On May 18th, Google changed something in it’s rating computation – unless someone really messed up. This sent many apps ratings from 4.5+ to under 2. And at the time of writing, there’s a lot of rating volatility on PlayStore.
Surprisingly, the search result, and the page itself shows a different rating. Now, this could be a hurriedly rolled out update. However, one thing is clear, Google is following up on what it did two weeks ago – by changing the way it treats review metadata that covered in this post.
To make things worse, In the above image – if you aggregate the ratings on tablet + phone, it won’t total to 4.7. (As both are way under 4.7).
The rating that you see when you search for a term, is different than what you see just above the review text screen. In 2022 when Google made a major algorithm change, we saw that the testing went on for weeks. In the meantime, it is likely to send app developers and owners to panic mode – and is likely to result in higher UAC costs.
In addition to this, the average ratings of an app is changing rapidly. Some apps that were showing 4.7 yesterday were at 1.0 today, and at the time of writing – are at 2.0 and above.
Irrespective of what changes, it’s high time that Google communicates such major changes in advance to App Developers so that they can prepare for, or at-least know what is/has been happening.
We are studying the impact of this change, and will update the post with findings.
Edit 19th May – Most of the apps have got back their ratings. In case your app’s rating is still impacted, then Contact us and we’d be happy to help you.
Edit 20th May – Google confirmed that they ran a misconfigured experiment. If you still see the issue, try clearing your cache on browser, or killing the Google Play app (On phone) and re-open it.
About NextLabs – Since 2016, we’ve helped promote 100s of top apps. We are passionate about reverse engineering search algorithms. In this pursuit, we’ve built tens of tools for the app developer community – including various ASO and SEO tools, Data Studio & ETL connectors, Sheet and Chrome Add-ons.
There’s a very good chance that you’d be able to see yours and your competitor’s rating history on Appvector, our Free ASO tool – which is used by thousands of app owners. We crawl 1.5 Million apps on PlayStore and over 3M app on app store – per day. Therefore, we get to know whenever there’s any anomaly.