There are over 4.2M apps available in the App Store and Google Play combined with hundreds of thousands more ready for download on other platforms. Making your app known and securing a loyal audience base with solid revenue coming in can feel like insurmountable tasks.

Developers must take strides to stand out from the pack, and reviews are an incredibly important way to increase app discovery. An estimated 77% of users read at least one review before downloading a free app. Having only a handful of reviews makes users nervous, and bad reviews scare off potential downloaders fast.

You’ll also need a strong monetization strategy so that your hard work literally pays off and any ads shown enhance, rather than diminish, user experience.

Let’s dive into the first part of our guide to mastering the art of positive review and revenue generation.

Communication, feedback

How to Get Good Reviews

First, some good news: you likely have a number of users ready and willing to review your app positively. A lack of reviews doesn’t necessarily point to a lack of happy users.

Instead, most people fail to review apps they enjoy because they’re busy and forget to do it.

To obtain more positive app reviews, you’ll have to overcome this hurdle. 

Prompting and Timing

Sure, some users won’t review your app no matter what you do, but there are users you can convince with the right prompting and timing.

Use persuasive techniques to go beyond the simple, “Would you like to rate our app?” prompt. This standard prompt lacks compelling language, making it easy to dismiss and forget in seconds.

Make your prompt more powerful by using emotion-based writing. Ask your users, “Like <insert name of app or game here>?” Or, “Enjoying <insert name of app or game here>? Share the love with a quick review.”

Then, send the appropriate users directly to the App Store or Google Play. While it might seem insignificant at first, this minor change grabs the attention of your users with persuasive copywriting and gets them thinking about what they love about your app right before they write their reviews.

As you can see in the two examples below, each prompt is short and to point. Users can easily choose to accept or reject the suggestion to rate and/or review.

Facebook prompt message

Facebook prompt message

Waze In-app prompt message

Waze In-app prompt message

As for what not to do, check out the example below. The prompt loses any chance for a strong opening with the uninspiring header, “Feedback.”

The following question, “Are your our biggest fan?” is sure to get a “no” from most users; the idea would be better expressed with less specific question like we see in the Facebook and Waze prompts.

In-app feedback message example

In-app feedback message example

When you display your prompt will depend largely on your audience base and the purpose of your app. Answer these questions to guide your decision:

It’s always best to prompt users when they’re the most primed to respond and leave a positive review. Determining the exact right moment takes trial and error, so, consider using A/B testing to improve your strategy.

Social Media and Spotlighting

Once you’ve obtained more positive app reviews, leverage their influence by sharing them in your description.

An example of sharing a positive review in an app description

positive review

When users consider downloading an app, they’re looking for three main things: reliability, credibility, and usefulness. Showcase reviews that spotlight these attributes to positively influence the perception of your app.

While we discourage begging for reviews in your prompt, don’t be too proud to ask for reviews on social media. A simple prompt in your newsletters, on your website, or social media channels can help you bring in more reviews.

How to Deal With Negative Reviews

No review strategy can solve the problem of a poor quality, bugging app. If your app needs work in terms of user experience and value, start there. That being said, even the most high-quality app will generate a handful of bad reviews; how you respond to them is what matters.

The adage “prevention is worth a pound of cure” couldn’t be more true when it comes to negative app reviews. Take steps to respond to and resolve negative user experiences before you rack up low ratings and damning reviews.

Keep an eye on your social media accounts and follow any mentions of your app online. Beyond that, set up a support channel in your app if possible. This way, you can troubleshoot issues and respond to users quickly before bad feelings fester and make their way to the App Store, Google Play, and beyond. Be sure to include some quick troubleshooting tips in the app description.

As you’re troubleshooting customer service issues, look for trends and common complaints. These global user experience problems could potentially tank your app and certainly generate bad reviews fast. Fix bugs and other issues and then let users know about the solution with a quick push notification.

Damage Control 101

If you choose to respond to negative reviews (not an option in the App Store), do so from the position of wanting to help your users. Avoid becoming defensive and over-explaining what caused the problem. Instead, thank reviewers for their feedback, acknowledge their concerns, and state the steps you’ll take to solve the issue.

Be sure to leave a friendly comment once the issue has been resolved. Doing so ends the conversation on a positive note and shows other viewers that you care about your users and their experience.

You might also consider offering free credits or rewards to users who have had a bad experience. Set and stick to a policy about compensating upset users.

Removing bad reviews directly isn’t an option in the App Store or Google Play. Of course, this is mostly a good thing as it helps to maintain the credibility of user reviews. However, if you come across a review that’s inaccurate, spammy or abusive, it can be frustrating to watch the review just sit there and bring down your ratings. In this scenario, your best bet is to report the review and ask others to do the same.

This manual process takes a little time, so, be patient and follow the strategies we shared above to bring in more positive app reviews in the meantime.

Keep a lookout for Part 2 of our guide, which details how to generate strong ad revenue while maintaining positive reviews from users.