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How is the Mobile Internet Different?

37 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2010 Last revised: 23 Dec 2016

Anindya Ghose

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Avi Goldfarb

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Sang Pil Han

Arizona State University, W.P.Carey School of Business

Date Written: June 4, 2012

Abstract

We explore how internet browsing behavior varies between mobile phones and personal computers. Smaller screen sizes on mobile phones increase the cost to the user of browsing for information. In addition, a wider range of offline locations for mobile internet usage suggests that local activities are particularly important. Using data on user behavior at a (Twitter-like) microblogging service, we exploit exogenous variation in the ranking mechanism of posts to identify the ranking effects. We show (1) Ranking effects are higher on mobile phones suggesting higher cognitive load: Links that appear at the top of the screen are especially likely to be clicked on mobile phones and (2) The benefit of browsing for geographically close matches is higher on mobile phones: Stores located in close proximity to a user’s home are much more likely to be clicked on mobile phones. Thus, the mobile internet is somewhat less “internet-like”: search costs are higher and distance matters more. We speculate on how these changes may affect the future direction of internet commerce.

Keywords: Mobile Internet, Ranking Effects, Cognitive Load, Recency Effects, Local Interests, Microblogging, Social Media, Hierarchical Bayesian Methods

JEL Classification: C11, C15, D12, D83, L10, M31

Suggested Citation

Ghose, Anindya and Goldfarb, Avi and Han, Sang Pil, How is the Mobile Internet Different? (June 4, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1732759 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1732759

Anindya Ghose (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Avi Goldfarb

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada
416-946-8604 (Phone)
416-978-5433 (Fax)

Sang Pil Han

Arizona State University, W.P.Carey School of Business ( email )

Tempe, AZ 85287-3706
United States
480-965-8603 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://apps.wpcarey.asu.edu/directory/people/profile.cfm?person=2255149

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