Most Common Words Used in App Store Reviews: Developers, Listen Up

With the App Store achieving over 6.5 billion downloads, and the number of apps reaching a quarter million, what are some common words people have used to rate apps? Marco Arment decided to figure this out, and his results should be worth some excellent advice for iOS developers.

Arment created a script to analyze US App Store customer review for the top 100 app from every category. The purpose of this was to analyze the most common words used when people were rating the worst (1-star) and best (5-star) apps. Words used in 3-star reviews were excluded. Here are his results:

These are the top words by rating, with descending frequency:

★★★★★:
awesome, worth, thanks, amazing, simple, perfect, price, everything, ever, must, ipod, before, found, store, never, recommend, done, take, always, touch

★☆☆☆☆:
waste, money, crashes, tried, useless, nothing, paid, open, deleted, downloaded, didn’t, says, stupid, anything, actually, account, bought, apple, already

Bold words are adjectives or likely to be used as adjectives in context.

Marco goes on to conclude the following:

  • awesome apps are liked; ones that crash are disliked (not surprising)
  • “simple” as one of the top positive words used indicates what people expect from the iOS platform
  • price is a huge factor in both positive and negative reviews. Are people just too cheap to pay $1.99 for an app, but are willing to pay $5 for a latte (and the cost of upgrading hardware every year)?
  • The liberal and unfair usage of the word “useless” in negative reviews. Hey, at least App Store reviewers haven’t reached the scary level of YouTube commenters– the scariest people on the planet.

So in a nutshell, here’s what you need to do to create that “big hit” in the App Store: make an app that is awesome, amazing and simple to use and make the user feel it is worth the amazing $0.99 price. The word “perfect” should come to mind in describing your app.

How often do you rate apps in the App Store? Have you ever used any of the words listed above for negative/positive reviews?

[Marco.org via DF]

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Half_Pint

    I don’t think “useless” is an unfair description for an app someone paid for, but cannot use due to crashes.

  • JfromK

    I don’t think “useless is an unfair description, period. There are multitudes of completely useless apps out there that were intended to be useless from the moment the author envisioned them.

  • JfromK

    I don’t think “useless is an unfair description, period. There are multitudes of completely useless apps out there that were intended to be useless from the moment the author envisioned them.

  • I Agree with Gary about the comment price

    “is a huge factor in both positive and negative reviews. Are people just too cheap to pay $1.99 for an app, but are willing to pay $5 for a latte ”

    With my experience a large reason why is who wants to pay $1.99 for an app that your just not quite sure about.
    The app store has 250,000 apps apparently, 70% of which are cheaply made, or copy cats of other apps.

    I am willing to spend $5 on a latte, but the difference between the latte and the App is if the latte is made wrong, i can send it back. If the App is made wrong, im stuck with it for ever with a chance of no updates. Some Developers release an app, then abandon it.

    Thats my take on it anyways ^_^.

  • Anonymous

    YouTube commenters– the scariest people on the planet.

    /win

  • 😀

  • Yanovich

    Yes but to be able to critic you have to pay for it. And paying for an apps you need an interest/need. So after reading the info about it you found it useful enough… then the problem is in front of the device 😉