Using Rating Prompts in your Mobile App

Apple App Store Ratings and ReviewsWe seek to rate, judge, and qualify the experiences we have every day. We often place everything we do on a sliding scale that helps us explain to others how great or poor the experience was. Whether it’s movies, a book, a restaurant, a new experience, or just your usual Tuesday we have an answer for what we thought about it or how it went. When we ask, “How was it?” we expect an answer that will make up our mind on whether we should do it as well.

Due to our curiosity and inquisitive nature we seek to know how other people felt about things before we try them ourselves. For many experiences this is a survival technique, but for mobile apps it’s as simple as knowing if the app is worth 10 seconds to download and try out. The influence of ratings and peer reviews have grown and can noticeably effect the success of an app.

Ratings are often the first looked-at attribute of a mobile app and in a single second a potential customer will often decide, just based off the rating, whether or not to download the app. From the beginning of the published app lifecycle ratings play an immediate role in an app’s success.

The Controversial Rating Prompts

Alchemer Mobile (formerly Apptentive) Intelligent Rating Prompts

Apps rely on them, customers are annoyed by them. If used correctly they can increase your app’s rating and if abused can lose you customers. Rating prompts are a double-edged sword that can disrupt the customer experience, but are one of the best ways to get more ratings. Like every tool, there are ways for rating prompts to be used incorrectly, but when used correctly it is a win-win for everyone involved.

Why Rating Prompts Are Necessary

How often do you leave a positive review… for anything? After having an amazing meal at a restaurant or being blown away by a new film, how often do you take the time to write a positive review?

For mobile apps, it often doesn’t occur to people to leave a review for an application they enjoy, value, or rely on. However, a single unsatisfactory experiences such as “not redesigned for iOS 7” can result in a 1-star review. Critics are louder than satisfied customers and choose to use their voices more often. Prompts help level the playing field by reminding and making it easy for happy customers to rate.

Building an app that people love and are willing to leave a positive rating for is hard work, and the effort should be acknowledged. You have an audience that uses your app everyday, loves it, but still never takes the time to give you a review.
It’s your job to go out there and proactively reach out and lead your customers to action.

Sometimes all it takes to increase your ratings and reviews is a simple question asked in the right way and at the right time.

Wanderlust ratings prompt

Going one step further and asking a pre-qualifying question such as “Do you love [App Name]?” is a great way to understand how your customers feel before asking for a rating. This way, if a customer doesn’t love your app you can ask for feedback instead of asking for a rating. If they do love your app, then give them the option to go to your app’s page in the app store.

Best Practices for In-App Rating Prompts

Rating prompts needs to be tested and optimized just like any other feature, as there is no one size fits all solution for when and where to use them. Every app is different and as a result, customer behavior is unique to each app.

The first item you need to consider is the experience and flow of customer behavior for your app. When you set a rating prompt your first question should be, “If we place it here, will it be a disruption for my mobile customers?” If so, try to find another spot in your app to have a rating prompt appear. The last thing you want to do is to have a negative effect on keeping your customer engaged.

Even though every app is different, there are key questions that can help you figure out the best time to show the rating prompt:

  • How many times does it take for a customer to feel the value of your app?
  • What is an accomplishment or achievement in your app?
  • When you think about the lifecycle of your customer, at what point do they become an evangelist?

Knowing the answers to these questions will guide you to using your prompt at the correct time. However, testing is always important when trying to maximize results. Test for two weeks, collect the data, and make changes based on what you are seeing. Keep testing out different times for the rating prompt to appear in two-week cycles until you feel confident in its placement.

If you aren’t seeing an increase in reviews through a rating prompt it can mean one of two options. You may be being too conservative in surfacing the rating prompt. In this scenario, customers aren’t getting to the point in your app where the prompt is popping up. In the other scenario, you are surfacing the prompt at a time when the customer is engaged with your app and will the prompt more annoying than anything else. Just remember, testing makes perfect so don’t be afraid to experiment.

Here are a couple of points to keep in mind when setting your rating prompt:

  • DO NOT prompt the first time a customer launches an app. They haven’t experienced anything yet so don’t ask for a rating.
  • AVOID setting your rating prompt to appear when the app is launched, no matter how many times it has been opened before. When a customer opens your app they want to be use it, not rate it immediately.
  • DO prompt after a customer accomplishes a task or receives an achievement (i.e. Logs a workout, beats a level, or completes a purchase)

The more thoughtful you are around using your rating prompt the better the results will be.

The Alchemer Mobile (formerly Apptentive) Ratings Prompt is designed to help anybody with a mobile app get better ratings and reviews the correct way and leads unsatisfied customers to talk to you instead of going to the app store. In the crowded app ecosystem, the mobile app that leverages the voices of their customers will have the upper hand in the app store.

The Mobile Marketer's Guide to App Store Ratings and Reviews

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