Multiplex Social Influence in a Freemium Context: Evidence from Online Social Games

decision support systems, forthcoming

34 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2015 Last revised: 13 Dec 2021

See all articles by Chenhui Guo

Chenhui Guo

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems

Xi Chen

Zhejiang University - School of Management

Paulo Goes

University of Arizona - Department of Management Information Systems

Cheng Zhang

Fudan University, School of Management

Date Written: December 8, 2021

Abstract

An increasingly popular trend in digital businesses is the adoption of the freemium model, in which premium features are provided along with free features. Because this model separates use (spending time) from purchase decisions (spending money) and people treat spending time and spending money differently, it derives two distinct types of social influence: social influence from peer spending time and peer spending money. This multiplex social influence, however, has not received sufficient attention. We investigated a popular online social game and studied how multiplex social influence jointly affects players’ spending time and spending money in a digital freemium environment. We uncovered spending time has a more substantial effect on players’ spending money than does spending money. The dependence between two different types of social influence provides evidence of multiplex social influence and its asymmetricity. We further tested and discovered that personal characteristics and network measures moderates multiplex social influence. Because the freemium model proliferates in many online environments, the current study enlightens the value of free users’ social influence in the operations of businesses with freemium models.

Keywords: online social game, freemium model, premium features, social networks, social influence

JEL Classification: C31, C36, D12, M15

Suggested Citation

Guo, Chenhui and Chen, Xi and Goes, Paulo and Zhang, Cheng, Multiplex Social Influence in a Freemium Context: Evidence from Online Social Games (December 8, 2021). decision support systems, forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2686965 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2686965

Chenhui Guo (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Department of Accounting & Information Systems ( email )

632 Bogue Street, Room N260
East Lansing, MI Michigan 48824
United States

Xi Chen

Zhejiang University - School of Management ( email )

Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province 310058
China

Paulo Goes

University of Arizona - Department of Management Information Systems ( email )

AZ
United States

Cheng Zhang

Fudan University, School of Management ( email )

#670 Rd Guoshun, Room718
Shanghai, 200433
China

HOME PAGE: http://homepage.fudan.edu.cn/~zccheng

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