Collecting User Feedback: Complete Guide

Collecting User Feedback

Regardless of both the size of the app and the size of the company, a piece of advice that developers and app owners universally hear is that "collecting customer feedback is vital." However, they often fail to go into more detail.

So, many app developers, especially new and upcoming ones, continue to have lingering questions. Why exactly is user feedback so important? How do I even go about collecting it? Are there any common pitfalls I need to be aware of?

These are all important questions that require detailed answers. This won't only help developers understand the importance of user feedback, but it also helps inform ways they can leverage that feedback to ensure their app is better and more successful!

This blog post aims to fill these gaps. After reading, not only will you be able to give comprehensive reasoning for why user feedback is so important, but you'll also be able to detail ways to go about collecting it, leveraging the information, and turning it into actionable insights. It is a comprehensive A to Z guide to user feedback.

Why Is Collecting User Feedback Important?

Many large businesses not only collect user feedback but have dedicated teams and departments whose job is solely to collect, analyze, and make sense of user feedback daily. To understand why businesses are willing to spend so much money on collecting and analyzing feedback, you have to understand its importance:

#1 Understanding Your Users

Naturally, if you ask for users/customers' feedback, you understand them better. While this seems very straightforward, the simplicity of the concept hides how powerful and important understanding your users truly is.

Whether it is introducing new products or making changes to existing features, you are far more likely to succeed if you have a deep understanding of your user base, what they want, and what they dislike.

We have many examples of businesses misreading what their users want and introducing changes hated by the vast majority of the app's user base, and in many of these instances, the business failed to recover at all. And the ones that did recover took months to years as they slowly rebuilt their user base and regained their trust.

#2 Steering Your App in the Right Direction

Though there are many examples of apps suddenly going viral, the reality is that most success in both the mobile and web app world is the result of correct management decisions that incrementally and consistently improve an app until it gains a user base, becomes profitable, and finally reaches success.Managing and steering an app isn't a simple task, however. Not only does it require technical expertise, but it also needs financial know-how and foresight. Many apps have failed to take off due to several management decisions during the app's infancy.

One thing that can make the decisions much easier is undoubtedly having access to high-quality user feedback. This helps you understand how every change is received. It helps you pinpoint changes you can make to appeal to broader audiences. It can even help you pinpoint UX mistakes that make the app confusing and difficult for new users. The importance of both quantitative and qualitative feedback can't be overstated here!

#3 Exploiting Market Gaps

There are tens of millions of mobile and web apps on the market. It is exceedingly difficult to distinguish yourself from the crowd, build a consistent user base, and establish your brand. Regardless of market, industry, or price point, you likely have tens of competitors.

These are the reasons precisely why pinpointing and exploiting market gaps is so important for the success of your app. Providing a product that answers a latent demand that hasn't been exploited yet is one of the most reliable ways to succeed as a business, and this holds for apps as well.

Identifying and exploiting market gaps is far from a simple task, but one thing that can certainly help is collecting and analyzing user feedback! Not only that but there are many ways to leverage user feedback to try to identify market gaps.

The approach will ultimately depend on the kind of industry you operate in, but a common tactic is to collect and pinpoint common features requested by your users. These requests by definition point to a demand, and by doing proper competition research, you can identify whether that demand has been properly addressed. If there are features that have been regularly requested and none of your competitors provide proper solutions, this represents a potential market gap you can try to exploit.

#4 Devising More Efficient Monetization Techniques

Regardless of the size of your app, if it doesn't somehow find a pathway to profitability, it will eventually fail. This is truer today than at any other point in history since the inception of mobile and web app markets, and this is primarily due to Venture Capitalist money slowly drying up and investors being warier than ever of apps that don't have any plans or pathways to sustainability.

Trying to monetize an app, however, is a very fraught task. Aggressive monetization techniques might lead to short-term profitability, but they run the risk of alienating your user base. Conversely, feeble attempts at monetization often can't cover server costs, let alone make your app profitable. There are innumerable examples of both types of companies, and sadly, their fate is ultimately failure.

Despite these difficulties, there is an excellent pool of information that can help you learn viable paths to monetization: user feedback. By relying on user feedback, you can find out which features your userbase values the most, how they'd feel about certain features being paywalled, and their attitudes towards ads, banners, and other monetization techniques.

