Google’s App Store Policy Updates
Google UAC

Google’s App Store Policy Updates



Google regularly updates the App Store to ensure the platform meets the current and future needs of its users. Obviously, because of the great competition among millions of apps today, Google needs to make necessary adjustments to ensure that users are having the best experience, that app developers compete with each other fairly, and that the App Store remains to be a platform that people can trust.

In April 2023, Google released a new policy update that primarily affects how app developers receive user ratings and reviews, thereby affecting their downloads and installs.

It is crucial that you understand well what these new policy updates are and how you can cope with the changes. Read through this post and get deeper insights into Google’s app store policy update.

What are the recent app store policy updates by Google?

Google announced through their Play Console Help Center page that they will now remove the incentivized rating feature of the Play Store.

Here’s the exact wording:

“Developers must not attempt to manipulate the placement of any apps on Google Play. This includes, but is not limited to, inflating product ratings, reviews, or install counts by illegitimate means, such as fraudulent or incentivized reviews and ratings, or incentivizing users to install other apps as the app’s main functionality.”

This new update doesn’t mean that app developers can’t ask users to give reviews and ratings for their apps anymore. It is just that app developers shouldn’t try to influence the reviews and ratings of a user in a manipulative manner.

Apps that violate the policy guideline may face rejection and even removal from the app store.

Examples of common violations to the recent Play Store policy update

To help you better understand what the Play Store update is, here are some of the most common examples of how the policy might be violated:

Giving rewards to reviewers

If you’re not familiar with the incentivized rating feature or tactic, it is the practice of encouraging users to leave ratings and reviews by giving them rewards.

Here’s a screenshot of how giving rewards to users in exchange for reviews may look like:

rewards to users in exchange for reviewsImage source: Play Console Help

As you can see, the app sends an on-screen notification that users will receive a 10% discount on all transactions if they specifically rate the app 5 stars.

Posing as users

App developers may use fake or new user accounts for the sole purpose of submitting positive ratings. There are even businesses that do this kind of dirty trick, which could mislead not just users but also the Play Store.

Replying to user reviews with rewards

Aside from sending notifications via the app itself, app developers resort to sending their promotional messages through the review and ratings section on the Play Store.

Here’s an example:

app review replyImage source: Play Console Help

As you can see, the app developer replied to one of the users and encouraged them to tell other people that they can get a 10% discount when they give reviews. The promotional message isn’t limited to discounts, but as well as game codes, coupons, affiliates, links to websites or other apps, and email addresses.

What is the goal of the app store update?

On Play Store’s website, here’s the reason they gave for the recent update:

“Ratings and reviews are benchmarks of app quality. Users depend on them to be authentic and relevant.”

With that said, it is understandable and even commendable for Google to start removing the incentivized review tactics. As you can imagine, when you have a platform where reviews can’t be trusted anymore, it generates an atmosphere of suspicion and disloyalty.

The prohibition of incentivization tactics helps Google’s Play Store to be more trustworthy and even transparent.

What this means to app developers

For many years, a lot of app developers use incentivization tactics to ask users to rate and review their apps. It’s actually an effective strategy that led many successful apps today to get more downloads and installs. However, this tactic has been abused to gain unreliable ratings and reviews from users.

As expected, the new update received mixed reactions. Some app developers are happy with the update while others are not. Obviously, those app developers who heavily rely on incentivized tactics are the ones that will be affected the most.

With the recent changes, app developers must focus more on improving the quality of their apps. They need to work harder in giving their users a better experience rather than relying on using rewards to get five-star ratings and positive reviews.

Perhaps, what made the recent update a positive development is that it made the Play Store an even playing field for app developers. Sad to say that some really great apps get overtaken by mediocre apps simply because the mediocre ones get a lot of false positive ratings and reviews.

Finally, app developers should be happy that the recent update would help them create more engaged and loyal users — users who were not bought by rewards and incentives.

What this means to app users

Google is a customer-centric company. It means that they do their best to give their users and customers the best experience possible. Thus, in the latest update, the users are the winner in this huge adjustment.

Users can now have higher confidence in the reviews and ratings they see on Play Store. With the policy update, Google can now better protect users from manipulative and deceptive marketing practices.

Aside from that, app developers are forced to improve further their apps to get higher ratings and more positive reviews from users. This is a piece of great news for users who are looking for the best apps out there with the correct and accurate ratings.

Ultimately, the Play Store will have more and more app developers who are focused on creating better apps, which leads to a vibrant app store filled with high-quality apps.

Get more loyal users for your app

Creating a loyal user base is more than just getting positive reviews and high ratings. You need to make sure that your app meets their needs and helps them fulfill their desires.

As you can just imagine, succeeding in Play Store is easier said than done. Thankfully, you can get the best result by having ShyftUp by your side.

ShyftUp is the leading user acquisition agency today that will help you get loyal customers, obtain positive reviews, and receive high ratings. They have the right experience, expertise, and tools to create marketing strategies that fit your business goals.

Give them a call today!

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h2″ question-0=”Why is it important for developers to focus on quality user experiences?” answer-0=”Developers should focus on quality user experiences rather than try to manipulate ratings and reviews. In the end of the day, it is the satisfied users who become your loyal users and repeat customers. It is only by improving the core features and user experience of your app that will help you succeed in the long run. ” image-0=”” headline-1=”h2″ question-1=”How to get positive reviews for your app?” answer-1=”You can get positive reviews from your app when you focus on the needs of your users and how you can effectively meet those needs. When you make your users feel important by giving them the best user experience possible, you should get positive reviews for your app and you don’t have to force them to do so. ” image-1=”” headline-2=”h2″ question-2=”How do I get people to rate my app?” answer-2=”Ask your users to rate your app in a time convenient to them. Don’t interrupt them and make sure you give them enough chance to rate your app. You can also explain to your users the importance of their rating. Track your conversion rate and identify ways on how you can improve the way you ask for ratings. ” image-2=”” count=”3″ html=”true” css_class=””]

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