Crowdsourced Customer Acquisition: A Conceptual Framework for Freemium and Propositions for Future Research
Freemium has grown tremendously in use and importance the last years, but
research is still in its infancy. This thesis explore how companies that use
freemium acquire customers through their existing users and customers. This thesis
posit that the primary value of free users in freemium derive from making this
acquisition process both more efficient and more effective, allowing a company
to grow rapidly at a low cost.
The customer acquisition process was explored through qualitative interviews
with high-level employees and investors in companies ranging from the Fortune
100 to failed businesses, and the research process was firmly based in grounded
theory. Based on this process we proposed a conceptual framework termed
crowdsourced customer acquisition which describe the customer
acquisition process in freemium.
Crowdsourced customer acquisition entails giving some consumers access to a
valuable service for free into perpetuity. This causes these users to become
loyal and engaged, and through their engagement most importantly
word-of-mouth other consumers become interested. By making the choice to try
the service a "no-brainer" for these consumers the company acquire new users.
These new users, in turn, can both bring in new users and be converted to paying
customers. Learning and adapting based on these events the company can improve
future user acquisition and conversion by increasing their efficiency and
In addition to this acquisition process, and because freemium is at a very early
stage in research, we also proposed several avenues of further research based in
the proposed acquisition process.
The primary managerial implication of this research is that is enable
practitioners to reason about their freemium model to a much larger degree, e.g.
in terms of formulating, understanding, analyzing, and sharing the companys
customer acquisition model. The proposed framework can thereby be elemental in
the process of designing a viable business around freemium.
The primary theoretical implication of this research is that it commence a
deeper look into freemium itself, an area which is currently not well understood
from a theoretical standpoint. It brings together several avenues of research to
give a coherent view of one facet of freemium; thereby indicating that several
of the research findings for traditional products and services also yield for
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutt for industriell økonomi og teknologiledelse , 2011. , 87 p.
ntnudaim:5922, MIENTRE NTNUs Entreprenørskole,
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:no:ntnu:diva-15062Local ID: ntnudaim:5922OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ntnu-15062DiVA: diva2:473578
Klingsheim, Karl, Professor IISørheim, Roger