Data Bits: Less Than One Percent of iOS App Developers Have Half of All Reviews

Not too long ago we built a completely new way of tracking app reviews by caching data for speedy full-text search and advanced filtering. That means we’re now downloading every single review for more and more apps every day in addition to the aggregate review data we already have. As you can imagine, that data occupies a lot of bits on our servers, but it also leaves us with tons of juicy data to analyze. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be writing several blog posts analyzing this data set and others.

It’s no secret that a few popular apps get a lot of reviews while most don’t even come close. We wanted to quantify this sentiment and figure out how many developers get how many reviews. We’re happy to share this information in the hope that it gives developers some insight into how their portfolios compare with those of other developers.

Our data set

There’s a lot of app review data out there from numerous countries and several stores, so for the sake of keeping this post short we decided to focus on a pretty specific slice of data, containing only iOS apps. Our sample consists of over 70 million aggregated reviews from 151 countries, which is enough to show some interesting and meaningful data.

DistributionOfRevsByDeveloperSize

Looking at this chart, three interesting points immediately jumped out at us:

  • A typical iOS developer can expect between 1 – 5,000 reviews for their entire portfolio (a pretty huge range if we may say so).
  • Half of developers have more than 500 reviews.
  • 5% of developers don’t have a single review for any of their apps (not even from mom!).

Also, the chart has three fairly equal slices inside the 1 – 5,000 range. This means that an almost-equal number of developers fall into the 1 – 100, 101 – 500, and 1,000 – 5,000 ranges. In which camp do you belong?

Looking at the extremes

A lot of developers would agree that a very large portion of reviews is held by a small portion of developers (that group in the small green slices in the above chart). Again, we wanted to quantify this amount, so we took various-sized chunks of the developers with the most reviews and saw how many reviews they held (out of total reviews).

ProportionOfRevsByTopDevelopers

So it looks like a quarter of reviews are held by just one tenth of a percent of all developers. These are the developers in the extremes of our previous chart. In this case, the extremes are huge, with some developers having portfolios with millions of reviews.

What’s next?

This is all we have the time for today but there are still some unanswered questions: what types of apps are those 0.1% most-reviewed developers creating? Do specific genres or prices of apps draw more feedback than others? Are these reviews largely positive or negative? Next time we’ll explore some of these questions and more.

Almost everything we do is inspired by you, our members and readers, so please share your thoughts on this blog, twitter, or any of the other virtual hangout places out there.