Google Play always seems to be tweaking its store algorithm: just recently they announced that engagement would also be a factor in ranking, not just download numbers and other factors they traditionally include. One thing that hasn’t seemed to change is the importance of user ratings and reviews. Developers have been able to respond directly to reviews via the Google Play Developer Console since 2013. We heard in January of this year that the ability to reply to App Store reviews is coming soon as well! While we wait for that to happen, let’s take a moment to examine why responding to user reviews is so important.
Useful source of feedback
Reviews on Google Play include basic information about the user’s device and the version of the game they have installed, so it’s easy to get some standard troubleshooting questions out of the way. You can also search for reviews by keyword, so if there is a specific issue in the current build of your game, and you want to follow up on those reviews to let the users know the issue has been fixed, it’s as easy as doing a search to locate the original reviews. You can also use the “Review Analysis” dashboard to see how reviews that mention common topics contribute to your game’s rating.
Make an impression
Responding in timely fashion lets your players know that you’re listening and that you’re responsive to feedback. For prospective users browsing reviews who are unsure about whether or not they want to try your game, they may feel more secure installing a game where the developers are active and involved.
Extension of User Support
Responding to common questions that come up in the reviews may seem tedious as you may receive multiples of the same question per day, but it serves more than one purpose: it gives the person who wrote the review an answer and other users with the same question may see your response and get an answer without having to write a potentially negative review!
Improve your rating
Sometimes when you respond to a user’s review, they may adjust their rating to a more favorable one. This shouldn’t be your only motivation for responding to reviews, and it doesn’t mean you should only reply to users who left 1 or 2-star ratings in hopes of getting a better rating. Users who leave constructive criticism, regardless of star rating, should be responded to if you have the resources to do so.
Know when to take it “offline”
Some issues need to be dealt with on e-mail or in other private communication due to security issues, or for more advanced troubleshooting. For instance, maybe someone needs help with a refund, but you don’t want them to expose personal info like their Google ID or Google Order Number. Let the user know in your response that you’re here to help, but you need them to email you with the requested information to do the refund. Also, not everyone who receives a response to their review will be satisfied with your feedback. To avoid arguing or escalating the situation, sometimes the best solution is to acknowledge their complaint and move on. Be sure to check the Developer Comment Posting Policy to make sure you’re compliant in your responses.
As you can see from the examples listed above, there are many reasons why it’s beneficial to check in on your ratings and reviews in the Developer Console. The marketplace for mobile games is very competitive, so any opportunity to potentially increase a player’s lifetime value should be seized, and that includes user support. This takes dedication, expertise, and commitment and not every development team has the experience or resources to manage user support. A publisher is especially well positioned to help as it can work across different games to maximize efficiency. At Thumbspire, we have considerable experience managing feedback from the user’s perspective through multiple channels (email, social media, reviews, and more.) We can also help you with providing feedback reports, FAQs, community building, content for social media, and whatever additional support your game requires to ensure that it makes the most positive impression and ultimately, a success.
Contact us to learn more!