A member of the Amazon Alexa slack channel* suggested that customer engagement on Alexa could be measured by looking at the date of all the reviews on the marketplace. The idea being that an engaged community of users would leave reviews for the skills they tried. Looking at these reviews over time could help us understand the engagement levels of Alexa users. This is not a perfect correlation, but it’s the closest proxy for user engagement that anyone outside Amazon can have. I took a look and was a bit surprised by what I found.
On the vertical axis, we have the number of monthly reviews. On the horizontal axis, we have each month from November 2015 until September 2019.
The general pattern we can see is that every year around the holiday (December/January), there is a spike of reviews. This is likely because people get an Alexa device as a gift, play around with it, and leave reviews for what they discover. This engagement is not sustained though, and the number of reviews drops throughout the year until the next holiday period.
Most interesting is that the number of reviews from Holidays 2017 is almost twice that of Holidays 2018… You would expect engagement (as measured by reviews) to increase on a yearly basis as the user base grows. It seems as though Holiday 2019 won’t do much better than the previous year. I would love to hear your thoughts on why user reviews peaked in 2017 in the comments.
It’s worth noting that these data are only from the US store. As the number of reviews stagnates (as it seems to be doing), Amazon is opening new regional Alexa marketplaces. These marketplaces will likely see similar patterns of engagement/reviews (early peaks then stagnation). While it’s true that engagement in the US peaked in 2017, there will be global increase of reviews when all markets are combined.
Disclaimer: Our dataset is not perfect. We try our best to ensure the quality of our data, but there may be some discrepancy. However, we are looking at 248 024 reviews, so any issue would have to be sizable for it to have a significant impact on the overall trends presented here.
*Shout-out to Alexa pro Jo Jaquinta!