Last week, I wrote about Apple Podcasts star ratings, and what I learned by analyzing 20 million of them.
But star ratings are only part of the story. As Apple explains:
Listeners can rate your podcast on a scale of one to five stars and can also add a written review.
That’s what we’ll look at today — the written reviews that can accompany star ratings in Apple Podcasts.
I analyzed a sample of 4,130,098 written reviews from Apple Podcasts (US), spanning 233,426 unique podcasts, from the period of December 2005 to November 2020.
Here’s what I learned…
Wednesday is the most popular day to leave a written review
Because each written review in Apple Podcasts includes a date, we can easily calculate which days of the week are the most popular for reviewing podcasts.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, weekdays are more popular than weekends. Historically, more reviews were left on Wednesdays than any other day of the week.
Most written reviews include a 5-star rating
Because every written review also includes a star rating, we can look at the distribution of star ratings among written reviews:
This is similar to what I found when I looked at star ratings alone. Most written reviews in Apple Podcasts (US) are accompanied by a 5-star rating.
Of course, there can be a disconnect between a listener’s enjoyment of the show and the number of stars they leave in Apple Podcasts:
Critical reviews are longer than positive reviews
Some podcast reviews are extremely short — just one character. The longest reviews I could find were 6,000 characters.
Across my dataset of 4 million written reviews, the average review length was 220 characters, or approximately 36 English words.
But what I found most interesting was the average character count by star rating:
On average, written reviews that include a 5-star rating are shorter than written reviews that include a 4, 3, 2, or 1-star rating.
In other words, listeners seem to have have more to say when there’s something they don’t like about your show.
Written reviews are shorter than they used to be
Speaking of review length, I wanted to know if written reviews are getting longer or shorter over time. So I plotted average review length by month.
On average, reviews are shorter than they used to be, with a steep dropoff from 2009 to 2010.
One possible factor could be the shift to smartphone listening. Historically, as more podcast listening shifted away from the desktop, text entry on mobile devices may have played a role in how much listeners were willing to type.
Average star ratings among written reviews peaked in 2014
Because every written review in Apple Podcasts also includes a star rating, we can look at how the average star rating associated with written reviews has changed over time.
It seems 2014 was the year we hit “peak positive podcast review.” That year, the average star rating among written review was 4.8 out of 5, which is even higher than the overall average star rating of 4.6 out of 5.
- Ratings and reviews are an important part of your show’s product packaging
- Most written podcast reviews include a 5-star rating
- On average, critical reviews are longer than positive reviews
- More reviews are written on weekdays than weekends
How do you encourage listeners to rate and review your show?