Welcome to the new-and-improved home of Mobile Heroes! Explore our updated site for the latest insights and resources.

Close Notice

Get Real With User Reviews in Your Mobile Ads

By Sam Szczesny-Dale | October 3, 2016

Users who love your app are of course the most powerful marketing agents. That’s why all product marketers aim for clear product-market fit, high NPS and the word of mouth organic lift that those two can produce.

Glowing app store reviews are the next best thing to strong word of mouth. Just about every viewer of an app store listing glances at the user rating and some reviews before tapping ‘Install’. At volume, positive reviews also can enhance your organic search results on the App Store and Play Store.

Pluck out a particular positive review from your app store reviews and you have a testimonial. In certain contexts, testimonials can produce compelling social proof for a user who’s assessing your app.

But testimonials are problematic because they are, by very their nature, cherry-picked from among a range of responses to your product. Moreover, it’s nearly impossible to verify a testimonial’s authenticity. That’s why in certain regulated fields, such as investment management, testimonials are completely forbidden in marketing materials. Google also has a strict no-allowance policy for user quotes on Play Store app descriptions.

So the closer you can get to true word of mouth – a trusted friend who raves ‘I love this app!’ – in your marketing materials, the better. The more that slides over toward testimonial, the weaker the effect. The real stuff works best.

We recently experienced this in a interesting way right within our app install campaigns.

We began by testing particular positive reviews in some of our campaigns and found they worked pretty well:


In certain channels and with certain audiences, the glowing testimonial approach produced a 10-15% improvement in performance over copy that spoke in our own voice.

But when we adjusted the copy to quote not a particular review as a testimonial, but rather simply point the user to all of our iOS and Android reviews – which are mostly amazing – the results were far better – a 25-35% improvement:


The lesson for our marketing team: If you’re fortunate enough to have excellent user reviews for your app, find a way to apply that asset to your performance marketing campaigns.
But don’t stop at mere testimonials – which everyone knows can be misleading. Direct your audience to experience the real deal – all of your reviews on the app store page. That makes the powerful statement that you’re confident enough in current users’ experience of your app to let them tell your story – in a demonstrably objective way.