What if I told you that Review Mining can help you:

  • Get valuable user feedback and unsolicited opinions
  • Uncover new app features that people would love to use, but don’t exist yet
  • Find new ASO keywords
  • Understand which features of your app to kill and which ones to develop further
  • Squash pesky bugs in your app
  • Figure out how to beat your competition
  • Spark new marketing ideas

Now what if I told you that this information is free and that your competition probably uses it too?

Would you start using it?

I sure hope so!

This is what Review Mining or app store review analysis can do for you. In this post, we will show you exactly how to sort through potentially millions of app reviews, to get the exact information that you need to gain a competitive advantage on the app stores.

With thousands of new apps being published every month, Review Mining is no longer optional.

In order to stand out in the crowded app stores, this is now a necessity. This post will show you exactly how to get this information, so your apps don’t get buried.

App Store Review Mining: The Power User's Guide

If you are already familiar with some of these strategies, use this table of contents to skip the sections you need.

Table of Contents

How to Get Review Mining Data

Before we get started on how to use all of this important information, you need to know how to get it. So we will go over two ways that you can start searching through user reviews, to get valuable information.

Using iTunes / Google Play

The first method is free and available to anyone in the world. The downside is that it takes a lot of time.

This method is good for app marketers who are on a very tight budget, but still want to take advantage of the benefits of review analysis.

Before you dig into the app reviews, setup a spreadsheet to track all of your reviews. You can sort it in any way you like, but we recommend keeping it simple in the beginning.

By using a spreadsheet, you can easily search for keywords and highlight reviews that reviews that are especially useful.  Here is what we recommend to start with.

Make sure that the app name is in the title and use separate sheet for different countries. Of course, you can setup your spreadsheet any way you want…do whatever works for you.

Tracking spreadsheet

There will be a point however, where you will run out of room on your spreadsheet. Google Sheets has a limit of 400,000 rows, so it might take awhile. But if running out of space is a concern, you could also use a desktop database application like Microsoft Access or OpenOffice.

Google Play

Let’s start with the Google Play Store. Since all app reviews are available inside a browser, you can simply go to Google Play and copy the review. Then paste it into your spreadsheet/database.

Copy app review

iTunes

The only way to see user reviews from iTunes is to use the iTunes desktop app. But Apple does not allow people to copy/paste from the app.

So what can you do?

Well, you could type in reviews manually. If you don’t have time for that, then there are a couple of other things that you can do.

Outsourcing

If you don’t want to do all of this yourself, then you can hire someone on a site like Upwork to do all of this for you. But that could get expensive.

Here’s a better way…

Using Mobile Action

We compile of of this data for you, so you can easily search the reviews of any app. It will come out much cheaper to simply use our user review database and search engine.

…and it will save you a ton of time!

You can get started with a free Mobile Action account and start analyzing user reviews right now. Research your app or any other app. So unless you like doing things the hard way, take one minute to sign up for an account, so you can get the most out of this guide.

After you sign up for an account, search for one of your apps and add it to your watchlist. If your apps don’t have a lot of reviews, then you can add a famous app like Clash of Clans or Facebook and use that as an example.

Add to watchlist

Then go to ASO Intelligence > App Analytics > Review Analysis.

Review AnalysisNow follow along, because here is the valuable information that you can discover inside Review Analysis…

App Store Keyword Discovery

App reviews are a great source for ASO keywords. Since users are using their natural writing patterns, they are very likely to give you some clues as to what they would search for on the app stores.

The best place to start with finding important keywords for an app is to look at the right side of the screen. We take all of the reviews of this app, pull out the most mentioned keywords and give them to you here.

This will save you a ton of time because you will get the keywords right away, and understand the sentiment behind each keyword. We do this by taking the average rating of the review that the keyword comes from.

Keyword frequency

Checking this list for every app you research can help you find important keywords right away. But we can also take this one step further, if we do not find any useful keywords on this list.

You can do a search for any of these keywords, to uncover other related keywords. For example, if we search for the keyword “fun,” these are the first two results that we get.

App reviews

In the first review, the phrase “casual play” could be a keyword worth investigating. You can go through the rest of the keywords like this and see what you can find.

Also be sure to search for other keywords that you think would help you find more valuable keywords. This is going to vary greatly by niche, so we will leave that to you 🙂

Uncover Hot New Feature Ideas

Are you wondering which features you should add to your app next?

Well, why guess, when people might be literally telling you what they want, in the reviews of an app?

You should examine your app and competing apps, to get this information. To get started, here is a list of keywords that we recommend searching for:

  • “please add”
  • “would be nice”
  • “suggest”

Example

Review suggestions

When we search for “would be nice,” we find a suggestion from someone to add the ability to play offline.

