Your app ratings and reviews are a very important indicator of whether your app is awesome or not to potential customers. Also, app store ranking are influenced by ratings. Even Google shows Google Play ratings in search results. And ratings reflect on the brand of your company. So great ratings are important for the success of your application. In order to get great ratings it is vital that you understand why and how users rate your app. Let’s see what influences their rating.
Motivation drives app ratings
Based on experience with your app, your user will have a specific motivation, a goal in mind that she wants to achieve. For instance, she feels like you as a developer did a great job and wants to reward you for that. Or she wants to tell other people that your app sucks. She wants to blow off steam. She really likes the app but wants to tell you about a certain feature she thinks is missing. She wants to write a smartass review to come across as an expert.
Context has influence
Context is everything around the use of the app and the user that has influence on the way she perceives your app and will rate your app. Like their emotional state: your user really needed to get home soon, and your taxi app helped out tremendously. Or she had a bad day, is grumpy and impatient and not willing to wait for your long list of messages to download. And ratings are not absolute but relative. For instance, the previous version of your app was really buggy and this new version fixes that. You have a competing app that is just much easier to use. And big expectations set the bar high: apps published by a big company will be rated harsher when quality is mediocre. Paying for your app will result in higher expectations and if not met, result in stronger disappointments. Are there other options for the user to send feedback? In particular if a user wants to send suggestions to improve but cannot find any ways of communicating with the developers, she might get even more frustrated and give a very negative review. Are there competing apps or are you one of a kind? If your app is bad, they might just leave you when there are alternatives and leave no review at all. If you are one of a kind, for instance the only official app to a popular service, switching over will not be possible so users will get frustrated and leave a negative review. Good thing that that negative review will have not much of an effect, as users are basically forced to use your app.