App Reviews and How to Score Them


App reviews are a fantastic way to to attract the right kind of traffic to your app, i.e., visitors who are likely to convert to paying customers. The problem is, app reviews can be tough to land. Often times, top review sites have long backlogs and steep competition. Here are three ways to help you break through the clutter and score app reviews.

3 Ways to Score App Reviews

  1. Network with Writers and Ad Reps: App reviews are like job hunting: it’s much easier to get in at a place where you know someone who can vouch for you. Before you resort to the “cold calling” that is the app review submission form, try networking. You can almost always find contact information for review writers. (You can even find Twitter handles.) Use this information to reach out and open a dialogue.

    If you don’t want to kiss up to writers, consider ad reps. Many app review sites offer advertising opportunities. If you can afford it, work with an ad rep to take advantage of these opportunities. Develop a relationship with your rep to optimize you campaign and get a feel for the site’s audience. When you’re ready for a review, you’ll have an ally.

  2. Submit a Killer Request for an App Review: if you choose to go the submission route, you need to think of your submission as a piece of marketing/art itself. Put effort into your submission, making sure it: starts with a great description of your game, links to an engaging video, provides complete information and contains a promo code. (I’ll write more on this in an upcoming post.)
  3. Pay Your Way: If all else fails, you can pay your way onto an app review site. For a fee, many sites will offer expedited service, i.e. moving your game from the back of their backlog to the top of their “to-do list” to guarantee a timely review.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: If you do decide to go this route, it is important to ensure that your money is ONLY going toward getting your game reviewed faster, not toward any bias. This means your game should be subject to the same scrutiny and honesty all non-paid reviews are, as well as the same physical presentation when it is posted on the review site. If a site is offering anything for an expedited/paid review that is different from a non-paid review, stay away. Any bias in your review could harm you, or your game’s, reputation. It should also be noted that even if a paid, expedited review is completely unbiased, some readers may still take issue as they question the validity of any paid review.

If you’re having trouble choosing which sites to shoot for a review on, try using this app review sites comparison tool.

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Emmy Jonassen is a marketing pro who helps indie developers build adoring fanbases. Marketing people who love buzz words call this "lead generation."

4 Comments on "App Reviews and How to Score Them"

  1. Todd says:

    Hey Emmy!
    Thanks for posting these tips. I don’t suppose you have any new or updated tips. I’m part of a student group and our game is free however we want to get as many reviews as we can so we can know what we did right and wrong.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Emmy says:

      Hi Todd, thanks for the note. Unfortunately, I don’t have any updates to this post. I’m hoping to go back to some of my older posts in the coming months and make updates, but this may not happen for the timeframe you’re working with. When I do update, I’ll be sure to let you know :)

  2. Alex May says:

    In my opinion you should remove the part about paying for reviews. It’s irresponsible to suggest people pay for reviews.

    • Emmy says:

      Hi Alex. Thank you for your comment and for sharing this link–it’s an excellent article. I appreciate everything Moore says.

      Let me be clear, I am not suggesting any indie pay for a biased review. That is completely unethical. No matter whether you pay or do not pay, your game should be subject to the same scrutiny and honest feedback all games on that site are subject to. In addition, you should not get preferential treatment in return for payment (i.e., better placement, a longer video review, etc.). If either one of these things is the case, the review site would essentially be placing an “ad” for your game, not a review that gamers can trust to make informed decisions.

      That said, I see no problem with reputable review sites which are inundated with reviews asking for compensation if you want to guarantee that your game is reviewed quickly. Why? Because to move your game’s review from the end of the backlog to the top of a publication’s to-do list requires resource allocation, time, etc.–all things that cost a publication money. In addition, I think an expedited service is a nice option for indies who fall into timing issues with their marketing campaigns, are in a bind, etc., and would like to be reviewed quickly.

      Again, I appreciate your feedback and you pointing this out as I certainly do not want to mislead any indies…especially the newbies who are most often taken advantage of by scammy paid review sites. I have revised the wording on my #3 in this point to more accurately express my intended advice.

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