Obviously, you are not going to add a feature just because one or two people request it. However, if you see a lot of requests in the reviews of multiple apps, this can be a clear indication of what to do next.

Find New Marketing Strategies

Even if you have an amazing app that millions of people need, your success or failure will depend on your ability to communicate that benefit to your target audience.

…and to even reach your target audience.

So how can you figure out which angle to take, to get people excited about your app? Furthermore, how can you legitimately demonstrate why your app is better than the competition?

As you have probably guessed, the answer can lie in Review Mining. Here are the keywords that we recommend starting with:

  • “better than”
  • “hate”
  • “best thing”
  • “love”

These keywords can give you some deep insights that you can use for your marketing campaigns.

Example

"hate" keyword search

When we searched for the keyword “hate” in the reviews of the Facebook app, these were the first three reviews that we found. If you have a competing app, you now have a list of things that people don’t like about the Facebook app.

You can see which ones your app does better and test some different marketing messages around those features. For example, the third review mentions that she cannot open the app unless she is on WiFi.

If your app does not require an internet connection to open, you might want to tell people that in your ads, in your app description and/or on your website.

Understand User Pain Points

To take user analysis one step further, Review Mining can help discover user pain points that can be turned into new features or make the user experience of your app much better.

Also think about how people use your app in their everyday lives. That can lead to solving major problems that people have with your app and other apps like yours.

Here are some keywords that can help:

  • “dislike”
  • “annoying”
  • “irritating”
  • “daily”
  • “my life”

Example

"dislike" reviews

When we searched for the keyword “dislike” in the reviews of Facebook, these were the first three results that we found. Two of the reviews mention videos, so this may be an area to explore more.

The next search that you can do is for the keyword “video.” Find out what others are saying about the video features and see if this is something that you need to take action on.

Get Detailed Bug Reports

There are some software bugs that are obvious and easy to fix. But once in awhile, there are those bugs that only come up when there is a full moon and the user holds their phone with their left hand, while riding on a boat, on the Pacific Ocean.

…or so it seems.

In other words, it can be really tough to nail down the exact set of conditions that leads to a crash or malfunction. If you are using Crash Analytics software, this will help a lot.

But not always.

So when you are doing review mining for your app, it is useful to make checking for bug reports part of your routine.

This will not only help you fix bugs quickly, but it will help you fix things that may seem minor to you, but may be a big deal to your users.

Here are the keywords that we recommend searching for:

  • “bug”
  • “crash”
  • “hate when”
  • “please fix”
  • “fix this”
  • “needs work”

There are other keywords that you can search for, based on your niche. But those are a good start for all apps.

Example

Bug report

Here is an example of a complaint about the Uber app keeping location services on, even after the ride is over. There might be some “evil” motive for this, but it is much more likely that since the app runs in the background, it keeps location services on so that it will be ready for the next ride.

However, the perception of the user can be more important that what is actually happening. So turning off location services shortly after the ride is completed might help people trust the app more, even if this may seem like a minor issue to the engineering team.

Stay on Top of User Reviews with Custom Alerts

Woman on phone checking email alerts

Even with our user review database and search engine, it can be tough to stay on top of user reviews. That is why we went one step further and created Custom Alerts.

This will allow you receive an email alert on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Example

Snapchat reviews email

If you wanted to monitor the reviews of the Snapchat app on a weekly basis, this is how you would setup the Custom Alert. Every week, you would receive an email with a list of the new reviews for the week.

This makes is really easy to get user reviews in your inbox, without having to login to your Mobile Action account. Who knows what useful information you might see, once you setup alerts?

When Review Mining Doesn’t Work

Now that you have seen all of the benefits of doing Review Analysis, it is certainly not a magic bullet. There a couple of scenarios when it doesn’t work.

First, if you are in a niche where the apps are new or don’t get a ton of downloads, then there simply won’t be enough reviews to analyze.

It’s tough, but there isn’t much that you can do about that.

Second, if an app uses a black hat ASO strategy and buys fake app reviews, then Review Mining won’t help you there either. There may be some legitimate reviews in there, so be sure to check before you totally write that app off.

But if it is obvious that there are only fake reviews, then don’t bother checking that app in the future.

For the most part however, you can analyze the user reviews of most app store niches.

Conclusion

So that is the complete guide to using user reviews to improve the quality, marketing and visibility of your mobile app. This works for both the Apple App Store and the Google Play App Store.

Implement these strategies today.

There are more and more apps being published every day. You need to gain every advantage possible, to give your apps the best chance of success.

Sign up for a free Mobile Action account and give this a try right now.