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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Increasing App Engagement with Peak-End Effects

Published: May 25, 2021


Daniel Goetz, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto; Wei Lu, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto


The peak-end effect in consumer psychology predicts that individuals will re-engage with an activity sooner if the activity ends with a relatively positive experience. Using millions of unique usage sessions from two online apps, we document that an exogenously allocated positive experience makes consumers more likely to end a usage session with the app, even as it shortens the duration until they begin their next usage session. Our results have implications for product design, as leveraging the peak-end effect induces tradeoffs in app engagement.


With thanks to Zeyang Zhang for outstanding research assistance.