Google is going to make Play Store ratings more useful for users and developers
Ratings and reviews on the Google Play Store are a great way to show satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) when it comes to apps. It can be a great way to either thank a developer for a feature or even just leave genuine feedback — especially if there are any problems with the app. However, reviews aren’t always necessarily going to be indicative of everyone’s experience. Sometimes, an app might work fine in one country but not another, or maybe a positive tablet experience is overlooked because most people use smartphones. Because of this, Google is beginning to make ratings more personalized and indicative of the experience each individual user can expect. The last major change Google made to Play Store ratings was in May of 2019 when the company changed app rating scores to be more focused on recent reviews.
The company announced the multi-quarter program of improvements in a blog post, stating that users on smartphones will start seeing ratings specific to their registered country from November 2021. Early in 2022, users on form-factors such as tablets, Chromebooks, and wearables will then start to see ratings specific to the device that they’re using. This means that users can get more of an idea of what to expect in their specific use case. There are changes for developers too in the Google Play Console that will help you to understand your ratings and reviews, particularly in relation to form factors.
In order to make it easier to spot “opportunities across various device types and track the impact of enhanced experiences”, Google is adding a new “Device Type” to the rating page, so that you can see whether the people reviewing your app are using a phone, tablet, or Chromebook. You’ll even be able to see the average rating that these users give you, so that you can tell whether or not you’re delivering a potentially sub-par experience on a particular device type.
Google is also adding more flexibility to your Google Play Store rating data, and you’ll be able to independently select a time period you want to plot on a chart. You can plot it from the last 28 days through to your app’s entire lifetime, and you can choose how you want the data to be aggregated as well.
Google is also enabling CSV downloads of your average data and rating distributions, making it easier for you to perform offline analysis. The company gives the example of being able to download your entire history of daily rating distributions and correlating it in a spreadsheet with customer service contacts to spot potential trends.
The company closed its announcement by saying that at least 10 weeks before any changes are made, developers will be notified if their app will shift by more than 0.2 stars on any device type in a key market. Google defines a “key market” as being one with more than 5% of your Google Play Store’s listing visitors.