Measuring the Impact of Crowdsourcing Features on Mobile App User Engagement and Retention: A Randomized Field Experiment
75 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2017 Last revised: 27 Oct 2020
Date Written: October 23, 2017
The most commonly cited issues with mobile apps are low user engagement and retention levels. In this paper, we explore the efficacy of crowdsourcing features on enhancing user engagement and retention in the context of mobile gaming apps. To do so, we examine two specific crowdsourcing features, namely, the ability to contribute content and the ability to access crowdsourced content. Under a 2×2 factorial design, we assess the impact of these crowdsourcing features on usage outcomes via a randomized field experiment. In our experiment, we also examine the underlying mechanisms that lead to the main observed effects. Interestingly, we find that even without contributing content, users exhibited heightened user engagement and retention when they are given the option to contribute gaming content to the app. But with actual content submission, usage improvement is promoted to a larger magnitude. In particular, results show that the content contribution feature reduces users’ hazard of ending a session and abandoning the app by 11% and 14%, respectively. Results also show that content access option only has positive effect on user retention but not user engagement. Moreover, the greatest improvement in user retention is achieved when users are treated with the full-crowdsourcing feature, which enables users to both contribute content and view crowdsourced content from the community. Finally, we find heterogeneous treatment effects in our study setting: full-crowdsourcing features tend to enhance the retention of heavy game players, while they heighten the engagement level of casual gamers. Study implications for app design and crowdsourcing are discussed.
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