Ratings and Reviews

Read first: App Pages | Read next: App Statuses

Many app marketplaces allow users to share their thoughts about apps in the form of star ratings and text-based reviews. If you decide to do so, we suggest sticking to a few best practices. On this page, we'll discuss:

  • Pros and Cons

  • Best Practices

  • Location

Pros and Cons

There are both pros and cons to adding ratings and reviews to app marketplaces. While they generally empower user communities — leading to a richer marketplace experience — they generate additional work for administrators and have the potential to cause a negative impression in some cases.

Pros

  • Increased trust: Ratings and reviews build critical trust with users, since they can see whether others have tried an app and what success they have had

  • Increased engagement: Ratings and reviews give users new ways to interact with app marketplaces, which helps to build a sense of community

  • Feedback channel for developers: Reviews offer developers invaluable feedback on what they can improve in their apps

  • Sorting and filtering: Ratings can act as a measure of app quality and/or popularity, allowing users to sort or filter apps in new ways

Cons

  • Moderation workload: Especially in the early stages of an ecosystem, reviews should be manually approved, adding to the workload of marketplace administrators

  • Negative impression: Ratings and reviews may give users a negative impression of specific apps or the marketplace as a whole if they are overwhelmingly negative or few in number

Users often place more weight on negative feedback. A few negative reviews will have a greater negative effect than a few positive reviews would have positive effect.

Best Practices

In most cases, the pros of ratings and reviews outweigh the cons, which is why many platform owners enable them. However, there are certain best practices you should adopt to get the most out of them:

  1. Hide early ratings and reviews from users until you are confident they are fair. New marketplaces may have few ratings and reviews, which can lead to apps being misrepresented and/or give the impression of low marketplace activity.

  2. Restrict ratings and reviews to logged-in users to increase trustworthiness and help administrators identify malicious reviews.

  3. Manually approve ratings and reviews so administrators can remove malicious or spammy reviews before they go live.

  4. Enable developer responses so developers can acknowledge feedback and offer help, increasing marketplace engagement.

App marketplaces built with OpenChannel have support for all four of these best practices by default.

Location

Ratings and reviews can be shown on individual app pages, as well as pages where multiple apps are listed, like the homepage, category pages, or search results pages.

On app pages, an average rating for the app (along with the number of reviews it has, usually in brackets) is often located in the hero or overview section, under the app's name and description:

Shopify App Store

Further down on the page, there is often a full list of textual reviews together with their corresponding ratings. This section may also include an average rating, the option to leave a review, and/or some kind of sorting functionality (e.g. newest, most helpful):

Atlassian Marketplace

Although reviews are important, most users will want to know what the app does first. As a result, this information should always come before the review section.

On other pages, like the homepage, category pages, or search results pages, it's common to display an app's average rating under its name, together with the number of reviews it has.

What's Next?

We've looked at the pros and cons of enabling ratings and reviews, as well as best practices for doing so. In the upcoming sections, we'll talk about managing the lifecycle of apps, starting with the App statuses.