5 Clever Ways to Increase Mobile App Reviews

The opinions of others play a major role in people’s purchasing decisions, whether the opinions are about restaurants, movies, or apps.

With respect to apps, opinions and reviews also affect how visible they will be in app store search results and how likely they will be featured on the app store.

In today’s crowded app store, you’ll need more positive reviews than you have friends and family to provide them, in order to give your app the ranking boost it needs. App reviews just don’t happen by themselves, and you shouldn’t expect waves of people to head back to the app store on their own accord just to write a review of your app. In fact, probably the only people who will do so are the ones who have a really bad experience with your app!

To help your mobile app get more positive app reviews, here are 5 things you can do:

1. Use an App Review Plugin

“Ask and you shall receive.” The quickest, easiest way to get an app review from someone is to ask them to do it within your app. There are a number of turn-key plugins available for iOS and Android that make it drop-dead simple to prompt the user to review your app.

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Appirater is a popular iOS plugin that takes about 2 minutes to drop into your app, and it will prompt users to review your app after they have used it a certain number of times or after a set time period. (There is an Android version as well.) If the user taps on the “Rate” button, they are taken right to the app store where they can leave their review.

Be careful when setting up Appirater, though. You don’t want to display the review popup too soon, or right after the user has downloaded your app, because you might end up with some annoyed users and bad reviews.

2. Incentivize Users to Review Your App

Let’s call a spade a spade. People don’t like popups, and a great many simply will choose to ignore a standard app review popup. To really juice your app review numbers, you need to go beyond just displaying an app review popup to your users. You need to incentivize them.

Does your app have in-game rewards or points? An easy and powerful incentive is to reward your users if they do choose to review your app. We all love free stuff, and the probability of someone clicking on your app review popup is likely to soar if they know they will get a gift.

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The app, Celebrity Guess, prompts users for a review after the user has accomplished the first 4 levels. While the app will reward the user regardless of whether he/she left a review, it appears this strategy is working, as the app’s current version 1.01 has gotten 29,063 reviews since December 9, 2013.

You’ll need to develop your own app review popup and figure out the best way to reward your users, but the extra effort will be worth it.

3. Leverage Helpshift to Provide Direct Support to Your Users

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The best route to a good app review is to provide exceptional customer service. It’s common for apps to include a “Send Feedback” button that just pops open an email form. But for very little effort, you can integrate Helpshift into your app and communicate directly with your users through a live two-way instant messaging window.

Helpshift provides you with a web-based dashboard that lets you exchange one-to-one messages with your users directly inside of your app. So, the next time a user needs help, you can go way beyond a pre-populated mail form and deliver a great customer support experience with Helpshift.

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Once you have helped your user, you can ask them to review your app and send them the link! It’s free and simple to integrate, plus Helpshift comes with its own app review popup plugin that minimizes negative app reviews by giving users a “Send Feedback” button. When pressed, the user will be taken to a live chat window (instead of the app store) where they can directly air all of their grievances about your app!

4. Time the Prompt

While review prompts are a great way to remind users to leave a review, it’s also important to time the prompts properly within the user experience.

Many apps make the mistake of asking for reviews upon the user launching the app. Unfortunately, this makes for a poor user experience, and users are less likely to leave a review because the app is interrupting the normal user flow.

A better way to ask for the review is to wait until the user has accomplished something within your app or finished with his/her intended task.

Dan Counsell of Realmac Software writes about how Clear for iOS shows the “Rate app” dialog. The prompt occurs after a few conditions have been met. First, the user must use the app for a few weeks. Second, the user must clear the remaining tasks from a list.

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Prompting for a review when users are feeling good about the app makes it a win-win situation for both the app developer and the end user.

5. Run a Contest

Another great way to increase app reviews is to run a contest on various forums. The popular blog, Touch Arcade, has a section within their forums where app developers run contests and giveaways to entice other members to leave reviews for their apps.

