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Apple App Store Content Rating Statistics 2020

Apple App Store Content Rating Statistics 2020

Last update: 19 May 2020 CET
App Content Rating Statistics 2020

This article provides insides about app content rating on Apple App Store. We will explain App Store content rating system in more details and also reveal statistics about its use.

What is the Apple App Store Content Rating System?

Content ratings for apps and mobile games – much like their antecedents in the film, television, and video game industries – were instituted to help consumers understand the suitability of their subjects for particular age groups and audiences. What’s more, as the mobile industry has flourished, content ratings have blossomed into a uniquely valuable tool. Indeed, they can be leveraged in a variety of impactful ways by, not only consumers, but developers, marketers, and advertisers, as well.

For instance, app content ratings can be leveraged to improve ad targeting by putting the right messages in front of the right audiences. Additionally, they serve to inform prospective customers of potentially objectionable content, to block or filter content in certain territories or to specific users where legally required, and to evaluate whether an app is eligible for special developer programs.

Moreover, content ratings provide users with a welcome layer of transparency. That is, if an app has content targeted towards mature audiences, and is rated accordingly, users sensitive to such content will be less likely to download the app. Consequently, they will be less likely to leave aggravated reviews following bad experiences with the content.

Apps are primarily evaluated based on their subject matter, including their treatment of violence, blood, gore, drugs and other intoxicating substances, crude language, crude humor, gambling, nudity, and sex. In addition, some content raters, such as the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), will consider whether apps collect and share location or personal information, enable user interaction, share user-generated content, or offer in-app digital purchases.

How is iOS App Content Rated?

In order to receive a content rating for an iOS app on the Apple App Store, developers must fill out a content rating matrix on iTunes Connect as they are preparing the app for publication. This matrix consists of ten content-related questions. Depending on the answers provided, the app will be placed into one of the following four age-based categories:

  • 4+: The app contains no objectionable material. 4+ has three sub-classifications:

    • Made for Ages 5 and Under - This app is suitable for children aged 5 and under, but people aged 6 and over can also use this app.

    • Made for Ages 6 to 8 - This app is suitable for children aged 6 to 8, but people aged 9 and over can also use this app.

    • Made for Ages 9 to 11 - This app is suitable for children aged 9 to 11, but people aged 12 and over can also use this app.

  • 9+: The app may contain content unsuitable for children under the age of 9. This includes mild occurrences of cartoon, fantasy, or realistic violence, and some mature, suggestive, or horror-themed content. 9+ has one sub-classification:

    • Made for Ages 9 to 11 - This app is suitable for children aged 9 to 11, but people aged 12 and over can also use this app.

  • 12+: The app may contain content unsuitable for children under the age of 12. This could be frequent cartoon, fantasy, or realistic violence; some mature or suggestive themes, occasional bad language, or simulated gambling.

  • 17+: The app may contain content unsuitable for persons under the age of 17. This could mean frequent offensive language, excessive cartoon, fantasy, or realistic violence; mature, horror, or suggestive themes; sexual content, nudity, alcohol, and drugs; or any combination thereof. This includes apps with unrestricted web access. No one aged 16 and under is allowed to purchase an app rated 17+.

Finally, it should be noted that all apps sold on the Apple App Store are subject to approval by Apple for the purpose of basic reliability testing and other analysis. Moreover, apps that do not receive ratings according to the Apple App Store content rating system cannot be purchased on the App Store.

Apple App Store Content Rating Statistics

The following shows the distribution of . The majority of apps () are rated .

42matters Content Ratings File Dump for App Store

To help businesses harness the full potential of app and mobile game content ratings, we here at 42matters provide a data dump of app content ratings by country for all apps available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Our data includes details on regional and global content ratings, including those from ESRB in the Americas, PEGI in Europe and the Middle East, USK in Germany, the Australian Classification Board, ClassInd in Brazil, GRAC in South Korea, IARC, and Apple.

The 42matters content ratings file dump facilitates intelligent ad targeting for developers and Ad Tech businesses and is compatible with parental control apps. It comes as a single gzipped file with line delimited JSON and has the following characteristics:

  • Each line is a valid JSON object
  • UTF-8 encoding
  • Line separator is '\n'

For more information about our content ratings file dump, see here or contact our team.

How Ad Networks Use App Content Ratings

When online advertising networks onboard mobile applications to prepare them for serving ads, they need as much information about the apps as possible to make sure they serve highly relevant ads that generate clicks. 42matters’ content ratings file dump is a handy tool for refining this process as it delivers valuable maturity insights into the core audiences of every app available on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Indeed, determining audience maturity is critical. Both app publishers and brands alike are highly concerned with their reputations, so ad networks must be able to provide ad experiences that aligns with their brand safety goals.

To this end, app content ratings enable ad networks to infer whether ads might be more or less likely to trigger a click or lead to a negative review. The better an ad network is able to classify apps in this way, the better they are able to target ads. In turn, this fosters customer loyalty by boosting the return on investment (ROI) ad networks are able to provide.

Of course, the unhappy inverse is true as well. If an ad network inadequately vets app audiences, and serves ads that negatively impact user experience, app publishers will be disinclined to continue working with them. Likewise, if brands find that they are advertising to disinterested audiences, they will not realize any substantial ROI for their mobile advertising activity.

For more information about how 42matters can help ad networks improve the value of their offerings, check out these blogs:

How Parental Control Apps Use App Content Ratings

Developers that build parental control apps fundamentally want to equip parents with the ability to protect their children against a growing number of serious online threats. These include everything from cyberbullying, to cyber-predators, to screen addiction, and sexually-explicit or otherwise inappropriate content.

42matters aggregates the content ratings of all apps available on Google Play and the Apple App Store such that developers can easily leverage this information into their parental control products and make sure kids aren’t exposed to potentially harmful content. And because Google and Apple work with content rating organizations operating across the globe, 42matters is able to provide region-specific content ratings that cater to the demands of various cultures.

Finally, as we will discuss later, content rating organizations such as the IARC assess not only the content of the apps, but any and all interactive elements that might collect and share location or personal information, enable user interaction, share user-generated content, or offer in-app digital purchases.

How App Recommender Systems Use App Content Ratings

Recommender systems – such as the one used by Netflix to suggest new shows to viewers – seek to predict whether users will be interested in certain items or pieces of content. App recommender systems, therefore, are aimed at recommending new apps to users based on their profile, app history, and other such indicators.

42matters’ app content ratings file dump can help recommender systems improve their accuracy by providing insight into the core audiences of every app available on both major app stores.