Unless you have been living under a stone for the past few days, you would be aware that TikTok received as many as 4 million new comments on Google Play Store — with most of them being negative.
Further, its rating fell from 4+ stars to around 1.3 stars within just a few days.
However, even if the ratings of TikTok falls to 1 star, it is highly unlikely that it will be removed from Google Play store.
Let me first give you real examples of similar situations for other apps. One from Google Play Store and Apple Store each.
Zoom App (Google Play Store):
- This video conferencing app was under a scanner recently due to privacy issues and faced a similar issue wherein it's ratings dropped from 4.5 to 2.0 stars
- However, the ratings were back to 4.0 a few days later
- Google's algorithms combined with manual scrutiny by Google employees identify such manipulations in reviews/ratings and remove it
Ding Talk App (Apple Store):
- Another similar incident happened in China where the Ding Talk app was introduced by the Chinese govt. for online classes amidst the COVID Pandemic
- To escape online classes, some really smart (sarcasm!) students came up with an idea.
- Thousands of such students gave negative comments about DingTalk on the Apple store hoping the app would be removed.
- However, it was not removed from App store and was available for download even after that
- Indeed, TikTok is an Ashwathama that won't ever die from Play Store. (Unless Google Play Store decides to be selective and biased)
What Happens to the Ashwathama a.k.a TikTok then if it Won't Get Banned?
By now, hope it's clear that even if it gets the lowest rating i.e. 1 star rating in this case, TikTok may still not be removed but it might have other impacts...
Impact on Organic Rankings:
- The immediate impact could be that the organic rankings of TikTok on Play Store might go down
- Though Google has not stated this explicitly, higher ratings do help in higher rankings for target KWs
- I've myself observed the correlation between rankings and ratings while handling ASO for one of the biggest Matchmaking company in India
Impact on New Installs:
- Lower ratings might lower the Visit to Install ratio (V2I ratio) for TikTok as all those visitors who land on to the store listing page of TikTok might see the low ratings and might decide NOT to download the app
- Again this is driven by user intent as those people who use Brand Keywords like "TikTok", "TikTok app" etc. have a clear intent of downloading TikTok app and will go ahead and download the app regardless of the no. of ratings
- However, visitors who use Generic Keywords say "Music making app in India" and land on to the TikTok app might consider these factors (higher ratings/positive reviews) to decide whether to install the app or not
- It is more likely that these kinds of visitors (using generic keywords) might not install the app
So, to summarize...
- Ratings of TikTok will rise up again....back to where it was..4+
- Negative comments would be removed
- TikTok will lose new app installs coming through Generic KWs
- VERY FEW existing TikTok users will uninstall the app as for them it's not about whether TikTok is bad or good but about TikTok vs. YouTube
- If YouTube was an exact competitor to TikTok...(with exactly same functionalities) the probability would have been higher than existing Users would uninstall TikTok to switch to another app
- But since YouTube is NOT an exact competitor, I don't see that happening (i.e. existing Users uninstalling TikTok)
Most probably, TikTok will never be banned from Play Store (as I said, this holds true if Google decides not to be selective and biased)
Almost certainly, TikTok will never cease to be in the headlines...at least for a long long time.
Thanks for reading.😃 Would love to know your views on this. (Purely from digital marketing point of view)