The app market competition is increasing by the day. Be it any industry – lifestyle, gaming, eCommerce or any other, apps are having a tough time establishing their name in the mobile sphere. Acquiring users as well as retaining them is today one of the biggest challenges for app developers and marketers. But the first and foremost thing that apps need to do for sustainable growth, is to nail their app store optimization.
In this post, we’ll be talking about how referrals and reviews play an important role in ASO today.
The importance of App Store Optimization (ASO)
ASO is similar to how you want your website to be ranked on the search engines with effective SEO measures. Amongst the many apps in the market, ASO helps your app become searchable for the keywords and the category you want it to be known for.
As Ryan Kelley explains in his answer on Quora, apps can’t just launch and expect themselves to become discoverable. Certain efforts, apart from marketing campaigns, need to be made to become visible in the eyes of the target market.
The role of app reviews in ASO
We all know how important the customer’s perspective is in the development, optimization and growth of an app. This is where a first hand feedback from them comes handy. In app stores, this feedback comes in the form of app rating and reviews.
These ratings and reviews provide the developer with valuable information about the target market, and what they expect from the app. This helps create an effective roadmap or strategy for the app post launch. Be it fixing existing bugs, enhance popular features or introducing a new one on popular demand.
But apart from that, as Gummicube points out, Apple and Google both use app store reviews as well as ratings in their search ranking algorithms. The greater number of reviews and the better the ratings, the higher your app ranks in its search category.
For instance, apps that continue to remain trending or at the top of search results, make getting reviews or ratings from users a part of their app flow. Some even go beyond this to incorporate reviews from popular names in their app store description.
Kim Kardashian West’s Forbes featured app is a perfect example of the same. It includes reviews from popular names like E! Online, Marie Claire and more in its app description itself.
Rating and reviews are important aspects of app store optimization as:
- They act as metadata for search and help categorise your app better in the store. According to a post on TechCrunch, app stores are now focusing on search relevancy. In simpler words, user feedback now influences the discovery of an app.
- They serve as a social proof to potential users. When a user sees an app that has better reviews and ratings from another app that offers the same features, he is more likely to choose that one.
The one thing to remember here, though, is that the ratings and reviews should not look forced. Make it like a task that is required to be completed to use a feature of the app, or make it a point to suggest dropping a review only after the user has moved along his lifecycle.
The role of referrals in app growth and ASO
Continuing on the point above, offering a great user experience should be the primary goal of app developers and marketers. The happier a user is with the app and what it offers, the more likely he is to recommend the same in his circles.
Knowing that millennials are more likely to respond on recommendations than outreach, app marketers need to make referral campaigns a part of their marketing and growth strategies.
The more your app is able to leverage from word-of-mouth marketing, the stronger is your user acquisition. The greater the number of users, the better the app store optimization. Think about it, which app are you more likely to download – one with millions of users or the other that barely has a few hundreds?
Apart from that, you’re more likely to get more ratings and reviews as well, that will boost your search optimization. The only things you need to ensure is that it is easy for users to invite their friends to the app and you continue to optimize as well as deliver a great user experience.
Having an in-app referral campaign helps you:
- Boost the app’s brand awareness in the target market.
- Greater the app’s awareness, the more is the user acquisition at lower costs and the more optimized are the marketing budgets.
- Helps create personalized campaigns and experiences for users, increasing the retention rate of your app.
- All in all, it improves your app store rankings while growing you in the mobile market!
But it doesn’t have to be difficult for the app developers to tap into the potential of referral marketing. Companies like GetSocial offer tools like Smart Invites, that enable a user to invite his friends to the app using popular chat apps and social media – all without having to switch multiple apps for the same.
For instance, games like Ruzzle Adventure have integrated the tool into the app to make it easy for players to invite their circle without having to leave the game. A few clicks and they are ready to have their own social circle on the app!
Over to you
A great in-app experience isn’t just important to keep the users engaged and hooked to your app. With the app stores making relevancy of prime importance for discoverability, it is also important to make what your users are saying about your app an integral part of its app store optimization.
Disclaimer: This is a guest blog post by Vanhishikha Bhargava, Content Marketer at GetSocial.im. Vanhishikha has 4+ years experience as a digital and content marketer, and her focus is to create educational content that informs about the importance of user acquisition, retention and monetization.