At this year’s Google I/O conference, big changes were announced around how Google Play Store app ratings work. These changes are similar to the changes ushered in by iOS 11 two years ago. Now, in both app stores, review recency matters more than ever before. And that means being able to identify and activate your fans is more important than it’s ever been.
First, here are the two major ratings-focused changes that were announced:
- The average rating calculation for apps will be updated for all Android apps on Google Play. Instead of a lifetime cumulative value, the app’s average rating will be recalculated to give more weight to the most recent ratings. Pro: This update will allow customers to see a more accurate state of the app, including bug fixes and new features that provide a better experience, as experience over the years is not taken into account when determining the app’s rating. Con: The change also means that high-quality apps that have not released recent updates will now have a rating that potentially reflects a current state of decline.
- Google will now offer suggested replies to make it easier for publishers to respond to and improve reviews. When publishers respond to a review, they’ll now see three suggested replies created automatically based on the content of the review (still with the option to create personalized message from scratch).
Similar to Apple’s iOS 11 ratings updates, we were excited when we first heard that Google’s focus is shifting to make the ratings and reviews process easier and more transparent. With our mission to give every customer a voice, we’ve long played a hand in helping companies understand when fans are ready to rate the company’s app in the app store. In general, these updates provide a much better experience for people who use Android apps and help turn the current one-way feedback abyss into a two-way feedback loop between customers and brands.
For both iOS and Android customer bases, brands now need to be able to control pacing around how often they prompt for feedback, thoughtfully decide where the prompts are triggered, and place more weight on ensuring their mobile app’s experience is customer centric. The Google Play Store changes reward brands for correct pacing of prompts and listening to their customers, but just like the Apple mechanism, it’s opaque.
To continue our quest to build a digital world where all customers have a voice and transparency wins, we need your help. We created the form below to collect information around what brands are already experiencing from the Play Store changes, specifically looking at current app ratings and the new “suggested forecast” ratings shown in the beta program, which is now available to all users.