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Journal of Strategic Marketing

For a Special Issue on

Mobile Apps’ Research: Bridging Insights from Consumer and Strategic Marketing

Manuscript deadline
31 March 2024

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Special Issue Editor(s)

Nina Michaelidou, Loughborough Business School, Loughborough University
[email protected]

Ioannis Kostopoulos, Liverpool Business School, Liverpool John Moores University
[email protected]

Lara Stocchi, Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, University of South Australia
[email protected]

Naser Pourazad, College of Business, Government & Law, Flinders University
[email protected]

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Mobile Apps’ Research: Bridging Insights from Consumer and Strategic Marketing

Mobile applications (apps) have become an increasingly popular technological tool in the last ten years and an integral part of people’s daily routines (Linnhoff & Smith, 2017). The total number of mobile apps’ downloads worldwide has risen by 82% in the last 6 years, from 140 billion in 2016 to 255 billion per year in 2022 and is expected to further increase exponentially in the following 5 years (Statista, 2022). Mobile games have consistently been the most popular apps during the last decade, followed by business and education apps. Mobile apps’ immense popularity has been attributed to the convenience, accessibility, efficiency, personalisation and fun they offer to their users (e.g., Stocchi et al., 2019). For these and other reasons, mobile apps have drastically changed many industries, including media, retail, healthcare, education, and entertainment (Tang, 2019). They have revolutionised various industries by making services more accessible and effective, from personal training and mental health apps that enable remote consultations to educational apps that allow access to online courses. Mobile apps’ importance to contemporary society became even more apparent during the Covid-19 pandemic by providing solutions to many problems and supporting people in various ways (Bhavya & Sambhav, 2020).

Given their enormous popularity, it should come as no surprise that mobile apps reflect a particularly popular topic of academic research in the fields of marketing, information management, organisational behaviour and innovation management. From a consumer/user perspective there is a vast body of research on mobile apps on the adoption and consumption process (Tang, 2019), including studies on consumers’ motives for engaging with apps (e.g. Stocchi et al., 2018), their post adoption engagement with them (e.g., Kim & Baek, 2018), adoption and post-adoption engagement with loyalty program apps (Seridaran & Noor, 2021) and potential consumer outcomes such as satisfaction, loyalty, stickiness, word of mouth (WOM) and in-app purchase intentions (Hsiao & Chen, 2016; Kostopoulos et al., 2023). From an app developer’s perspective, pertinent research has focused on how successful app development and promotion is linked to customer orientation, customer value and competitive advantage (Stocchi et al., 2022). Researchers have also engaged immensely with the parameters of successful app experience design (‘appscapes’) (Kumar et al., 2018), as well as apps’ branding and promotion strategies (Zhao & Balagué, 2015). Studies have also explored different types of mobile apps as a whole, while others focus on specific types of apps or industries, such as mobile games (Kostopoulos et al., 2023), m-shopping (Chopdar et al., 2018), hospitality services (Ozturk et al., 2016), taxi and transportation services (Arbatani, 2021), mobile banking (Lee & Chen, 2022) and many others. Overall, a great number of seminal theories have been applied in the study of mobile apps including Theory of Planned Behaviour, Technology Acceptance Model, Stimulus-Organism-Response, Ambivalence Theory, Motivational theory, Identity Theory and many others (Tang, 2019).

Despite extant studies on mobile apps, many topics still require further theoretical and empirical inquiry. For instance, in a recently published integrative review and bibliometric analysis, Stocchi et al (2022) highlight the need for further primary studies - as well as meta-analytic ones- on mobile apps’ development, adoption, use, and post-adoption. In particular there is a need for integrating theoretical evidence from marketing, information technology, information management and organizational behaviour. Additionally, Stocchi et al. (2022) highlight key research gaps in relation to iterative app journeys; the role of different marketing strategies at different stages of the customer journey; the importance of different types of apps, and business models (e.g. freemium apps); as well as the use of technological advancements (e.g., AI, VR) in leveraging apps to create value (Stocchi et al., 2022). In view of these research priorities, Stocchi et al.’s (2022) work provides the impetus for the current call for papers on mobile apps.

On these grounds, the main purpose of this special issue is to gather evidence from empirical, meta-analytical and theoretical research on mobile apps from both an organisational and a consumer (user) perspective. We encourage the submission of research from a range of different methodological approaches, seeking to develop a collection of papers that will act as a stepping-stone for a wider understanding on how mobile apps are developed and promoted strategically, as well as on how they are adopted, consumed and used. We welcome conceptual, review, qualitative, or quantitative contributions that offer novel insights in themes that include, but are not limited to:

From the consumer point of view:

-Determinants, outcomes and boundary conditions of consumer engagement with apps at different stages of the customer journey.

-Determinants of consumers’ mobile app abandonment, resistance or avoidance.

-Psychological variables (e.g. motives, personality, privacy perceptions) in apps’ adoption and consumption.

-Cross-cultural and cross-national differences in app usage (pre-adoption and post-adoption) and their impact on marketing outcomes.

-Drivers of app experience (or ‘appscape’), satisfaction and app loyalty.

-The role of emotions (e.g. role enjoyment, frustration, trust), social influence and peer recommendations in app adoption and usage.

-Usage/experience of apps on different platforms (e.g. mobile, tablet, laptop) and for different types of users (e.g. B2B, B2C, G2C).

-Mobile app accessibility and inclusivity.

From the App/brand perspective:

-Apps’ customer engagement strategies across different types of apps, different types of users and different types of platforms.

-New app developments, the role technological innovation (e.g. AI/VR) in apps and how it impacts marketing outcomes.

-Market research, customer understanding, app analytics and data-driven decision making - the role of app analytics in understanding user behaviour, preferences, and needs.

-App partnerships and collaborations - the role of partnerships and collaborations in app development, promotion, and usage.

-App revival strategies, monetization and competitive advantage for different types of apps.

-App security and privacy considerations - the importance of app security and privacy in building user trust and confidence.

-STP, branding, value creation and impact on performance of different apps for different organizations (e.g. B2B, B2C, types such as SMEs)