Mar 1, 2013

ratings, reviews & efforts

Before I started being a developer with a published app, I was an App Store customer. What factors were forming my decision to buy or download an app? One important factor are the ratings and reviews that an app gets from its customer. But even though ratings and reviews have a strong impact on the decision of the customer whether to buy an app or not, only a very small percentage of customers rate and review in return.

I don’t know the exact numbers, but I’d assume that, let’s say compared to Ebay, the review rate is indeed very low! On Ebay, which is admittedly a slightly different IT ecosystem, seller and customer both benefit from the reviews. As a customer on Ebay I rate the seller in order to get a review in return. That is my benefit as customer and it gets me over the effort of writing a review.

The effort of reviewing an app in the App Store is small. But it takes more time than most customers are willing to spend without getting something in return. Hence some apps come up with rating requests as iOS alerts to increase the number of ratings. I got constantly annoyed by these rating alerts and canceled them. What was my benefit? I’ve already bought the app.

flip-o-matic app store review screenshot [ SEP 23, 2012 ]

Though by submitting an app my perspective has changed.
When Flip-O-Matic received the first written reviews it had a huge impact on my motivation as a developer. Some people I didn’t know, actually liked what I’ve been doing. It felt awesome. For independent developers, the motivation to continuously improving the app is largely drawn by customer reviews. And this benefits the reviewer in return. That means that customer really should consider writing reviews.

Now I’m seriously considering using iOS alerts to remind (and probably annoy) the customer to review my app. After reading this article I hope you will understand why it is worth the effort to follow the request.

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