How to work with reviews in the App Store (and with negative ones too)

Original author: Liza Knotko
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Apple finally gave developers a green light: with the release of iOS 10.3, you can respond to user reviews and ratings. The new version, according to the company, eliminates bugs and greatly simplifies working with feedback.

In addition, Apple introduced a new API, which allows owners of iPhones and iPads to leave reviews and rate without redirecting to the Appstore application. Moreover, the company limited the annual number of review requests and ratings to three per application - this should reassure users who got endless reminders from the App Store.

Why App Store Reviews and Ratings Are Important

The App Store is clogged with apps, and every page of your product in the store matters in this difficult struggle. Although Apple is constantly changing search algorithms, reviews and ratings still have a big impact on search results, app conversion, and ad performance.

In general, applications that have at least 4 stars go up in the ranking. Moreover, a user survey from Apptentive showed that rating growth has a huge impact on the success of the application.

It's hard to overestimate the value of reviews when it comes to evaluating an application in iOS. About 13% of visitors to the App Store read at least seven reviews before installing applications, and this percentage rises to 33% in the case of paid applications.

How to monitor reviews and ratings

Application developers can access ratings in the My Apps section through Apple iTunes Connect. You cannot delete reviews, but you can respond to them.


iOS publishers should definitely hone the skills of polite but effective answers. By the way, previous answers can be deleted and modified.

In fact, even low ratings, complaints and negative reviews can be beneficial: it is an excellent source for identifying bugs and malfunctions.

How to work with reviews in the App Store without deleting them

There are several basic principles behind productive responses to reviews on the App Store (and removing critical reviews is clearly not one of them):

  • Adequacy: your answer should be fully consistent with the content of the review and start the process of positive communication
  • Consistency: Your answer should be concise and clear. It would be nice to develop the language of your brand, which will include understandable and user-friendly language.
  • Speed: prompt responses help maintain engagement and engage in direct dialogue with the audience. Once the problem that the user reported has been resolved, you can ask users to rate the application in the App Store or update the rating in the review.
  • Prioritization: it’s best to start with the lowest ratings and bad reviews, which indicate the technical problems of the latest version of your application. Remember that the time of the main release is a vital period for working with feedback.
  • Acknowledgment: Positive feedback also deserves your attention. Do not forget to thank users for their contribution to the development of the application.

Guidelines on the App Store

The terms of the Apple User Agreement impose certain restrictions on the work with reviews. For example, they prohibit profanity, the disclosure of personal data, and spam. In addition, it is strictly forbidden to offer users a reward for changing or deleting reviews or ratings.

If the user considers your answer to be unlawful, it may well be sent to Apple support - in some cases, there is even a chance of flying out of the program for developers.

How to remove reviews in the App Store.

No matter how seductive the removal of a review does not seem, doing this is prohibited. Developers should deal with problems identified in negative reviews, rather than trying to remove unwanted feedback.

When iOS publishers encounter inappropriate reviews that lower their ratings and violate Apple’s terms, all they can do is report a problem instead of trying to respond or delete those reviews on their own.

How to get feedback

Some developers do not like organic ratings and reviews, and they resort to paid sources. Of course, thousands of platforms offer fake reviews and help buy ratings on the App Store.

However, this approach coupled with the removal of reviews not only violates the Apple agreement, but also demonstrates a very controversial attitude towards users. No one likes being held by a fool. Therefore, when users see tons of positive reviews that do not correlate with the rating of the application and its age, they immediately determine that the matter is dirty and write such developers on the black list.

iOS developers should exclude the word “trick” from their dictionary. Honesty and openness should be at the core of your business. Therefore, instead of buying reviews and ratings or trying to remove the negative, improve your application and choose the right time to work with reviews.


How to understand what rating attracts users?

A high rating is cool, but it does not guarantee an unrealistic conversion. It always makes sense to check how important the rating is for your potential users - you need to understand whether it is worth investing actively in upgrading the rating on Appstore. In the end, the rating may not affect the decision of your target audience when it comes to the product page.

Another reason to experiment with the app’s rating is that it affects the TTR (tap-through rate) when you run search advertising. Which is better: have an average rating or release an update and run a campaign with a zero rating? Unfortunately, in the basic analytics of the App Store there is no answer to these questions.

You can check the impact of the rating on user behavior and conversion using A / B testing and comparing different results. For these purposes, there are many tools - for example, the same SplitMetrics .


If you are always ready to help your users, they will be more willing to give you a high rating, leave a good review and share your product with friends.

Simply creating great software is not enough right now - your product must be accompanied by a great user experience. Frauds such as removing negative reviews and fabricated positive reviews are unlikely to affect the user experience for the better.

The new system of ratings and reviews allows you to build a community around the application. In addition, it is a great source for communicating with the owners of iPhones and iPads and a way to demonstrate that you are proactive and play an honest game.

Thank you for the opportunity to publish a translation of the article by our friends Splitmetrics .

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