Before rolling out the changes, to avoid running the risk of angering a substantial portion of your user base, you can also create focus groups and present the various monetization proposals you've devised. Based on their feedback, you can fine-tune the scheme to be as effective as possible. Introducing monetization schemes without properly taking into account user feedback is highly risky, and many businesses have failed due to hastily and ill-thought-out monetization approaches.

Most Common and Effective User Feedback Collection Methods

Now that you know how valuable user feedback is, it is time to implement the processes that allow you to properly collect it, and contrary to popular belief, this isn't a simple task. To avoid selection bias and ensure you properly hear from every large segment that uses your app, you need to deploy a diverse range of methods. Each method acts as a piece of the puzzle that's user sentiments, and only by combining data from all the channels and properly analyzing them will you get the full picture.

Here are the pieces of the puzzle, the most common and effective feedback channels:

#1 In-app Surveys

In-app surveys are conducted through prompts that encourage users to share their feedback with the company. In-app surveys are generally simple and only ask a few questions. They generally rely on visually striking designs and the fact they require little time commitment from the user to collect large amounts of data.

In-app surveys are probably the most commonly used method of collecting feedback, and this is because it offers several definite advantages:


  • A quick way to receive large amounts of instant feedback with minimal investment.
  • Ability to cross-reference user's behavior in the app and their feedback to glean more insights.
  • Relative freedom over how the survey is designed and to which types of users it is visible.


  • Difficulty in conducting thorough, multi-stage surveys through in-app prompts.
  • Lack of access to feedback from important segments of the app's users that simply refuse to engage with in-app survey prompts.

#2 Email Surveys

Though there's a misconception email surveys are out of date, they remain the most common, and arguably, the best way to conduct comprehensive surveys. Having complete freedom over the length and structure of the email, app developers can use email surveys to collect user feedback regarding pointed and narrow topics.


  • Ability to create comprehensive, multi-stage surveys to get valuable user feedback regarding specific topics of interest.
  • Ability to reach older segments of your user base, which typically don't interact with in-app surveys.


  • A method that's increasingly falling out of favor, it is increasingly harder to collect large amounts of user feedback through email surveys.
  • Heavy selection bias in the kinds of users that dedicate the time to properly fill out an email survey.

#3 Blogs and Other Social Platforms

As your app grows larger, users will start discussing both the positives and negatives of your app on social platforms. Though app developers have little control over where and how these discussions take place, they are still important avenues of customer feedback you can rely on to collect important insights.

Particularly, social platforms aren't places to collect nuanced and pointed user feedback regarding specific topics and niche features. Rather, they mostly act as a biometer of how users generally feel about your app. If a new feature is really loved or heavily disliked, in both cases, the first place user sentiments and feedback will show up is social platforms.


  • Ability to hear from a diverse range of voices that typically don't interact with surveys prepared by companies.
  • Access to real-time feedback, both positive and negative. A decent way to gauge sentiments when new updates and features are rolled out.
  • Cons:

  • Extremely difficult to turn forum-based qualitative feedback into data-driven quantitative feedback.
  • Impossible to ascertain the quality of the feedback received on forums. Made worse by the fact the feedback is also unlikely to be representative.
  • #4 Focus Groups

    All three methods of user feedback gathering we laid down above are reactive. It means that it is only possible to gauge the reaction of users after a change has been made, a product has been introduced, etc. Though not impossible, it is difficult to use them proactively to gauge how users will feel about an upcoming change.

    This is where focus groups come in. Created from several carefully selected users, focus groups are used to test how upcoming changes, updates, features, or products will be received by the app's user base at large. The changes will be introduced and shown to the focus group, and both their negative feedback and positive feedback will be carefully recorded. If the reaction of a focus group is overwhelmingly negative, this is a very good indicator that it will not be received well by the user base at large, and vice versa is also true.

    As your app grows larger, you can't afford to be experimental. A single botched update could destroy your app. This is why collecting feedback from focus groups is so important.


    • Ability to proactively ask for feedback regarding new features, products, updates, and changes before they're introduced to the wider user base.
    • Complete control over the type of members selected for a focus group, questions asked, and features and changes are shown. This gives developers the ability to test and gather user feedback about a vast array of items.


    • Prone to error as if the focus group selected is not representative of the users you're targeting, the user feedback collected could prove to be entirely useless. It is difficult to ensure focus groups are representative, as well.

    #5 Customer Satisfaction Surveys

    A customer satisfaction survey (CSAT) is an extremely simple survey that procs to ask users about their satisfaction either regarding the app itself or one of its products, features, or updates. A CSAT either asks them to score it from 1 to 10 or express their feelings from "least satisfied" to "most satisfied." Regardless of which is chosen, the handling and processing of the data produced through CSATs are largely identical.

