Do App Descriptions Matter? Evidence from a Mobile Apps Market

Gun-Woong Lee, Arizona State University
Raghu Santanam, Arizona State University
Sungho Park, Arizona State University

Consumers use an array of extrinsic and intrinsic cues to assess the quality/value of Apps in mobile App markets. The extrinsic and intrinsic cues include product descriptions (producer cues) and product page view formatted by the market (market cues). While the cues in product descriptions are voluntarily selected by developers and deliver subjective information on Apps (i.e., low fidelity), those presented through market formats are mandatory and provide objective cues (i.e., high fidelity). We evaluate whether extrinsic and intrinsic cues in App descriptions have significant impacts on the success of App sales and whether they can complement or substitute market cues. Text-mining techniques are utilized to identify commonly used App product description patterns conveying extrinsic and intrinsic cues from 7,376 Apps in the 300 paid Games charts over 20 weeks in the Apple App Store. We empirically classify keyword groups presenting extrinsic (‘price promotion’, ‘sales performance’, and ‘user review’) and intrinsic (‘feature update’ and ‘content’) cues. The classification information is utilized in the empirical analysis to assess the impact of cues on App sales. Our results suggest that extrinsic cues ensure better prediction on App sales than intrinsic ones do regardless of information sources, and that market cues are more reliable quality indicators of Apps than producer cues. In addition, we empirically substantiate the complementarities between extrinsic cues in product description and market formats. Overall, the research findings highlight the strategic impacts of product description formulation and have salient implications for theorizing about product description management in the emerging mobile App store markets.


Lee, G., Raghu, T. S., “Determinants of Mobile Apps Success: Evidence from App Store Market.” Journal of Management Information Systems, Forthcoming