Deriving User Preferences of Mobile Apps from Their Management Activities
ACM Transactions on Information Systems，2017，35（4）：39 | 2017年07月01日 | doi.org/10.1145/3015462
App marketplaces host millions of mobile apps that are downloaded billions of times. Investigating how people manage mobile apps in their everyday lives creates a unique opportunity to understand the behavior and preferences of mobile device users, infer the quality of apps, and improve user experience. Existing literature provides very limited knowledge about app management activities, due to the lack of app usage data at scale. This article takes the initiative to analyze a very large app management log collected through a leading Android app marketplace. The dataset covers 5 months of detailed downloading, updating, and uninstallation activities, which involve 17 million anonymized users and 1 million apps. We present a surprising finding that the metrics commonly used to rank apps in app stores do not truly reflect the users’ real attitudes. We then identify behavioral patterns from the app management activities that more accurately indicate user preferences of an app even when no explicit rating is available. A systematic statistical analysis is designed to evaluate machine learning models that are trained to predict user preferences using these behavioral patterns, which features an inverse probability weighting method to correct the selection biases in the training process.