Apple’s App Store and Google Play have been neck to neck, with 2.2 and 2.8 million apps for download respectively. Both big-name brands have been striving to set the tone for developers and marketers hoping to break through the clutter with the “next big app.” … And on March 27th, Apple just tightened the race even more. Since 2013, Google Play has supported a feedback platform where app developers can request additional information from customers who rated their app. Apple originally limited the feedback loop in hopes of reducing the amount of customer service requests mistakenly filtering through the App Store. Their latest iOS release, however, debuted an entirely new app rating and feedback model that improves the customer and developer experience.
Why marketers should care?
If your target audience has mobile phones, you need to care about this. According to Smart Insights, apps account for 89% of mobile media time. This means that the majority of time your customers spend on their phones is inside an app. Additionally, most app usage helps customers solve a real task: order groceries, navigate, find transportation, purchase movie tickets – you get the idea. Reliable feedback about how their app is performing allows marketers to understand whether their app is valuable and invest dollars to support its functionality or invest those same dollars elsewhere.
Realizing that customers are consistently using apps and expecting them to solve their day-to-day problems gives marketers another important tool when creating a holistic marketing experiences that engages their most valuable audience. Knowing how well your output is serving that audience is priceless. While you may hope your app is serving a need, knowing where you are doing well and where you are falling short can dramatically improve your adoption and usage metrics … which ultimately impacts your bottom line. Consistent, relevant, and clear feedback is as important for your brand as traditional data and analytics insights. Even a handful of thoughtful, qualitative reviews can provide key customer insight into areas of improvement.
How the new feedback system works:
Thankfully, Apple’s new feedback system helps you get there. Now, when customers complete a rating, developers can request additional information and ask questions to generate actionable feedback rather than just static comments. They can also reply to negative feedback or issues directly within the app to encourage goodwill and build a positive relationship. This allows developers to clarify confusing comments and get to the heart of the issue, rather than simply managing a flood of customer service crisis. The new system also limits the number of times developers can ask for feedback or a rating about an app in order to improve the overall customer experience for users who don’t want to participate in the feedback process.
These simple updates illustrate the important trade off of earned value (presumably from your app) and information from your customers. Most marketers believe you shouldn’t ask for information – whether that’s a review or an email address – until you are providing a clear benefit in exchange for that information. This model champions that natural give and take and will hopefully improve the quality of data developers are receiving while improving the overall customer experience. App customers now know that ratings can be used to improve their overall experience and will hopefully be more inclined to share bug fixes and customer service insight for a holistic feedback loop.