Designing for Visibility: The Case of Mobile Apps

40 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2020 Last revised: 20 Jul 2020

See all articles by Aditya Karanam

Aditya Karanam

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management

Ashish Agarwal

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business

Anitesh Barua

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management

Date Written: June 18, 2020

Abstract

With a large number of mobile apps in both iOS and Android platforms, app developers face a significant challenge in generating market demand. Apps can incorporate social features to share information on social media platforms and gain visibility. Classifying features of an app as intrinsic or social, we focus on the impact of these features in the head, body, and tail of the demand distribution. We posit that owing to the lack of visibility, apps in the tail may benefit more from social features than those in the head or body sections. Using a panel of version release notes from the iOS platform, we develop a new hierarchical deep learning model to extract intrinsic and social features. Our results suggest that social features increase the relative demand only for tail apps. For apps in the head of the distribution, social and intrinsic features together help increase the relative demand. However, the combined effect of social and intrinsic is negative in the tail for low-quality apps. The results underscore the heterogeneity in the effect of social features on app demand, an important consideration in the design phase. We demonstrate that there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works in all parts of the demand distribution. Our study provides managerial guidance to app developers in making their products visible through design choices and presents a novel deep learning approach for product feature identification.

Keywords: Mobile apps; long tail; social features; natural language processing; deep learning

Suggested Citation

Karanam, Aditya and Agarwal, Ashish and Barua, Anitesh, Designing for Visibility: The Case of Mobile Apps (June 18, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3635854 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3635854

Aditya Karanam (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management ( email )

CBA 5.202
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Ashish Agarwal

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

Anitesh Barua

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management ( email )

CBA 5.202
Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-471-3322 (Phone)

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