August 26, 2021

Google Play Ratings and Reviews Will Soon Be More Localized Than Ever

Major news for app developers! On Tuesday, Google announced that ratings and reviews will be localized by market starting in November 2021. This means users will see the app rating in their registered country (which is how iOS already works).

Up until now, Google Play ratings and reviews were calculated across markets, causing users to get a less-than-accurate idea of an app or game’s user satisfaction for their region. On many occasions, developers have complained that low ratings in one market caused the app’s total rating to take a dive. Fortunately, it seems those days will soon be over.

Google aims to recommend apps that perform best, using user ratings as a prime indicator of satisfaction and performance. As a result, an app’s reviews and rating play a major role in conversion.

Ratings also play a crucial part in determining if, when, and where an app will get featured in the Play store. Doing this helps it gain even more Explore traffic and users. If you’re thinking “the rich are only getting richer,” you’re right.

And it’s even more drastic when it comes to search results, where users can filter results to only show competitors with ratings higher than 4 or 4.5, causing a drop in search traffic for apps that don’t meet those requirements (which is also the case in the iOS App store)

Developers invest tons of time and effort into making sure users will be satisfied, so they obviously want the ratings and reviews to reflect their hard work.

Prompting users to give good reviews is a very important part of the app lifecycle, and optimizing that metric can boost conversion and increase installs.

One client we work with, a director of product marketing for an app that’s a leader in their vertical, says ratings and reviews are extremely important when it comes to marketing efforts.

“Ratings and reviews have a significant impact on our brand perception, awareness, and ultimately our ability to draw in new users. In our industry, word of mouth is still the key driver in bringing in new users. Users consider reviews very carefully before committing to download our app. That’s why we’ve put a lot of time and resources—including working with YellowHEAD—into figuring out how to get the best reviews and ratings from our most satisfied customers.”

Indeed, ratings can help developers reach powerful insights regarding their product. For example, from reviews, developers can learn what users really think about certain features and even get ideas for keyword targeting!

The client added that they rely on reviews, both good and bad, to drive product decisions. “Discovering common themes in what users do and don’t like about our product plays a huge role in how we operate as a product and determine what features to prioritize.”

And That’s Not All

Google is taking this one step further, and announced they will also start separating ratings by device (phones, tablets, Chromebooks, and wearables). Users will start seeing different ratings by device in early 2022.

This is great news for apps with large audiences on devices that aren’t mobile phones, since up until now, any rating changes on non-phone devices were easy to miss and because of the proportion of the app’s phone users.

Google already enables developers to gain numerous insights on ratings and reviews through the Google Play Developer Console (GPDC). If you still haven’t gone over the “ratings and reviews” section there, do it first thing after finishing this article. You’ll find plenty of important information there to help analyze the quantitative and qualitative data regarding your product’s user experience.

Data can be filtered by country, language, version, and most recently, device type, so you can better spot your hard work paying off on a specific device.

So, are you eager to see these changes come to life? Or are you afraid to harm your overall rating with this new localized rating program? Google “has your back” on this and is trying to calm developers down by giving them 10 weeks of advance notice, in case they see an app rating change greater than 0.2 in any of the app’s main markets (countries with more than 5% of an app’s overall page views).

Now more than ever, it’s crucial to make sure your app’s rating and reviews are going in your favor. Our team of ASO experts at yellowHEAD would be glad to help your business reach that 5-star rating! Talk to us!

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