5 star rating illustration
January 21, 2020

The Importance of 5-Star App Ratings

Mobile Application Testing

5-star app ratings can make the difference between success and failure for mobile app developers. Here, we cover why they're important — and what it takes to build 5-star apps.

What Are Some 5-Star App Examples?

Current 5-star apps in the Apple App Store in 2020 include:

  • Hulu.
  • Twitter.
  • Starbucks.
  • Target.
  • Calm.

5-Star App Ratings Are Important

A 5-star app rating is important for many reasons.

Mobile app developers and their brands are experiencing a chicken or the egg scenario: Popular apps that top charts are downloaded the most, but apps can only become popular if they are downloaded to begin with. This means that businesses need to find a way to become popular with fewer downloads.

Enter the 5-star review. Developers get carpal tunnel trying to achieve it. And users search the ends of the earth looking for apps that are reviewed well. But, what does a 5-star review even mean? Does it actually help a mobile app get more installs?

In short, a high rating attracts users, and yes, great reviews contribute to the number of times an app is downloaded.

5-Star Apps Rank Higher on Store Lists

The better the reviews, the more likely it is for a mobile app to top the charts on Google Play and the App Store.

According to Apptentive, 88% of the Top 100 Android apps are rated higher than four stars, while 51% of the Top 100 iOS apps were rated similarly.

This has to do with the algorithms being used. So, the more stars, the higher apps will chart.

Venturebeat contributor Michael Silverwood explained Apple's App Store's system for ranking mobile apps. Keep in mind that Apple never disclosed the actual algorithm, and therefore, this should be taken with a grain of salt.

Regardless, Silverwood wrote:

"Ranking = (# of installs weighted for the past few hours) + (# of installs weighted for the past few days) + REVIEWS (star rating + number of reviews) + Engagement (# of times app opened etc.) + Sales ($)."

This means that reviews are — by Silverwood's estimation — worth 25% of list ranking placements.

5 Star Bars


Users Search For 5-Star Apps

Of course, top lists are the only way that mobile device users find new and interesting apps. According to a Google survey conducted on 8,470 smartphone users over the age of 18, 40% of these individuals discover mobiles by simply browsing through app stores.

Additionally, Google researchers noted that 25% of mobile apps are found through search engines, as users typically look for opinions on apps before committing to downloading them.

Many highly-rated apps tend to be mobile games. That makes reviews on productivity, shopping, and social apps more important — as they stick out in a sea of freemium games.

Good Reviews Equal Downloads

Brand interactions drive the need to create mobile apps. So, at the end of the day, 5-star ratings should contribute to installs.

The good news is that there is a correlation between high ratings and downloads, according to Robi Ganguly, CEO of Apptentive. In a contribution to The Huffington Post, Ganguly wrote that apps with two stars are downloaded approximately 50,000 times, while those with four-star reviews are installed an average of 270,000 times.

It's clear that good reviews directly impact user engagement, downloads, and general interest in mobile apps.

So, what does it take to get 5-star app ratings? 

How to Get 5-Star App Ratings

Here are some things you'll need to do when building and testing an app to make sure you get 5-star ratings.

Make Sure Your App Works

This may seem obvious. But it is advice every enterprise mobile team would agree with:

Make sure your app works before you send it to the app store — especially if you want a 5-star app rating.

But what does having the "app work" really mean? And is it enough to get a 5-star app rating?

Go Beyond Functional Tests

Of course an app needs to pass all functional tests and deliver a solid user experience. But are you doing rigorous performance testing on real devices against all network and end-user conditions, and monitoring app usage once it's live?

If glitches are discovered in production, is there a fast feedback loop to developers so they can do fixes for the next release? Are you doing unattended automated testing or manual tests? Are you using a cloud-based smart testing lab or is your testing still a device-in-hand process?

The answers to these questions will determine whether your mobile app works on every possible device and operating system when it hits the app store — which is key for 5-star apps.
 

5 Stars

Leverage Test Automation

But most businesses aren't there yet. You'd think they'd prioritize getting a 5-star app rating. You'd also think test automation would be the norm. Mobile app quality affects the bottom line. And beloved open-source test frameworks like Selenium and Appium have found a home inside testing teams.

But surprisingly, test automation is not the norm. The latest world quality report from consulting firm Capgemini shows that only 28% of test cases globally are automated.

To keep up with mobile market demands, dev and test teams need to be Agile. You can't be Agile and do only manual testing. There's simply not enough time.

Automation is a MUST HAVE if your company does app releases every few weeks. Automated tests can be done quickly and be repeated at no additional cost. Test automation also allows a company to test many devices and platforms simultaneously through one script. Overall, test automation benefits are numerous.

As a result, this boost in test coverage means your team will get more tests executed earlier and prevent app defects from making it into production. Oh, and your chances of becoming a 5-star app just went up.

In the end, if your team wants to avoid the brand-damaging two-star reviews and angry customer tweets that have afflicted major airlines, banks, and retail chains, it'll take a strategy that uses at least 75% automated testing and challenges the app with performance testing on real devices with real user simulation on an always-on, cloud-based lab.

Test Your Future 5-Star App

Test automation is key to building 5-star apps. And Perfecto can help you do it. 

Perfecto offers solutions for mobile app test automation. This includes continuous testing and a cloud-based testing lab. 

See for yourself how Perfecto will help you improve test coverage, go beyond functional tests, and make sure your app works great. 

Try Perfecto

 

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This blog was originally published on September 19, 2018 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.