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Google is changing the way it calculates app ratings, and here is everything you need to know about it

This blog is a summary of everything you need to know about the changes Android is implementing to improve ratings & reviews. The changes are to benefit  both users and developers and explains what you can do to improve your rating if it drops.
Q: My Android app rating has changed. What should I do?

A: First of all, don’t worry. Android is undergoing some changes to how they’re showcasing ratings on the Play Store. This is mainly to make ratings better and more useful for users and developers. Understanding the value of ratings, Android has set in place some changes from November 2021 and will start a multi-quarter programme of improvements to make ratings more personalised depending on the user’s location and device. This could potentially lead to a different rating than the one you’re used to seeing.

If you’re seeing a lower app rating than usual, get in touch with our Product Marketing team for help. They can help with improving reviews, community management and app optimisation.

Q: Why are there changes happening to app ratings on Android?

A: Android understands that many developers closely monitor and use ratings as a reference point to look for bugs, faults and to spot issues users may be seeing. When dealing with an app that may be downloaded in many different countries and across an array of devices, it can be really difficult to pinpoint exactly where the issue lies. These improvements are meant to counteract this and give developers a more segmented view of users and device types.

Q: What are the main changes to Android app ratings in November 2021?

A: The main change will be that app ratings from November onwards will be filtered by location. Someone based in, for example, Mexico will only see ratings from other people who use the app in Mexico. This change will better reflect an app in each location it’s available. However, for apps operating across several countries, it will be even more important to analyse reviews at location level, as localisation issues for example, will have a much bigger impact on your app rating.

For apps operating in multiple locations, this change may also cause more fluctuations in ratings, especially in your smaller markets. Engaging with app users in these smaller markets and nurturing positive reviews will help grow the quantity and quality of your app rating.

Q: How do I manage changes in ratings on Android?

A: Make sure that you are regularly checking your app rating breakdown in the Google Play Console which shows a total number and average ratings for each country your app is available in.

Any country with an app rating that is less than 4-stars will need work, as jumping from 3 to 4-stars can increase app store conversions by 89%. Once you’ve identified the countries that have a lower rating, evaluate your reviews for clues on what the issues could be.

Apadmi can help brands to increase their rating by targeting those users having a positive experience and asking them to rate your app. If you’re keen to find out more about how we do this, get in touch with our Product Marketing team.

Q: What other changes are coming to ratings in Google Play?

A: Early next year Google is also going to customise ratings by platform – so users in the UK using an app on an iPad will only see app ratings from other UK iPad users. This change is another step toward better personalisation on Google Play, as users will have a clearer idea of the experience that they can expect for the device they’re using.

Q: But what if my Android app rating really decreases?

A: Make sure you have a plan in place and know exactly how the changes are going to affect your rating. Google will contact any developer who will see more than a 0.2-star change of their rating. This will give developers time to plan ahead and make necessary changes.

If you’ve been contacted by Google to say your rating will decrease, or if you think your app generally could perform better, get in touch with Apadmi’s Product Marketing team. This stellar team provides community management for apps like Domino’s, with 2 million active users a month, and grew Co-op’s app rating from 2.8 stars to 4.8 stars in a matter of weeks.

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