    CSATs often appear as in-app prompts much like in-app surveys, so the two are often confused. The key difference is that CSATs ask one very specific question "How satisfied is the customer?" while in-app surveys are open-ended and can come in a multitude of forms.


    • Receiving feedback through CSATs is extremely simple and produces large amounts of quantitative data that can be readily used to draw actionable insights.
    • CSATs require a minimal commitment on the part of the user, and they're by far the type of survey that is most engaged with by users.


    • CSATs are highly restrictive and can't be used to collect feedback beyond very basic questions.

    Tips to Derive Actionable Insights From the Collected User Feedback

    Now that you have a large database of user feedback, it is time to process them to try and glean insights from them that can be used to inform both your development and business decisions.

    Though the process seems simple, there are a lot of considerations that you need to take into account when trying to make sense of user feedback. Having a bias in sampling or misinterpreting a variable can cost your company substantially, so you must get this step right!

    To that end, here are several highly useful tips you can use to help you take full advantage of the user feedback you've collected!

    #1 Understand the Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Feedback

    Understanding the difference between qualitative and quantitative data is one of the keys to properly leveraging user feedback in your decision-making.

    Qualitative feedback refers to the type of feedback that can't be easily categorized or counted. The reception of an app's feature on social media is an example of qualitative data. Another is lengthy answers submitted through email surveys.

    Quantitative feedback refers to the type of feedback that can be easily innumerated or quantified. User feedback collected through CSAT surveys is a prime example of quantitative feedback. Regardless of the amount of feedback you receive, it can easily be converted into a number representing the satisfaction rate of the app or one of its features, products, or changes.

    Both qualitative and quantitative feedback are important for decision-making. Many engineers disregard or place lesser importance on qualitative data since it can't be easily represented through numbers and charts, but this is a great disservice to your company as it forces you to miss out on important channels of feedback.

    #2 Take Advantage of User Feedback Tools

    User feedback tools are extremely powerful utility tools that enable various ways to collect feedback, process feedback, and make sense of it. There are a large number of tools to choose from and each offers an array of functionalities and features.

    Here at Releasecat, we've designed our user feedback tool. It is highly versatile and singularly enables and empowers developers to gather and process feedback. Our tools allow developers to create custom push notifications, design bespoke and stylish survey forums, and gather and share feedback data across multiple channels, and much more.

    Large companies generally create their tools and processes to facilitate the collection and processing of feedback, but small and medium enterprises neither have the capital nor the expertise necessary to do that. In these instances, relying on third-party user feedback tools can make the entire process much smoother and simpler. You don't need to reinvent the wheel, you can rely on the features and processes these tools provide to collect and analyze feedback.

    #3 Diversify the Sources of Feedback

    There are multiple methods of collecting feedback, but, whether you're using in-app surveys, email surveys, or another method, no single source of feedback captures your app's entire user base. In-app surveys will largely only be answered by the most dedicated users while email surveys will likely mostly only reach older demographics using your app. To have a complete picture of how your users feel and think, you need to rely on multiple sources.

    If a business is collecting and analyzing feedback from a single source, they'll do more harm than good to themselves. They might think a certain feature is really popular or that their entire user base is demanding a specific chance, but when they get around to implementing it, they'll find out this was only the sentiment of a tiny group that was captured by that specific source of feedback. The adage "half-knowledge is worse than ignorance" certainly rings true here!

    #4 Put Thought Into Survey Design

    Both the quality and quantity of the user feedback you receive are, in many ways, directly proportional to the quality of the surveys you use. Though many developers think of surveys simply as a list of questions, there's much more to it than that:

    • The content of the survey: There are several principles you need to follow when writing a survey. The questions need to be clear, straightforward, and to the point. They should ask for specific pieces of information. Lastly, they need to be worded as neutrally as possible to not influence the survey responders in any way. Remember, user feedback helps you collect key information, so the higher the quality are the responses, the better and more accurate the insights you extract from the feedback.
    • The aesthetics of the survey: The style and design of the survey are key to helping the survey grab the attention of your users and encourage them to fill it out. The visuals of the survey should be striking, the layout shouldn't be busy, and the questions should be visible and easily readable. You don't want to make filling out the survey feel like a chore through needlessly convoluted and busy layouts.

    - Releasecat Team

    Releasecat Team


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