What in Consumer Reviews Affects the Sales of Mobile Apps: A Multifacet Sentiment Analysis Approach

Ting-Peng Liang, Xin Li, Chin-Tsung Yang, and Mengyue Wang
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 20, Number 2, Winter 2015-16, pp. 236-260.


With the rapid adoption of smartphones, developing mobile apps has become an attractive arena for entrepreneurs. Many factors drive the sales of mobile apps, one of which is online word of mouth (eWOM). This research examines the effect of textual consumer reviews on the sales of mobile apps. Noting the inconsistent findings on the effect of textual reviews in previous literature, this study inspects how the sentiments of different topics in online reviews affect app sales. We develop a multifacet sentiment analysis (MFSA) approach to measure the dimensions in consumer reviews. Specifically, we are interested in the comments on product quality and service quality in this research. Employing a real-world data set of seventy-nine paid and seventy free apps from an iOS app store, we found that although consumers’ opinions on product quality occupies a larger portion of consumer reviews, their comments on service quality have a stronger unit effect on sales rankings. The empirical analysis illustrates the value of our proposed MFSA approach for better understanding of the effect of textual consumer reviews on mobile app success.

Key Words and Phrases: Consumer reviews, electronic word of mouth, eWoM, mobile app sales, opinion analysis, sentiment analysis, text mining.