Funded PhD Research

Yupeng Chen

How to Motivate Mobile App Adoption? Evidence from a Field Experiment

Mobile apps have become an important part of our daily lives. Adults in the U.S. are spending around two hours per day on their phones and tablets using apps. This high degree of usage poses both a tremendous opportunity and a big challenge for firms, as companies today have to find ways to develop effective mobile app strategies to reach and interact with their different customers.

Yupeng Chen explores the first “step” of an effective mobile strategy, namely customers’ mobile app adoption, in his field experiment with a global beauty manufacturer and marketer of skincare and makeup products that operates multiple brands. The research project’s main idea is to identify which features of the mobile app would encourage a greater mobile app adoption.

With a sample of 87,907 customers that had participated in the company’s loyalty program for a year, four research conditions were developed. The first variable’s dimension was extrinsic motivators, represented by promotional loyalty program points sent to customers. The second variable’s dimension was intrinsic motivators, which consisted of either notifying or not notifying customers of their current loyalty program points.

After sending an initial text message to the sample population encouraging the app download, customers were subject to one of the four conditions. The main findings suggest that economic incentives only have a moderate effect on mobile app adoption, while appropriate information provision can be (surprisingly) effective in motivating app adoption. The research also found a positive interaction effect of combined economic incentives and information provision driving mobile app adoption.


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