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Should You Worry About Negative Reviews Of Your App?

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Posted 17th April 2014 at 06:48 AM by MobiDev



The section of reviews on application stores makes an interesting read for a curious mobile visitor. We are always interested in what's bad about the product we want to purchase: be it a mobile device, a mobile app, headphones or whatever. These drawbacks may influence our final decision, whether to make this purchase or not.

The main reasons for negative reviews are quite obvious: it's when people get less than they expected: either the app has a bad user interface, it provides a worse experience than the user expected; or it's overcomplicated and difficult to navigate. Or maybe the app has bugs and crashes on some particular device model (courtesy of Android) or crashes while performing a particular feature. Whatever is the case, the result may be shown to all the world on the page of your app on the store.


Negative reviews are ones that contain criticism of the app. They may rate your app with 4 (or even 5) stars, so to say, in advance, with expectations of that one little change for better; what's more, they provide information on what's wrong with it. Not that this info is always valuable; but there's good reason to track and right these wrongs. The other side is suggestions: when users find your app great, but they express wishes that would make it better for them.

Let's take a look at regular shoppers: according to stats by Econsultancy (dating back to 2013), for only 4% of consumers one negative review is enough to abandon the idea of purchasing the reviewed product. However, for 24% of them it's 2 reviews, and for 39% it is 3 reviews. Is it all that bad for software owners who get negative reviews? Not quite. Critic feedback helps make a product better from the very beginning - the development/testing stage.


Testing Stage: The Beginning

Testing of a software product is all about finding problems with usability and bugs, which eventually get eliminated. Of course it's done before deployment and availability for mass audiences, but it's the first occurrence of this kind. The information you get during this stage is priceless. Relevant negative feedback will be just as priceless after the deployment. An identified mistake is an opportunity to make the product better for the existing and future users. Every effort put into testing is worth it.


Reviewers Actually Care

Here your app is on the app store, getting ratings and reviews. The praising ones will encourage you to keep going and treat things as they are; meanwhile the criticizing reviews, although initially disturbing, should encourage you to make the product better. And here's the truth: your app will receive negative reviews. This risk cannot be prevented, and it's natural. No one would believe that the app is flawless. Every major app has had it share of criticism, and will receive it overtime. We all continue getting updates with the same word 'bugfixing' in the 'What's New' section. Now the questions are, why they appear, and how to treat them for your benefit and for the good reputation of your mobile product.

Constructive criticism in a feedback shows a healthy sign: the user actually cares about the app, and found the time and will to write the opinion. It's better than losing silent users who come and go, and you don't find out what's wrong. Feedback enables you to react with app updates and fixes.


Respond To Criticism And Get Benefits

Just like software owners must think like future users while designing and developing a product, they must think the same when they conduct post-release support and maintenance, they must know the users' point of view, consider it, and therefore build a kind of collaboration. Pay special attention to recurring reasons for criticism, which can help you substantially improve your app. How can you respond? There are several ways:

1. The obvious way to respond to bugs is actually fixing them with an update. Don't forget to mention the fixed issues in 'What's New' and perhaps in the description, to assure the readers that the problem is no longer a problem, and express thanks for the attention paid.

2. Preventing bad reviews is also possible. Some of them concern such mishaps as weak Wi-Fi signal, or the background work, which may cause such a negative response as ''the app drains battery in a while''. Just make sure to alert potential users of possible troubles in the description. Add the ways of troubleshooting. Because these are not bugs - this is the way your app works.

3. Unlike other app stores, Google Play has recently allowed developers to reply to reviews.

4. To conclude, a review that doesn't hold an ounce of meaning, can be simply ignored. Especially if there's lots of positive reviews around.


If suddenly asked, what's better - positive or negative reviews - it would take anyone a second to say ''surely positive''. They can become a natural incentive, a reason for an interested user to check whether the app is really that great. Apart from that, the practical use of reviews that contain no criticism is hardly visible. The strength of positive reviews lies in numbers; the strength of negative ones is in quality. Feedback can help you keep the app's shape and stay competitive on the market, and this main benefit is in your hands.

See more:
How To Attract More Users To A Mobile App
What You Need To Know About App Store Optimization
Do App Download Numbers Really Matter?
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