IHeartRadio, the streaming app by media and radio giant iHeartMedia, puts app store reviews at the center of its customer retention strategy and product road map.
“We give our users a little taste of what [the app] could be and then let them help design the road map for features and functionality,” said Rob Rowe, SVP of product at iHeartMedia.
To better understand consumer sentiment, iHeartMedia works with analytics company App Annie to monitor app store ratings and reviews. App Annie highlights patterns in iHeartRadio’s reviews, such as chatter about desired features or bugs, so the platform can take immediate action.
“We can make changes to the product, fix bugs or work through our product road map based on what users are saying,” Rowe said. “Keeping that experience as good as it possibly can be and making sure we’re reliable is vital to keeping them around.”
App Annie surfaces insights for iHeartRadio based on the frequency and urgency of complaints and requests. If a user reports a bug or suggests a new feature and other users follow suit, App Annie alerts iHeartRadio.
“A brand-new issue that’s creating three times the chatter than an older issue can jump to the top of our priority list,” Rowe said.
IHeartRadio used App Annie’s insights to determine when to launch its on-demand streaming service. After App Annie surfaced a wide swath of reviews indicating consumers would be willing to pay for on-demand streaming, it launched in January.
“We were listening to our users and waiting for the right time,” Rowe said. “The features and functionality we ended up building for on-demand came from our users.”
A user also suggested the app’s song-to-start feature, which lets users choose the song they want to hear at the beginning of their streaming session. Same goes for unlimited skips, offline listening and the ability to save songs from live radio. The list goes on, Rowe said.
“It gave us great insight into what our users were actually looking for because we could track it really easily over time,” he said.
App Annie encouraged iHeartRadio to focus more on podcasting when users noted that its podcast section was difficult to find. The app launched a dedicated podcast tab on the home screen that’s grown related listenership 60% year over year.
“We’re seeing in the recent app store reviews that people are finding podcasts, and we can see the usage ticking up,” Rowe said.
App Annie helps iHeartRadio stay competitive in the music streaming space by analyzing reviews for other streaming apps to identify products and services it may want build or scrap. The app launched its alarm clock feature, for example, which lets users wake up to their favorite iHeartRadio station, after noticing the feature was popular in other streaming apps.
App Annie runs an app usage panel on millions of users globally to glean competitive intelligence, said Amir Ghodrati, director of market insights at App Annie.
“We look through reviews to see what other people are doing that we should keep an eye on,” he said. “There’s a lot of information we can segment into what people are saying in one- and two-star reviews versus what they’re saying in four- and five-star reviews.”
Through App Annie’s cross-app dashboard, iHeartRadio can determine which apps are used most by listeners to create cross-promotions. For example, when iHeartRadio saw that its audience spends a lot of time playing the game Trivia Crack, it partnered with parent company Etermax to provide music trivia questions and promoted the game in its own app.
“It helps highlight things you might not necessarily know that are important to [users] and where you can find them on the web,” Ghodrati said.