The effect of subscriptions on customer engagement


Subscription programs are commonly used in online content communities. These programs give subscribers to receive unlimited access to a large content library for a fixed monthly payment. In this study, we examine how subscription to an online community membership affects users’ engagement behavior in terms of their content generation and content consumption. Based on sunk cost fallacy theory, we find that subscriptions lead to large increases in users’ engagement behavior, including content consumption and content generation, by increasing their perceived lock-in. In addition, we find evidence that the positive effect of subscriptions on users’ engagement behavior is more pronounced for less engaged users than in highly engaged users. The implications of these findings for customer engagement, content generation, and customer targeting are then discussed herein.

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