The development of digital products is often supported by social networks that emerge among users. These networks facilitate both the flow of product information and the development of product-specific human capital which, in turn, affect product adoption and retention.

In this project we exploit granular information of social networks from the video gaming market that allows us to track the sharing of product-specific information and the development of product-specific human capital. First, analyzing the social networks of individual gamers allows us to examine the importance of word-of-mouth, or viral marketing, for adoption decisions. Second, we analyze the retention of gamers by assessing the strength and persistence of their reactions to different exogenous shocks.

The analyses help in understanding the role of social learning in consumers’ adoption and retention decisions in a fast-paced consumer-oriented industry. The results will influence appropriate schemes for incorporating social networks into marketing strategies.

Selected Publications

Discussion and Working Papers

Claussen, Jörg, Benjamin Engelstätter and Michael R. Ward (2014), Susceptibility and Influence in Social Media Word-of-Mouth, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 14-129, Mannheim. Download

Selected Events


Land Baden-Württemberg , Stuttgart , DE

Project duration

01.04.2012 - 30.09.2013

Project members

Prof. Dr. Benjamin Engelstätter (Coordinator)


Digital Economy

Cooperation partner

Dr. Jörg Claussen, Kopenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, DK
Prof. Michael R. Ward, PhD, Mannheim, DE