How do you stand out in the app ecosystem?

Between Apple’s AppStore and Google’s PlayStore there are in total a whopping 5 million apps. What this amounts to is getting your app discovered, or appearing in the top 20 lists, in a sea of competition is becoming increasingly difficult for today’s up & coming startups and established marketing teams.

But don’t worry, help is here!

App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving the visibility of mobile apps. It is the equivalent of SEO but for app stores. Good ASO will lead to higher search results and top chart rankings, driving more app downloads.

Ratings and reviews have always been the biggest set off when it comes to discoverability and installs, and to this day remain the most important app metrics that marketers monitor.

Appstore ratings factor heavily into the Appstore search algorithm and are a fundamental component of:

  • Discovery
  • Downloads
  • In-app Purchases
  • Rankings
  • Updates

Instagram just shook the AppStore floor and got 3 Million + ratings in a week.

Let’s put those 3 million ratings into perspective.

Since its inception, Snapchat has accumulated only 336,877 ratings in Apple’s US Appstore.

Appstore Ratings
Graphed in Appbot

That’s just a mere 11% of what Instagram got this past week!

During the week of August 21st to August 28th Instagram released two versions of their app, justifying them with: “Bug fixes and performance improvements.”

Do bug fixes and performance rack up three million ratings?

Let’s look a the charts:

Appstore Ratings
Graphed in Appbot

Versions 11.0 & 12.0 account for the two newest updates, and based on the above data, the ratings on Instagram have skyrocketed.

If you have used Instagram to post a picture since the August 21st update, you probably saw a little pop-up that looked like this:

Appstore Ratings

A simple pop-up got them 3 million ratings and big boost in their average rating. 

Appstore Ratings
Graphed in Appbot

Today, Instagram stands out with 5,723,544 ratings with an average of 4.7Stars.

Is it right for you to add the pop-up?

This simple update might have just worked out because… well, it’s Instagram and they already had 800 million monthly active users.

What they did get right and what you should try to replicate is where they ask for the rating prompt. The pop up is placed at the aha! moment.

The aha! moment is that instant when the users gets what the app is all about, when the company communicates their unique value proposition through appinteraction. For this examples, it’s right after a picture is uploaded.

The placement is what I like most and what is really genius. The Instagram user just posted an amazing picture, he/she is anticipating the onslaught of likes and comments from their following. And then a tiny piece of friction is added, the moment of satisfaction is delayed. The user is likely to hit the stars just to make the pop up go away and return to the social media love fest they were waiting for. Honestly, could it get any better?

It’s much like how AirbnbEng succeeded with their referral program, asking for referrals from users at strategic moments, a moment based on data that shows when the user is most likely to actually refer new people to the app.

It’s not the first time I’ve seen a pop-up asking for a 5-star review, but it’s placement, and creativity intrigued me and had me thinking about how I could experiment in the space and as much replicate this behavior in my current and future projects.

To answer the question: yes, you should definitely consider a pop-up to boost ratings and reviews.

Why now:

Appstore Ratings

This month, Apple will be releasing their latest iOS update, which includes an all new AppStore.

“It’s the biggest thing to come to the App Store since apps.”

Is there something hiding in the new Beta Versions that made the Instagram team want to make this move? My guess is that there is, and they just took another big leap in their continued domination over Snapchat.

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