Study reveals that in-app ad issues are resolved on Google Play more quickly than on Apple App Store

In-app ads are a major source of revenue generation for a lot of developers. Around 2 million free apps across Google Play Store and Apple App Store use in-app ads for monetization. But almost 50% of the users find these ads intrusive and they uninstall the apps based on different issues that they encounter because of these ads.

The researchers of Harbin Institute of Technology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Singapore Management University, and Monash University of Melbourne, conducted an interesting study to analyze the apps and their in-app ad issues and how quickly developers resolved those issues. They investigated in-app ads in 32 cross-platform apps that rank in the top 100 apps in Google Play and the App Store. They used apps from 15 distinct categories. All these apps had more than 100,000 reviews on both Google Play and the App Store.

After selecting the apps, they used a web crawler that scraped user reviews, which were then filtered and isolated based on certain keywords like ‘ads’, ‘advert,’ ‘ad’ and were able to extract 18,302 ad-related reviews out of 3,243,450 total reviews from Google Play and 1,840,349 total reviews from the App Store. All these reviews were published between September 2014 and March 2019.

To assess the resolution rate of in-app ad complaints, the researchers then recorded the number of app versions released between the time of reporting of these issues and the time by which they were resolved.

It was noted that developers on Google Play took an average of 1.23 updates per app before they fixed the problems. On iOS, this rate was slower as developers took an average of 1.78 updates per app before the issues were resolved on the App Store. So, generally, the rate of resolution of in-app ad issues was faster on Google Play as compared to the App Store. However, some issues such as those with the orientation of ads, auto-play, and notification complaints were fixed faster on iOS than Android. Android was quicker with issues revolving around in-app ad orientation, volume, and some non-skippable ad issues.

All these issues were categorized based on review with the help of keyword matching and AI classifier models.

It was found out that 8.81% of the reviews were complaints about ad content. 25% of these reviews were based on complaints around ad frequency, while 13% of the complaints were about the sudden ‘popping up’ of in-app ads.

45.51% of the reviews had complaints about the ads being too many, and 12.11% of the complaints were about the ads being too lengthy. 0.8- 6.4% of the reviews were about complaints related to ad volume, auto-playing issues, large ad size, non-skippable ads, and ad placement, and position.

The study concludes that app developers must prioritize solving ad issues without much delay. They should work on ad display, placement, orientation, and ad length because longer ads can harm ad revenue.

Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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