Social Proof in Mobile Gaming

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
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School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Information and Service Management (ISM)
64 + 2
This thesis studies the impact of social proof in the context of mobile gaming. Research on mobile gaming has yet to focus on other users’ impact on the behavior of a player. Social proof based on social norms has been found to guide people’s behavior in multiple contexts including online retail and freemium services outside gaming. This thesis research provides knowledge on how social proof can be utilized to improve user acquisition, retention and monetization of freemium mobile games. In two empirical studies the behavior of over 110 000 actual players of a casual freemium mobile game is examined during user acquisition and early gameplay. The subjects of the studies were randomly divided into equal-sized groups in order to learn how disclosing descriptive norms affects the players’ actions compared to a control group. Quantitative analyses were conducted to discover the statistical significance of the results. The results propose that three key metrics of mobile gaming can be improved with social proof. Firstly, the findings of this thesis display that knowledge about the amount of daily players and five-star reviews in the user acquisition phase increased the intention of installation. Secondly, these players were also more probable to continue playing a week after the initial session. Thirdly, the findings reveal that information on the progress of other players during the early gameplay enhanced the payer conversion within the first week of playing.
Thesis advisor
Tuunainen, Virpi
mobile games, freemium, social proof, social norms, descriptive norms