When people purchase an item online, there are often a number of things they look for before completing their transaction. More often than not, these activities hinge upon the reviews the item got from other buyers - if a product has mostly five-star reviews, chances are good people will buy it. However, if the reviews are less than favorable, individuals will most likely begin searching for something else.

This is the case in a number of circles outside the e-commerce industry, including within the mobile app sector. Some think that they can simply write off any bad critiques, assuming that the app can stand on its own merit. In the current environment, however, what individuals think of an application and the information they share publicly with other potential users is more important than ever. User reviews are absolutely critical for application owners and developers for a range of reasons, including the following:

To get an app on the map
According to AppTweak, there are over 1,000 new mobile apps being released into app stores every day, and there are more than 1 million programs currently available in the iOS App Store alone. This means that any new app entering the marketplace has its fair share of competition and must do everything it can to break away from other programs to stand out. This is where reviews become absolutely key.

Oftentimes, before a user downloads an app, they will take a look at the reviews. This means that in order for a program to gain popularity and traction within app stores, good reviews are critical.

"The name of the game for developers and brands is to get into the top 10 of the iTunes store as quickly as possible," Appolicious CEO Alan Warms told Ad Age. "That means you want to go out early and get good reviews and get good buzz."

To attract new users
However, the importance of reviews doesn't stop with the initial release. Users' opinion of the program are an essential element to consider throughout the application's lifecycle. Even well-established apps need to keep their number of downloads up to maintain their leadership position on the top 10 lists. In this way, good reviews not only help a new app become popular, but also keep an already widely-utilized program on the leaderboard.

Illuminating areas in need of improvement
While good reviews can be incredibly beneficial for an application, less than favorable user opinions are important to pay attention to as well. If a number of individuals report an issue with the program, developers should take note and release an update to improve the platform. When HTML5 form is used to create the program, making these kinds of adjustments is easier and more streamlined. With other component suites, application developers have to establish an individual update for each operating system. However, HTML5 form allows program owners to create one update and release for every app version being used on any device. In this way, even bad reviews can prove invaluable, helping to illuminate ways in which the program - and the overall end-user experience - can be improved.

How can users be encouraged to provide reviews?
In the past, there was less importance placed on user reviews, as some organizations were in the habit of created fake reviews to enhance the appearance of their own programs. However, AppTweak noted that a new App Store algorithm makes it very challenging, if not impossible, to create such fraudulent critiques. As user reviews become increasingly essential, developers and program owners must encourage individuals to provide feedback.

One strategy is to include an in-add pop-up asking the user to provide a review of the app. Many developers will build these into the program so that when the individual reaches a certain point or has been utilizing the app for a while, the review box will appear. By reminding users that their feedback is important, many will opt to provide it.