Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 36 Number 2 2019 pp. 513-545

Mobile Time-Based Targeting: Matching Product-Value Appeal to Time of Day

Phang, Chee Wei, Luo, Xueming, and Fang, Zheng


Mobile technologies, with their seamless integration into people’s everyday life, are said to enable “perpetual contact” with the users always accompanied by their mobile devices. This creates unprecedented opportunity to better understand the relationship between time and information technologies (ITs), in particular, how time of day may influence users’ IT behavior. With this understanding, companies may also be able to promote IT products by highlighting their value that appeals to users in a particular time segment of a day. Building primarily on the ego depletion theory and through conducting a combination of field experiment and survey, we show that matching IT product value appeal to people’s psychological state during different times of day can lead to more optimal outcome (higher adoption). The findings advance our understanding of how IT behavior, as a behavior embedded in time, is affected by time of day, and provide actionable guidance to practitioners in performing mobile time-based targeting.

Key words and phrases: : mobile targeting, time-of-day targeting, IT product value, mobile Internet service, consumer psychology, randomized field experiment