but there’s a catch: you’ll need to be consistent and proactive. Consider your feedback campaign as part of your marketing strategy, because it is!

Organic, high-quality reviews are your app's best sales tools. They will help you improve your app’s visibility in the App Store and Google Play’s search results and improve the download rates.

By thinking out of the box and providing the best user experience in both your app and feedback campaigns, you’ll enjoy steady and sustainable growth without annoying popups or unwanted forms.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Gabrielle Wooden

Gabrielle Wooden is a writer, specializing in multimedia storytelling and is currently the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Tapcart, mobile app builder for Shopify stores. With extensive experience throughout the digital marketing process, Gabrielle has written content and developed growth marketing strategies for brands of all sizes.

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