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At I/O 2019, Google announced that there will be some changes regarding how an app's average rating is calculated. This news is both good and bad for developers. The good news? The new rating will display the app's current ranking and will rely less on unsuccessful past releases. (It’s happened to us all) )The bad news? Many apps will see their average rating drop as well as the number of downloads.
The previous average rating took into account ratings for all app versions. If the app received a lot of low ratings in the past, it was impossible for the app to hit a high average rating. Some developers even republished their apps to improve their average rating.
This will all change in August. The new average rating will be based on recent releases. If developers have gradually improved their product in new versions, it'll be easier for them to get a higher average rating.
ASO experts believe the ratio for ratings will now be based 90% on ratings from the past 30 days and 10% on all-time ratings.
You can already find the new Google Play rating in the Google Play Console:
If the app or game previously had high rankings but has hit a rough patch recently, the new rating in the console will be disappointing. For example, in a big marketplace:
If several recent releases have been hits, the new rating can go up. Remember that the app rating will occur in August.
There may not be much time until the change occurs, but there's still enough time for you to fix the situation. According to data by AppFollow, the app rating must be higher than 4.5* to avoid losing downloads. Apptentive's research confirms this.
The sooner you work on improving your rating, the fewer downloads you'll lose. Here are two ways to do that.
Replying to current reviews can help immediately alleviate the situation. Here's what you can do:
Set up rating requests to remind users to rate your game.
Update your replies to critical or negative reviews. For example, if you have resolved bugs in an update, reply to all the users that have complained about bugs. Yes, it's a time-consuming process, but this kind of personal approach will give users a reason to update their rating. And don't forget to ask them to re-rate your app.
Google suggests taking a more thorough approach to working on ratings. This approach is longer and more complicated, but you'll definitely impact user loyalty and retention. To that end, Google's experts suggest rating your own app on a few criteria:
Searching for the phrase "how to" yielded a list of reviews with these words. You can filter them further by rating or the review's sentiment. Source: appfollow.io
Clicking on a topic takes us to a list of relevant reviews. Source: appfollow.io
Obviously, the second approach won't yield fast results, but it will help you maintain and increase your rating in future releases. Just asking users to rate your app can result in immediate growth. But if nothing changes in your product, users will update their reviews with a negative rating.
The average rating is an important part of user acquisition. For better user conversion rates, it needs to remain above 4.5*. An update in Google Play is a chance to break free from past mistakes and attract new users to your awesome product. Start working on your average rating so you don't lose any new users starting in August.
This post originally appeared on the AppFollow blog