Public Domain Image of Miners from Flickr. Thanks Pascal.

App Review Mining to Improve your App Development and Marketing

The mobile app industry is a unique marketplace in many ways and one specific way is the review and feedback cycle. We’re going to tell you more about the concept called ‘review mining’ and how you can use it to improve your app business.

Each and every day your customers and potential customers are telling you what they like and don’t like about your app and your competitors’ apps. In many other industries this feedback would be invaluable and very difficult to attain. In the App Store it is freely available for all to see — you, your competitors, potential customers, future employees, anyone…

When you visit any iOS app’s page in the App Store or the iTunes website you can very easily see the current reviews for the app. Browsing through this data shows you how many stars a user has given the app along with why they gave it that ranking.

Facebook App Reviews

As you can see above it looks like customers are not happy with Facebook’s latest update since the ratings are trending lower than average. Review mining is the technique of analyzing the review text to look for common themes that users are focusing on. Just quickly browsing the three reviews above we can see that users seem to be particularly upset with notifications in the newest version of the Facebook app.

If you work on Facebook’s app this user feedback tells you the critical issues that you need to address in your next update and if you happen to be working on a competing app this provides great visibility into weaknesses that you can exploit to take customers from the competition. If you were working on a new social network you would definitely be interested in developing a better notification user experience than Facebook provides.

Facebook Number of Reviews

Review mining, while very powerful, becomes quite difficult when you have hundreds or thousands of reviews to peruse. One potential solution is to read through your reviews and create a spreadsheet to track occurrences of common words that your customers are writing in reviews. While this will solve the problem this would be very time consuming and not necessarily worth the effort or be maintainable in the long run.

Another option would be to use a software service available for efficient review mining. Sensor Tower is a site that offers review mining capabilities for a price with one of their commercial options.

In addition, in our new free Idealyzer app (currently in beta testing and launching soon) we’re providing review mining capability that focuses on indie iOS developers that don’t have the budget to purchase costly tools.

With just a few taps in Idealyzer you can get access to the view below. Idealyzer will aggregate the reviews for any competing app (or your own app for that matter) and count the frequency that particular term appears in reviews.

Review Mining in Idealyzer

With just a glance you can see that there are crashing (11) issues with the latest update (17) and some people think that this is horrible (6). As with any review this information should be taken with a grain of salt but with this view it’s very easy to get the general sentiment of the user community.

Regardless if you just browse the App Store for reviews, make your own custom spreadsheet, purchase a Sensor Tower subscription, or try the Idealyzer app review mining is a technique that you should incorporate in your app development.

Focus on your strengths and exploit the competitions’ weaknesses to have more success in your app development and marketing.

716 Labs is an indie app development studio run by Karl and Scott. This was originally posted on our site 716-labs.com. Feel free to contact us if you’d like to discuss this article, any of our apps, or anything regarding iOS app development.