Developers
August 24, 2020

Google’s In-App Review System: Why You Should Be Using It

Google’s in-app review API is an important tool for every Android developer.

When it comes to mobile apps, reviews are king. Enough good reviews can send an app’s popularity into the stratosphere, while enough bad reviews can keep an app from ever taking off.

For many developers, however, figuring out how to get good reviews is still a mystery. Others make the mistake of thinking that if their app is good enough, a myriad of rave reviews will automatically come pouring in.

The fact is, like anything else in development, there are tools to help developers get good reviews. One of those tools is Google’s new in-app review API.

The Importance of Good Reviews and Mistakes Developers Make

According to Dimensional Research, some 90% of individuals who remember reading online reviews said those reviews influenced their purchasing decision. Similarly, 86% said their decisions were influenced by negative reviews.

It’s not just the quality of reviews people look for. According to Capterra, 64% of people want to read at least six reviews before buying software.

In addition to helping people make a decision about whether or not to download an app, a wealth of reviews can also improve its visibility. Apps that have hundreds and thousands of positive reviews rank higher in their respective app stores, and are more likely to be spotlighted and promoted. As a result, enough positive reviews can have an almost self-sustaining impact on an app’s popularity and sales. The more positive reviews it has, the more attention it gets which, in turn, leads to more sales and positive reviews.

Even negative reviews can be a big help to software developers. Regardless of how much testing, both internal and beta testing, a developer does, there is no way to prepare for all eventualities. Nothing tests an app like real-world use by thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of users. The feedback, including potentially negative reviews, can be invaluable in addressing issues and making improvements.

Unfortunately, many developers make one mistake after another when it comes to actually getting good reviews. Some developers make the mistake of being too passive when it comes to reviews, counting on people to take the time to review their app based solely on its quality. Others are far too aggressive in asking for reviews, alienating the very users they rely on. Still others make it too difficult to review their software, requiring the user to go to the Google Play store to complete the process.

Google’s New In-App Review API

Google’s new in-app review API is designed to address all of these issues. First and foremost, the API is designed to let users review an app without ever leaving it to go back to the App Details page.

The API offers a number of additional features. In addition to public reviews for released apps, the API also allows for private reviews for apps that are still in beta.

Google’s API also makes it easy for developers to choose when to prompt a user for a review, although they provide a word of caution:

”We believe the best time to prompt your users is when they have used the app enough to be able to provide thorough and useful feedback. However, be sure not to interrupt them in the middle of a task or when their attention is needed, as the review flow will take over the action on the screen.”

Google also took steps to ensure the API is not abused by over zealous developers:

”Because the best feedback is honest and unbiased, we designed the API to be self-contained and not require additional prompting other than to invoke the API. We’ve also placed cap limits to ensure that users won’t be prompted excessively should they choose not to leave a review.”

Developer Feedback

Google was able to get feedback from developers in the early-access program and their input well illustrates the benefits of the new API.

“It was quick and easy to integrate with the new In-App Review API changes, and we saw an almost immediate increase in positive ratings and reviews after releasing those changes.”

— Chris Scoville, Engineering Manager at Calm

“The in-app review API allows our customers to rate without leaving the application. Our 5-star ratings since implementing the API has increased by 4x.”

— Nathaniel Khuana, Technical Architect, Tokopedia

“We saw our all-time highest rating just a week after we implemented in-app reviews."

— Welly Chandra, Associate Product Manager at Traveloka

Conclusion

Google’s in-app review API is a welcome addition to the available tools for Android developers. In fact, while Google has been rolling out features to make developers’ lives easier, in-app reviews has consistently been one of the top-requested items.

Google has taken the time to implement this API in a manner that will provide the most benefit and help developers connect with their users.

TagsIn-App Review SystemReview APIDevelopersAndroid
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

Related Articles

Back
DevelopersAugust 24, 2020
Google’s In-App Review System: Why You Should Be Using It
Google’s in-app review API is an important tool for every Android developer.

When it comes to mobile apps, reviews are king. Enough good reviews can send an app’s popularity into the stratosphere, while enough bad reviews can keep an app from ever taking off.

For many developers, however, figuring out how to get good reviews is still a mystery. Others make the mistake of thinking that if their app is good enough, a myriad of rave reviews will automatically come pouring in.

The fact is, like anything else in development, there are tools to help developers get good reviews. One of those tools is Google’s new in-app review API.

The Importance of Good Reviews and Mistakes Developers Make

According to Dimensional Research, some 90% of individuals who remember reading online reviews said those reviews influenced their purchasing decision. Similarly, 86% said their decisions were influenced by negative reviews.

It’s not just the quality of reviews people look for. According to Capterra, 64% of people want to read at least six reviews before buying software.

In addition to helping people make a decision about whether or not to download an app, a wealth of reviews can also improve its visibility. Apps that have hundreds and thousands of positive reviews rank higher in their respective app stores, and are more likely to be spotlighted and promoted. As a result, enough positive reviews can have an almost self-sustaining impact on an app’s popularity and sales. The more positive reviews it has, the more attention it gets which, in turn, leads to more sales and positive reviews.

Even negative reviews can be a big help to software developers. Regardless of how much testing, both internal and beta testing, a developer does, there is no way to prepare for all eventualities. Nothing tests an app like real-world use by thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of users. The feedback, including potentially negative reviews, can be invaluable in addressing issues and making improvements.

Unfortunately, many developers make one mistake after another when it comes to actually getting good reviews. Some developers make the mistake of being too passive when it comes to reviews, counting on people to take the time to review their app based solely on its quality. Others are far too aggressive in asking for reviews, alienating the very users they rely on. Still others make it too difficult to review their software, requiring the user to go to the Google Play store to complete the process.

Google’s New In-App Review API

Google’s new in-app review API is designed to address all of these issues. First and foremost, the API is designed to let users review an app without ever leaving it to go back to the App Details page.

The API offers a number of additional features. In addition to public reviews for released apps, the API also allows for private reviews for apps that are still in beta.

Google’s API also makes it easy for developers to choose when to prompt a user for a review, although they provide a word of caution:

”We believe the best time to prompt your users is when they have used the app enough to be able to provide thorough and useful feedback. However, be sure not to interrupt them in the middle of a task or when their attention is needed, as the review flow will take over the action on the screen.”

Google also took steps to ensure the API is not abused by over zealous developers:

”Because the best feedback is honest and unbiased, we designed the API to be self-contained and not require additional prompting other than to invoke the API. We’ve also placed cap limits to ensure that users won’t be prompted excessively should they choose not to leave a review.”

Developer Feedback

Google was able to get feedback from developers in the early-access program and their input well illustrates the benefits of the new API.

“It was quick and easy to integrate with the new In-App Review API changes, and we saw an almost immediate increase in positive ratings and reviews after releasing those changes.”

— Chris Scoville, Engineering Manager at Calm

“The in-app review API allows our customers to rate without leaving the application. Our 5-star ratings since implementing the API has increased by 4x.”

— Nathaniel Khuana, Technical Architect, Tokopedia

“We saw our all-time highest rating just a week after we implemented in-app reviews."

— Welly Chandra, Associate Product Manager at Traveloka

Conclusion

Google’s in-app review API is a welcome addition to the available tools for Android developers. In fact, while Google has been rolling out features to make developers’ lives easier, in-app reviews has consistently been one of the top-requested items.

Google has taken the time to implement this API in a manner that will provide the most benefit and help developers connect with their users.

In-App Review System
Review API
Developers
Android
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

Related Articles