Turning low star into high star reviews

A quick guide on how to handle App Store Reviews

For the past weeks I've been replying to App Store reviews with some great results. Here's what I learned.

5 star reviews
These are the best of course! When people are super excited about your app thanking them may seem like a good idea. But what are you going to say? Exactly, not a whole lot. It's important to keep in mind who are reading these replies. The person who wrote it and people considering getting your app. In both cases you are not going to add much with a "thanks!" reply. Be happy with a happy user and do your celebratory 5 star review dance. 

1-2 star reviews
Oh boy, this could be anything. From trolls to a serious bug you need to fix. If people are trolling, don't reply. It's unlikely you can salvage anything and there are better ways to use your time. I highly recommend the new season of Better Call Saul.

If it's a serious bug, fix it ASAP. If you can get it fixed and released in a week, hold off on replying. What's better than replying with an actual solution? This has turned low star reviews into glaring 5 star reviews for us.

Sometimes people overlook a feature or don't understand the pricing model. When we launched Wildfulness 2 last year there was some confusion over our in-app description. The way the in-app purchase was described lead to some people believing every scene was a separate purchase. It would have been great to simply reply and tell the app wasn't going to cost them 30 bucks 😀. Luckily other reviewers came to our aid and we later simplified the description in iTunes Connect.

3-4 star reviews
This too is a mixed bag. People are not completely angry at you and often offer insight into the problem they experience. You generally can use a more upbeat tone and throw in some emojis. Make sure that when you make a promise, to follow up on it relatively fast, or risk seeing it turned into a 1 star review.

What about old reviews?
You most likely released your app before you could reply to App Reviews. Imagine getting a reply to a support email you sent, 2 months later. That's unlikely going to solve anything and or make your feel better.

However, since we just got this new ability this is a bit of a transition period. At this time not many are used to receiving replies to their reviews. I generally don't respond to reviews older than 2 months. This is somewhat arbitrary I admit.

Setting expectations
If you reply to every review out there. Don't be surprised if it backfires. For one you will likely spend too much time replying instead of building and promoting. Future reviewers will expect a swift reply as well (see what I did there?). And some will try to use their review as leverage, demanding new features.

Ideally try to leave helpful replies in every important territory for your app. If you can reply in their native language, even better. But use Google Translate with caution or you might end up writing some very disturbing things.


Mark Hendriks