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The impact of online ratings on downloads of free mobile apps
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Industrial Economics.
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Industrial Economics.
2017 (English)In: Proceedings of the 11th European Conference on Information Systems Management, ECISM 2017 / [ed] Dameri R.D.,Spinelli R., 2017, p. 225-232Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Consumers tend to rely more on peer information than seller information for their online product choices. Online rating systems have therefore become popular whereby consumers evaluate a product’s quality on a numerical scale. Previous studies have mainly investigated sales effects of online ratings, reporting mixed findings. How online ratings impact free app downloads is important to better understand for multiple and related reasons. Specifically, the vast majority of apps are free to download, price cannot be used by potential consumers to infer app quality, and providers may offer free apps as a means to gain market share. In this paper we analyse how average rating score, volume of ratings, and dispersion of ratings impact free app downloads. Signaling theory is used to derive hypotheses on how online rating variables impact in this regard. Data on online ratings and downloads of apps was collected for 720 apps available on Apple App Store and Google Play. Apps from the productivity and game categories were sampled to capture utilitarian and hedonic apps respectively. This choice was made to enable analysing the impact of online ratings across app type. For free app downloads, regression analyses revealed: (1) volume of ratings to have positive significant effect; (2) average rating score to have positive but insignificant effect; and (3) dispersion of ratings to have positive significant effect contingent on app type. Findings are partially consistent with signaling theory and suggest that app rating providers should attempt to attract large volume of ratings. Providing incentives for rating apps, or using a pledge in the app asking consumers to rate it, could be such means. Future research is needed on whether average rating scores are too similar for competing app alternatives to guide app choice. Further research is also needed on why dispersion of ratings positively impacts free app downloads.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. p. 225-232
Keywords [en]
Downloads, Mobile Apps, Online Ratings Regression Analysis, Signaling Theory
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-15322ISBN: 9781911218524 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-15322DiVA, id: diva2:1148361
Conference
11th European Conference on Information Systems Management, ECISM, Genoa
Available from: 2017-10-10 Created: 2017-10-10 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved

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Numminen, EmilSällberg, Henrik

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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