Tips to increase and improve your app store ratings

Jan 26, 2024

“There’s an app for that.” What started as a phrase coined by Apple in 2009 to show the diverse array of apps available for iOS devices through the app store has now become a pretty literal representation of the modern app marketplace. With countless options available to users for every problem they look to solve with an app, the competition for attention is fierce. In this saturated market, users often turn to app store ratings and reviews to guide them through the sea of choices. 

The importance of app store ratings

As a collective voice of users, app store ratings and reviews play a vital role in the growth and success of an app. Ninety-nine percent of the top 100 grossing apps have ratings of 4 stars or higher. There’s a clear correlation between positive app store ratings and an app’s success. An app with an average rating of 3.9 could instantly start seeing an increase in downloads and improvement in app store rankings by nudging its rating up by just 0.1.On the other hand, negative reviews can adversely affect your average rating and reduce your app’s visibility in the app store. The accumulation of negative feedback can become a deterrent for potential users, detaching them from the promise of your app. To avoid this outcome, it’s crucial for app marketers to cultivate positive feedback from satisfied users and safeguard the brand’s reputation.

How to improve your app store rating

Enhancing your app store rating involves a strategic approach to how and who you ask for reviews as well as a continuous commitment to refining the user experience. To ensure you maximize positive feedback, consider the following proactive tips:

Improve the app experience


Probably the most obvious way of achieving better ratings is to offer a high-quality app that meets users’ needs and expectations. But it doesn’t matter how awesome your app is; there’s always room to improve the user experience.

Elevate your app’s performance by optimizing onboarding flows, adding highly requested features, introducing new design elements, and improving customer support. The possibilities for iterations are endless.

Your app needs to function seamlessly too, so it’s a good idea to put resources into regular updates, addressing bugs, and continuously refining the user experience. 

Use a pre-prompt message


Pre-prompt messages are a powerful yet often overlooked strategy for boosting your review score. While more commonly associated with requesting app permissions, this approach is equally effective for enhancing app store ratings.

The pre-prompt works by first gauging users’ satisfaction before officially asking for a review on the app store. For example, you can present users with an initial satisfaction question to determine if they’re enjoying the app without explicitly requesting a rating. 

If users indicate they’re enjoying the app, you can continue the messaging flow to the next screen and ask users to leave an official app store rating.

If a user responds negatively, you can delay asking them for a review. Instead, give them the option to provide feedback so you can understand what features they’re not enjoying and identify any problems they’re having—particularly if these are users you segmented and identified as engaged and satisfied.

The house-hunting app Realtor.com uses a pre-prompt in-app message to gauge customer interest and satisfaction. Only if the user responds positively to the first prompt do they receive the request to rate the app. The campaign is delivered to house hunters after they complete a high-value activity, such as favoriting a property listing.

This ensures users are only prompted for feedback after meaningful interactions and prevents interrupting their workflow in the app. The outcome? An impressive average rating of 4.7 from almost 900,000 reviews across the Google and Apple app stores.

Ask satisfied users for reviews


Generic, one-size-fits-all messaging is rarely the right approach for any campaign, and the same is true for soliciting app reviews. A blanket request for feedback can be counterproductive, especially when dissatisfied users are waiting for the perfect opportunity to publicly leave their negative feedback. Instead, leverage the available data on your customers to target engaged, loyal users and maximize positive feedback.

Segment your audience so only users likely to respond positively receive review prompts. Active, engaged users are typically more inclined to share positive experiences. Begin by defining what this user looks like for your app. You might base this on metrics such as the number of app sessions, time spent in the app, frequency of use, number of purchases, game levels completed, or another high-value action.

Once you’ve established the criteria for engaged users, you can start sending targeted messages to this specific segment. For instance, you might send an in-app message to users who have placed a minimum of five orders in the app or spent at least ten minutes in the app during the last three sessions.

By accurately defining what engagement looks like in your app, you can make informed predictions about which users are happy and likely to leave a positive review.

Optimize the timing of your request


Enhance the effectiveness of your review requests by optimizing the timing to align with moments that feel natural and non-disruptive for your users. You want to catch them when they’re feeling excited, grateful, or positive toward your app, so think about the exact moments when this is likely to occur.

Trigger your campaign to reach users at optimal moments, guided by their in-app behavior or significant milestones. Prompt users to review your app through a thoughtful push notification an hour after they’ve received a delivery from your food app, for instance. Or ask how they’re enjoying their experience after exploring a new feature, ensuring your requests align with positive user experiences.

Sending a rating prompt following a positive interaction, like advancing to a new level in a game or completing a course level in a learning app, makes sense since you know the user has just experienced a rewarding moment within your app.

Maximizing app store rating success


Collecting positive feedback from existing satisfied users should be part of every app’s marketing strategy. Apps with high ratings not only enjoy better visibility in the app store but also have a greater chance of attracting and converting new users.

The foundation for generating positive ratings lies in delivering a high-quality app that resonates with and excites users. Following this, asking satisfied users at opportune moments helps new users discover your app and eventually become reviewers in their own right.

For more insights on improving your app store rating, read our client case study—gain inspiration from a successful campaign and launch your own initiative to enhance user satisfaction and boost your app’s standing in the digital marketplace.

About the Author
Sarah is looking at the camera and smiling. She is a young white woman with long blond hair, wearing a black turtleneck.

Sarah Kelly

Sarah is a passionate marketing professional devoted to crafting thought-provoking content that fuels business growth and success. With over a decade of experience in the ever-evolving marketing world, she brings a strategic and data-driven mindset to her role as SEO.