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How to Increase Ratings & Reviews with the iOS Ratings Prompt

How to Increase Ratings & Reviews with the iOS Ratings Prompt

How to Implement the iOS Rating Prompt

This week, we’re happy to host a guest post from Tim Jones, Founder & CEO of at LaunchMatic, an app screenshot design automation tool, and former Product Growth Manager at Keepsafe Software.

The iOS Rating Prompt Apple released in 2017 is a no brainer for developers looking to acquire quality ratings at scale. Instagram made the headlines when they acquired 1.7 million ratings after they integrated the prompt, doubling their total ratings within a single week.

Why ratings are important in 2019

Ratings are still incredibly important for your app’s growth. According to data pulled by AppTweak on the top 500 iOS apps in the US, they found that on average apps with high ratings rank 25 spots higher than medium apps, and rank a whopping 60 spots higher than low rated apps.

Impact of ratings on app rankings

That’s not all. It’s also known that ratings have a large impact on your conversion rate, which has influence over other variables. Marie-Laure mentions in the article above:

“Reviews and Ratings have a direct impact on your app’s conversion and the higher your conversion on a keyword, the higher you can hope to rank on it.”

The Rating Prompt has also made high quality ratings much easier to acquire. According to data pulled from AppTweak, the top 100 in the US App Store are made up of mostly high rated apps.

Ratings of the top 100 apps in the app store

In this article I will talk about Keepsafe Photo Vault’s path to 100,000 5 star ratings within a year using a simple framework that works for any app regardless of its category.

iOS Rating Prompt Implementation Framework

The framework is broken down into 4 components:

  • 👤 Who sees the prompt
  • ⌚ When in a user’s life-cycle the prompt is shown
  • 📍 Where during an app session the prompt pops up
  • 🔂 Cadence users see the rating prompt after the first time

👤 Who: Target Activated Users

Your app was built with a promise: to lose weight, to save money, or to get better sleep to name a few. Your users become activated once your product delivers on the value that it promised. Using the examples above, these values could be: losing 5 pounds, saving your first $100, or 3 nights in a row of incredible sleep.

Targeting this cohort of users is important when figuring out who to show the Rating Prompt to, as your activated users have experienced your product value and are more likely to convert to giving a high rating.

At Keepsafe Photo Vault, we determined that a user was activated once they had imported a certain amount of content into the app. The completion of this event lead to many other high-value engagement events in addition to much higher retention.

You can learn more in Niel Patel’s User Activation writeup.

When: Deliver before your users churn

Churn. A word dreaded by many an industry, with no exception to mobile. Looking at Netigate’s definition:

“Customer churn is when an existing customer, user, player, subscriber or any kind of return client stops doing business or ends the relationship with a company.”

With regards to the Rating Prompt, you want to target your activated users before they churn. The longer you wait, the smaller the cohort will become as more users disappear. Make sure to show them the prompt soon after their activation event.

In the case of apps with high churn rates or no insight into user activation, try to show the prompt after the user has acquired value from your product. This could be as early as day 2 or 3 depending on the app. Expect a low conversion rate and a slightly lower average rating.

For Keepsafe, we chose to show the prompt later in the user lifecycle, but before a majority of users churned. Once we determined a user was activated, they would begin seeing the prompt more than a month after initially installing. With this implementation we saw that, while our cohort of users was smaller due to churn, our conversion rate and average star rating dramatically increased.

📍 Where: Don’t interrupt the user’s mojo

Apple native rating prompt

This defines where in the app your user first sees the prompt. The general rule of thumb is to not detract from an action or value the user is attempting to gain.

If the prompt is the first thing a user sees when they open the app then you are putting yourself between the user and the value they are trying to get. Instead, show the prompt after a user has experienced value in the app. This could be after a high-dopamine action like beating a level, creating and sharing a photo, or getting a paid feature for free.

Beware prematurely asking, though. For content creation applications such as photo & video editors, the user may only get value from the content they create after they share it. Showing the prompt to users prior to sharing may interrupt that experience and result in the user dismissing the prompt.

At Keepsafe our activated users continually gain value by viewing their content, so we show the prompt after users have completed that action. In order for us to determine completion, we wait on showing the prompt until they navigate from a photo album back to the home screen.

🔂 Cadence: Don’t wait

When to show the ios rating prompt

You can only show the prompt 3 times a year so choosing when to show your 2nd and 3rd prompt is incredibly important. You should be just as cognisant of your churn rate here as, again, your churn will naturally decrease the amount of users you can target the longer you wait.

While you have complete freedom to customize where your 2nd and 3rd prompts show, I suggest rehashing the implementation you used for your 1st prompt. The consistent placement will help you get a rough performance benchmark to compare against in the future.

At Keepsafe we set our 2nd and 3rd prompts to appear 2 weeks after the previous was shown. Knowing our churn rate and the frequency we saw users starting sessions, this was the ideal method to limit the amount of prompts while also targeting users before they churned.

Summary

  • 👤 Target activated users who fully understand your app’s value
  • ⌚ Show before they churn to maximize returns
  • 📍 Don’t interrupt the user while they are attempting to attain value
  • 🔂 Keep consistent placement and be aware of churn rates

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