iOS 10.3: What We Know About Apple’s New Ratings Prompts & In-App Feedback Options
This week, Apple announced that iOS 10.3 (now in beta) will provide a new way for companies to solicit ratings and reviews directly within their apps. In conjunction with this new method for feedback, publishers will also be able to respond to reviews in the App Store, bringing it parity with the Google Play Store.
Because we’re focused on helping companies communicate with their app customers, a lot of our customers and partners are asking us what we think about this announcement.
Here’s our take:
In-app feedback is crucial; being proactive and not annoying is the key
For years, we’ve been evangelizing that being proactive and seeking out customer opinions is a super power. Starting conversations with the people who use your app is one of the the best and fastest ways to create human connection and learn where to take your product.
Apple’s announcement is going to help with the problem of pushy, annoying ratings prompts in a meaningful way.
iOS 10.3 is going to release a method that will enable companies to solicit ratings and feedback for the App Store from within the app. This method will deliver an easier consumer experience, diminishing the number of steps required to give public feedback while also ensuring that the customer doesn’t have to leave the app.
However, it comes with a limitation; app publishers can only present this method three times per year. This emphasizes the importance of finding the right time and right place to engage with consumers. Too many apps today ask for ratings immediately upon app launch or in the middle of a customer flow, which is disruptive and frustrating for the consumer.
As a result of the ratings limitation, we should see some major improvements to the collective consumer experience.
Finally, because this method is offered by Apple, it can now be managed by the end consumer. iPhone owners will have the ability to turn off solicitations for ratings in their settings section, giving them another level of control over their experience.
With iOS 10.3, every company should focus their efforts on figuring out how to use their three chances to prompt customers wisely by creating an experience that someone will want to participate in.
Reaching out to the right customers, at the right place, and the right time has never been more important.
Responding to customers will now be a “norm” in both app stores
The changes with iOS 10.3 mean that both Google Play and Apple are similarly supportive of responding to people who have feedback. It wasn’t too long ago that companies made it impossible for customers to find their contact information to get support. Now, millions of people can expect to make their voices heard.
This is an incredible affirmation of the idea that the consumer is in control.
When Google enabled responses in the Play Store, there was a steady ramp in the adoption of the capability, starting with smaller independent developers. The market became more competitive and now the most successful companies all have a strategy for their Play Store presence.
To take full advantage of iOS 10.3’s capabilities, companies who have yet to turn their attention to gathering feedback from and interacting with their mobile app customers have about six to 12 months to put together a plan.
The change in consumer expectations will create opportunities
In every industry, there are companies who differentiate based upon service. In most industries, the companies who are most culturally focused on delivering a great experience tend to gain market share and maintain high LTV.
Based on our experience over the past six years, I anticipate two things will happen for app publishers with the release of iOS 10.3:
1. The volume of App Store reviews is going to explode in iOS.
Currently, the average top 200 Android app garners 40 times more ratings than the average iOS app in the US (based on our research). Enabling developer responses should increase how communicative iOS customers are and lowering the barrier to leaving a rating should lead to a massive increase in customer feedback.
2. Proactively communicating with your mobile app customers is going to become even more crucial to your strategy.
In an environment where public rating volumes explode, getting in front of issues and having private channels for in-depth and meaningful communication will lead to a 100x increase in customer conversations.
To underline that: we see that the volume of private conversations and feedback with mobile customers averages 100x the volume of public feedback. The insights and strategic value of learning from your customers at scale will become a necessary requirement for you and your business.
Your competitors will be investing in it and if you’re not, you’ll be hard pressed to keep up with the evolution of your market. If you move faster to this opportunity than your competitors, you’ll likely gain market share.
As an Apptentive customer, what should you expect?
First off, if you have any further questions about what iOS 10.3 means for you, please feel free to email us. We’re happy to set up a call to talk this through with you.
We’ll also be hosting an open webinar in two weeks to cover this topic. In addition to discussing details about iOS 10.3, we’re looking forward to getting your feedback on our plans to support Apple’s new in-app rating method. We’d love to have you join in! RSVP here.
Secondly, pat yourselves on the back. You’ve been investing in customer feedback, you’ve been responding to customers as much as possible, and your organization has been ahead of a trend.
While we’re at it, if you haven’t yet had a chance to try out our new dashboard, go take a look and see what we’re doing with data presentation to make it easier to summarize your conversation trends and the sentiment of your audience.
Lastly, by the time iOS 10.3 is out of beta (this is beta one and we anticipate that we’ll see the GA in the next one to two months) we’ll have an updated iOS SDK for you to use, along with some more insights into how best to think about the limitation of three prompts per year.
While we haven’t heard a lot about how responses in the App Store are going to work, we’ll be paying attention and investigating how to support you in that effort. If you haven’t looked at the “Reviews” section of your dashboard lately, we encourage you to go see what we’re doing to organize and analyze what people are saying about you in the Play Store and the App Store. We expect that this is an area where your team will spend a lot more time this year.
Exciting time—delivering #CustomerLove has never been easier
With both Google Play and Apple now really embracing the power of two-way conversation, we’re excited to continue to partner with them and the world’s leading companies to create meaningful relationships, at scale. Listening to customers and acting on their input has never been easier and the stakes have never been higher.
Do you have questions about iOS 10.3 or Apptentive’s intelligent ratings prompts? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below!