Revitalizing mobile apps: Engaging users and lifting ratings in app stores

The rating of an app on the app stores may define its future, to be successful or not. Increase the rating is not an easy path to go on, but it is quite worthing.

As mobile’s dominance shows no signs of slowing down, launching a mobile app is the fastest way to simultaneously extend your reach and deliver more to your users. Nevertheless, stand out on the app store to reach successfully your target audience comes with myriad challenges.

According to a study by the automated marketing company Kahuna, 80% of apps never reach users’ devices. Regardless of other indicators, the app quality and user evaluation are two leading indicators of whether or not an app will succeed or not.

The apps carrying a one-star rating are seemingly destined to hit bottom, as only 13% of users will even consider installing it. However, such an abysmal rating is usually due to performance issues, so raising it from the depths is not impossible.

“Users always check ratings before installing an application,” said Cinq Business Development Director, Luis Dosso.

According to Dosso, the app performance is often the first casualty when companies rush their app out the door to grab market share, without considering aspects such as design, usability, and security. “Businesses realize that apps represent a lucrative revenue stream, but lack experience in the platform to launch a quality product,” shared the executive.

So does a one-star rating automatically mean the death knell for your beloved project? Not necessarily, as the Kahuna survey revealed that a rating bump from two to three stars could yield 280% more user conversions while hitting four stars puts that number up to 540%.

At Cinq, we call this process revitalization.


Revitalizing an app: the technical steps

Kicking conversions up often means going back to scratch on two key fronts: UX and engineering.

“Usually, we work from two perspectives: first, during sprint zero, we look at user experience; is the design appealing and how does the application behave for the user,” said Cinq’s Director of Marketing, Bill Coutinho. “Secondly we tackle engineering. We know that to get high ratings the app has to perform smoothly at every phase.”

Recently, Cinq had the opportunity to solve similar cases for a variety of clients. “It has been increasingly common for customers to call on us when they need to revitalize their apps,” said Business Development Executive Juliana Furtado.

One example is Nextel, which operates in Brazil and throughout Latin America. After implementing enhancements created by a team that Cinq gathered specifically for this project, the ratings soared from 2.3 to 4.3 stars.

According to Raoni Normanton, one of Cinq’s Senior Developers, this team consisted of more than 30 people from Cinq and Nextel, with skill sets such as UX, UI, mobile developers, and quality analysts all collaborating on the project. The Cinq experts in the agile methodology employed a comprehensive process, starting with user research, and then progressively moving forward to functional design, prototyping, usability testing, and monitoring metrics.

“We completely overhauled the app, redoing all of the features and functions (UI and UX), as well as the infrastructure side services and support,” said Normanton.

“We added a feature that allows users to evaluate their experience within the app while in the happy flow,” said Furtado. “People rarely enter any app only to rate it, even if they have had a good experience. This rating mechanism boosted numbers of Nextel almost immediately.”


Continuous improvement

Well aware of user fatigue and increasingly shorter attention spans, apps demand consistent care and feeding to remain relevant.
“We do not treat these projects as one-offs,” said Coutinho. “We are always engaged with our client and their goals, shaping the application to reflect current conditions.”


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