Sometimes you interview members of the industry and you get back way more than you expect. I didn’t expect Tyler to respond with so much information or throw my way content that was so awesome (EPIC, in fact). Tyler is the YODA of reviews, and in this interview, he exposes all of those theories about reviews and reveals how important reviews really are in the algorithm. Tyler is the founder of www.appreview.me
With AppReviewMe, as an independent developer you can receive potentially unlimited reviews for your apps on the AppStore.
AppReviewMe uses a karma economy to determine your app’s exposure to receive a review from your peers. Karma is never purchased, and is earned by giving reviews. The more reviews you give, the more you receive.
1. AppReviewMe – http://appreview.me ”
2. AppReviewMe Karma Economy – http://appreview.me/karma-economy ”
3. AppReviewMe Algorithm – http://appreview.me/algorithm ”
4. AppReviewMe FAQs – http://appreview.me/faq ”
5. AppReviewMe in Under 3 Minutes [Video] – http://appreview.me/video ” ”
A:The biggest challenge is organically attracting your top users to write a review for you. Your top users not only love and use your app the most, but they can really speak to it on an emotional level. I believe this emotion can turn a good review into a great review through imagery and storytelling that naturally occurs when a user genuinely loves a product. ”
A: There is a lot of debate on this due to Apple’s constant undocumented changing of how App Store ranking works. As a result, the developer community is left to share their own data with one another trying to figure out what effects what inside the store. Here’s my general take on what affects rankings. ”
a. Number of installs weighted for the day combined with some the past week”
b. Number of user reviews for the current version (ratings and reviews)”
c. User engagement (aka. number of sessions)”
d. Sales from downloads and in-app purchases” ”
Easily the best example of this was Flappy Birds. Before it became a worldwide sensation and got the crazy downloads we dream about, it had two things going for it:
– Lots of user reviews.
Not just generic “great game”, but very intriguing reviews as many people gave 5-stars while giving a confession that often explained how the game was ruining their life. (I mean wouldn’t you download a game with that kind of review just out of pure curiosity?)”
– High user engagement.
Due to the addictiveness mentioned in the user reviews, the ranking moved up with the people opening the app trying to beat their terrible single digit top score. In time the number of installs came as they always will when you have an incredibly dedicated (also frustrated/addicted) user base who share their experiences with your app in the form of a user review. The rest is history.”
A: What’s really great about the AppReviewMe community is the mastermind collaboration that occurs between our users. One of our earliest members actually picked up the phone and asked Apple about this, here’s what they told him:
1. Positive Reviews carry more weight the longer the app is on a device”
2. The more user retention (revisiting the app), the more weight the positive rating has on ranking
3. If you delete the app in the first 24 hours it may not post to the App Store
4. App Reviews take 24 hours to post most likely because of #3
I don’t have data to prove that bad reviews hurt your ranking algorithmically, but it’s clear that if there is a trend of bad reviews, then your number of installs will naturally decrease due to “social rejection”.
– Apple’s Unwritten AppStore Rules: http://appreview.me/unwritten-appstore-rules ”
– How can I attract more positive reviews for my apps? [AppReviewMe Blog] – https://appreview.me/blog/how-can-i-attract-positive-reviews-apps/ ”
A: My take on this is, who cares, just always be working to get more reviews. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “healthy” download to review ratio. Like any business, every app has different attributes (RPI, user segments, total lifetime value of a user, etc.)
More positive reviews means more data for the App Store user, more social proof and thus more installs of your app. Most users are followers, and the number of reviews can help steer the majority of them on what app they should consider downloading.” ”
Q6: What will be the ideal “review” strategy for a small or new developer… where should they put their energy to achieve a maximum number of reviews?
Immediately after app launch, it’s important to get your first 5 reviews as quickly as possible. Apple will not show an average rating on your app until you hit the magic number of 5 for the current version of the app and it’s important to accomplish this immediately after launch.
Below are some of the top strategies to getting reviews:
1. Laser target your nag.
Nag only the right users at the right time with in-app popups.
Don’t just slap on an install of Appirator and hope you get some bites, as you may attract the wrong type of review.
Instead make sure the user has been using your app for a while before asking to rate the app. This ensures you’ll receive the right kind of review, nothing complicated here.
Where it gets tricky, is knowing when to ask. It’s best to nag right after the user has accomplished some kind of checkpoint in the app, but every app is different and as a developer you have to be smart about when and where to trigger this to achieve the desired outcome.
Guidelines on when not to nag:
1. Don’t ask at startup
2. Don’t ask in the user’s very first app session or even first 10…love for an app takes time.
3. Don’t ask when a user hits an action button expecting something else (pause,navigation, share, etc.)
4. Don’t be a pest, only ask once per app version
2. Humanize your nag.
Let the user know you are a real person. Tell your story in 1-2 short sentences when asking and let your personality show. It’s important to stand out from other apps, this can easily be done by letting them know there is a developer on the other end working hard for them.
This kind of personal touch leaves me wanting to help any developer by saying good things about the app, or conversely, I would be reluctant to leave a 1-star review as it would leave me with guilt. Personal touches make a huge difference in marketing and engaging users.
3. Build an email list.
Extend your interaction with the user outside of the app. There are many techniques on how to do this, but the point is that when a user is using your app, it’s not always a great idea to interrupt their workflow. Building a relationship with them outside of the app will lead to good things all around when it comes to future updates that need reviews.
4. Ask for reviews in your updated release notes [simplest solution].
When you update your app, Apple allows you to explain what changes you made in the latest version of the app. Don’t be that developer that just puts “bug fixes”, this is your time to let your personality shine and again remind users that you’re a real person working hard for them.
Explain to them that you read every review and that you appreciate any and all feedback. The more you update and react to the user feedback (aka reviews), the easier this will get.
As a bonus, this will be seen when they users is already in the App Store, and is just a link away from being able to leave a review.
5. For your first app…
I recommend asking your non-developer friends and family to provide these first 5 reviews for you. In my experience, you’ll find that they’ll be so happy to do this for you, but then quickly get annoyed, so just do this once.
To make this as easy as possible for them, I have found it useful to send email video instructions and templates on how to review the apps in the App Store.
6. Post-Launch Activities.
Once you get a few apps under your belt, you may want to reach out to other developers through strategic partnerships and social media outlets where you can exchange peer reviews. AppReviewMe exchanges the most daily reviews and is the best platform, but hey, I’m biased
Q7. What do you think is part of the success behind AppReviewMe?
A: Indie developers need more ways to get their apps discovered. I believe that we’ve created a fair way of doing this with our karma economy, and created a lot of value for indie developers.
Additionally, I am very active with our developer community. We ensure that we are always improving our platform just as our users are improving their own apps. Listening to them and giving the indie dev community what they need will always bring us success.”