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When running a contest, you can give away an iTunes gift card, or you can PayPal the winner. Reviewers will leave their iTunes or Google Play usernames as replies within your thread, and then you can select the winner randomly.

To be completely transparent, it’s important to highlight who the contestants are and how you selected a winner. You can put all usernames into a spreadsheet and associate a number for each user. Then use the Random.org website to generate a number and show the screenshot to prove you were not favoring any one reviewer.

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While running a contest does require you to manually manage the entire process, from checking iTunes and validating the reviews to selecting a winner, it can jumpstart your app’s early and important reviews and ratings.

About the Author: Steve P. Young is a marketing consultant and host of the Mobile App Chat podcast where the top mobile app developers share their success stories.

  1. Hello Steve, I have recently developed one Android app and still I am strving to get better user reviews on it. I tried various ways but personally feel that out of 100%, only 20-30% users love to write about reviews. Still I would like to try above methods to increase my user engagement and get more reviews.

    Thanks for information.

  2. Nice One, According to me it is important that you encourage more and more users to download your app. The more satisfied users are with your app, the more they will ask others to try out the same. This will also give rise to higher rankings for your app, which will then automatically push up the status of your app.

  3. Hello all,
    This is nice idea. Prompt Rate it Screen in every two or three days. It will help you to rate the application.

    Thanks for the share this information.
    I want to recommend a company which has more expertise in Android application development and iPhone App development.
    Virinchi Software Pvt. Ltd. is India based web and mobile application development company.
    For more info visit http://www.virinchisoftware.com

  4. this is not my real name Apr 11, 2014 at 7:25 am

    It’s wise to think of this rate/review stuff within the bigger case of your app’s user experience.

  5. # 2 is totally wrong. It has been proven time and time again that if you try to incentivized reviews, Apple will reject your app.

    There rest of the points are all valid. Write a good app. Ask for a good review but don’t over do it. Ask for feedback, good and bad. Start a dialog with your users. The other points in the article all drive these points home.

    I combine asking for a review and trying to get feedback. I have a simple alert that comes up one time after a certain number of uses. “Do you love ?” It has a simple yes or no button. yes takes them to itunes to review, no will open an email form so they can send me an email. You don’t need any fancy service to create this and it gives me a chance to start working with my users to solve their issues.

  6. Good article. I especially agree with #4 about timing the review prompt. Several of the apps I regularly use pop the review box up as soon as I open the app. Drives me nuts.

    The reason I am opening the app is because I want to do something, and they are preventing me from doing it! Result – they get no review (I just keep clicking “remind me later”).

  7. I believe providing incentives to the users would be the best bet to increase mobile app reviews in any case. They will be more open to review for these incentives.

  8. Great blog Neil.You really inform your followers,and subscribers with cutting edge content. Super relevant, and very well timed. Thanks again Neil for enriching so many with this wonderful blog.I plan to enroll in Quicksprout University before the summer! 2 words Neil ……The Best!

  9. Wouldn’t #2 get rejected by apple?

  10. Thanks for nice article.
    It’s not an easy task to encourage actionable feedback. Users appreciate design principal “Only interrupt me if it’s important”. So we have to tune trigger (time to prompt) very carefully. I came to conclusion that I should ask users to rate my apps once a version had been updated and main actions had been performed.

  11. #4 is BIG. How often do we skip through notifications without reading them? Even for apps we regularly use and love. Reaching your user at the optimum time is paramount. (Ideally at a point when they are feeling particularly warm and fuzzy about the value of your app.)

    • Amanda, it really is important to find the right time to post and find your users. Thanks for the feedback :)

  12. Steve great article. Appreciate your effort. Really helpful for newbie for Apps developers. Mostly they don’t know about apps marketing.

  13. i was trying to increase my app review but can get right information but here i get right info about increasing review

  14. Thank you for bringing more information on increasing mobile app reviews. Quite useful strategy ever that you have shared with me. Appreciate it very much.

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