Personalized Ranking at a Mobile App Distribution Platform

The ease of customer data collection has enabled the widespread personalization of content and services in digital platforms. We examine personalization in a hitherto unaddressed context, that of mobile app distribution. Specifically, we develop a comprehensive framework for the personalized ranking of app impressions, leveraging revealed preferences embedded in consumer clickstream data. To improve platform revenues, the framework jointly accounts for consumer utility and cost per action (CPA) margin, which is the revenue earned by the platform per app installation. To this end, we specify a structural model of click and installation choices, jointly estimated as a function of a comprehensive set of numerical (screen rank, quality, and popularity) and textual (titles, descriptions, and reviews) covariates. Our novel data set is at the granular user-impression level and uniquely includes app CPA margins paid to the platform. We conduct a series of policy experiments to quantify the value of personalization. Specifically, we show that a personalized hybrid margin and utility-margin ranking scheme outperforms other personalized methods, including those based on utilities alone or a combination of utilities and margins. Overall, our analysis demonstrates how platforms could leverage routine consumer clickstream data to personalize the ranking of app impressions, thereby more effectively monetizing mobile app distribution.


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Work Title Personalized Ranking at a Mobile App Distribution Platform
Open Access
  1. Shengjun Mao
  2. Sanjeev Dewan
  3. Yi Jen Ho
  1. Mobile
  2. Ranking
  3. App
  4. Platform revenue
  5. Hierarchical Bayes
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Information Systems Research
Publication Date August 12, 2022
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited March 20, 2023




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added isre.2022.1156.pdf
  • Added Creator Shengjun Mao
  • Added Creator Sanjeev Dewan
  • Added Creator Yi Jen Ho
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword Show Changes
    • Mobile, Ranking, App, Platform revenue, Hierarchical Bayes