The Ins, Outs, Ups and Downs of App Review Requests

April 17th, 2014

Word-of-mouth is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have as an app publisher. Some of the most successful apps – Instagram, SnapChat, and Flappy Bird among them – found their user base through word-of-mouth hype. Accordingly, this week we’re going to look at how to pitch your app to writers and bloggers, those all-important gatekeepers of press coverage and word-of-mouth.

From the mundane “Get Your Family to Download Your App” to the off the wall “Create Beer Coasters” join us on a 52-week journey of some of the top ways to promote and market your mobile application.

Week 15

Requesting An App Review

Mobile App Marketing Tip - Finding What Makes Your App UniqueWriters, bloggers, and editors receive dozens of review requests every day. It’s vital to remember that your pitch email must get to the point as quickly as possible while still providing the essential information. At the very minimum, your email should contain the app’s name, features, price, platform, and release date. Additionally, you stand a better chance of securing a review if you:

  • Always try to find a specific person for the pitch. Emails that begin with “Dear Editor” almost always go in the trash.
  • Use proper grammar and spelling.
  • Attach screenshots as well as a link to the app’s listing in iTunes, Google Play, etc.
  • Having a video that they can include in a review greatly ups your chances.
  • Include a promo code for iOS apps or the APK for Android sites. (Or at least mention in your pitch that you have one available for them)
  • Be sure to find the right email address for your pitch – send it to the wrong one (e.g. business inquiries, technical support) and you may be blocked by a spam filter.

In many cases, you’ll receive an automated response email that confirms the site has received your request. At that point, it’s mainly a waiting game to see if your app has been accepted for review.

Although it’s tempting to simply copy and paste your press release into your review request, doing so almost guarantees that your request will be deleted upon receipt. Writers are a savvy bunch, and they will not be swayed or charmed if your review request contains too much marketing pizazz. You’re asking for them to take time to look at your product – the least you can do is write a brief, original email to them.

Should I Pay for a Review?

Numerous review sites and app directories offer “pay review” services. For a given price (typically $75-100), these services typically guarantee a review and some social media exposure for your product. Many sites offer paid reviews on a tiered basis, with more expensive packages offering banner ads, “featured app” write-ups, and podcast sponsorships in promotion of the app.

Paid reviews are certainly a viable option for promoting your app, but they’re not appropriate for every situation. If you are considering going with a paid review, consider the cost (financial and time) of the service, and weigh it against other marketing initiatives you might undertake, like investing time in your social media accounts.

The Numbers Game
Not every review request you send will ultimately result in a free review of your app; indeed, many sites may not even agree to look at your app unless some kind of payment is provided. Regardless of whether or not you choose to pay for reviews, remember this – it is in your best interest to pitch the app to as many relevant sites as possible. All it takes is one review or write-up to catch the eyes of the users that may kickstart your app’s success.

Before you start sending out your pitches, though, it’s vital to make sure that the reviewers can get a copy of the app – in that vein, next week we’ll be talking about how to generate and distribute iTunes promo codes.

As always, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay in the loop.

The 52 Week Series of Marketing Mobile Applications
Week 1: Talk to Friends & Family
Week 2: Picking the Right Name for Your App
Week 3: App Store Optimization
Week 4: Submitting Your App to Review Sites, Blogs, and Directories
Week 5: Using Video to Promote Your App
Week 6: Creating a Microsite
Week 7: Creating a Press Kit
Week 8: Creating a Marketing Plan
Week 9: Social Media: Facebook
Week 10: Social Media: Twitter
Week 11: Social Media: Other Platforms
Week 12: Social Media: Managing Your Social Media Presence
Week 13: Social Media: Reaching out to Bloggers & Reviewers
Week 14: Finding What Makes Your App Unique
Week 15: The Ins, Outs, Ups, and Downs of App Review Requests

Sam Allen

Samuel is something of a marketing Swiss Army knife. He enjoys helping clients build their web presence and visual identity through design, SEO, and good ol' fashioned content. A photographer by trade, he's had work published in the New York Times and the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

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