Google Play App Content Rating Statistics 2023

App Content Rating Statistics 2023

This article provides insides about app content rating on the Google Play Store. We will explain Google's content rating system in more details and also reveal statistics about its use.

What is the Google Play 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.

Some organizations responsible for rating content include the aforementioned International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), and Pan European Game Information (PEGI). More on these later.

How Google Play App Content Is Rated?

In order to receive a content rating for an app on the Google Play Store, developers must fill out a rating questionnaire on the Play Console that inquires about the nature of the app’s content. An app’s rating will depend on how these questions, which were developed by the IARC, are answered.

According to the Google Play content rating system guidelines, Android developers are responsible for completing content rating questionnaires for new apps submitted on the Play Console, existing apps that are active on Google Play, and all app updates where there has been a change to app content or features that would affect the responses to the questionnaire. To benefit users, Google recommends that developers use the assigned rating when advertising their app in each respective region.

To keep developers honest, it is the prerogative of rating authorities participating in IARC to change an app's rating after a review of its content. In other words, if a rating authority finds an apparent discrepancy between an app’s content and its rating, it can override the app’s questionnaire-generated score. In the event that an app rating is overridden, developers can re-complete the content rating questionnaire.

Additionally, developers may need to receive a content rating from other rating authorities depending on the regional availability of their apps. The methodologies applied by these third-party rating authorities vary, as do the rating standards inherent to the countries and regions they serve. As such, regional ratings assigned to specific apps may vary accordingly.

PEGI App Content Rating Statistics for Google Play

PEGI provides age classifications for video games in 38 European countries. While PEGI uses a single set of criteria to determine the age rating of video games, they use two different rating procedures for pre-release verification and post-release verification for digital products. For apps available on Google Play, PEGI relies on the methodology developed by the IARC. PEGI places games in the following age-based categories: 3, 7, 12, 16, and 18.

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

USK App Content Rating Statistics for Google Play

While the USK offers a wide range of services for developers, publishers, and content providers selling into German markets, they are best known for the classification of games, apps, online content, trade fairs, and events. They rate content in such storefronts as: Google Play Store, Nintendo eShop, Microsoft Windows Store, Xbox Store, and the Oculus Store. Similar to ESRB and PEGI, USK relies on the IARC methodology to rate mobile apps and games. To guarantee consistent quality the USK monitors these classifications via procedure-specific means.

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

ESRB App Content Rating Statistics for Google Play

ESRB ratings are officially recognized and implemented in three major countries: Canada, Mexico and the United States. They apply different methodologies depending on whether they are rating a game that is available physically (e.g. boxed) or digitally (e.g. mobile apps). For digital games, ESRB relies on the IARC questionnaire methodology. ESRB places games into the following categories: Everyone, Everyone 10+, Teen, Mature 17+, Adults Only 18+, and Rating Pending.

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

ACB App Content Rating Statistics for Google Play

The Australian Classification Board is responsible for the classification of films, computer games, and publications sold and distributed across Australian. They place content in the following categories: General (G), Parental Guidance (PG) and Mature (M), Mature Accompanied (MA 15+) and Restricted (R 18+), Restricted (X 18+), and Check the Classification (CTC).

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

ClassInd App Content Rating Statistics for Google Play

Classificação Indicativa, ClassInd for short, rates audiovisual content sold and distributed across Brazil. This includes content for television, film, electronic games, applications, and role-playing games (RPG). Their age rating categories are: L (“Livre,” suitable for audiences), 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18.

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

IARC App Content Rating Statistics for Google Play

The International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) provides a globally streamlined age classification process for digital games and mobile apps. Their mission is to ensure that digital consumers have consistent access to trusted, well-established age ratings across gaming platforms.

IARC simplifies the age rating process by reducing it to a single set of questions that developers must answer about their products' content and interactive elements. identifying apps that collect and share location or personal information, enable user interaction, share user-generated content, or offer in-app digital purchases.

The IARC’s rating system is currently deployed by rating authorities which serve approximately 1.5 billion people. It incorporates the distinct content criteria and standards for each participating territory. The IARC developed their system through close collaboration with participating rating authorities, game makers, and digital storefronts.

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

GRAC App Content Rating Statistics for Google Play

Under the "Game Industry Promotion Act," anyone who intends to produce or distribute games in South Korea must obtain a content rating for their games by the GRAC. GRAC places content in the following categories: All, 12, 15, 18, Testing, and Nonprofit. Under "the Game Industry Promotion Act," the definition of game material includes PC packaging, PC online, Mobile, Arcade, Video-Console, Downloaded, Embedded games, and more.

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

Where Can I Get Raw Data About Content Ratings for Google Play?

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 Google Play 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.