“Toward Improved Mobile App Engagement: Popular App Adoption as Stimulus” by Dr. Sungho Park
Dr. Sungho Park
Department of Marketing
W.P. Carey School of Business
Arizona State University
Despite the massive influx of mobile apps into the market, not all these innovations enjoy equal attention. Using a novel dataset on individual app usage, we examine the potential of “popular apps” as stimuli of mobile app engagement in terms of variety and volume. We employ the Gaussian copula-based difference-in-differences framework to construct a joint model of discrete number of apps used and continuous app usage duration. Results indicate that popular app adoption increases the number of apps used by 5.8% and app usage duration by 10.4% (excluding the popular app). Such positive spillovers stem from the enhanced search trial of new apps. App trials occur not only within the same category as the popular app, but also across different categories. These popular apps are especially effective tools for increasing app engagement among technologically and managerially under-represented user groups (e.g., senior, irregular, occasional, and light app users). We provide implications that marketers can capitalize on the use of popular apps as nonintrusive and cost-free vehicles to improve mobile app engagement.