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The Relationship Between Kim Kardashian’s Successful App and Her Social Media Empire

Kim Kardashian can be called many things-superfluous, conceited, wealthy, glamorous, fake-but one title she cannot be called is ignorant. She is hyperaware of the power she has over her millions of twitter, facebook, and instagram followers-and she uses it to her economic advantage. Her empire depends (at it’s core) on selling an image of extravagance and luxury; to allow the common person via web-based media sites a peek into the world of a star. Excluding the television stints, publicized scandals, and ridiculous weddings, Kim’s incredible popularity stems from her picture-taking genius, and the merchandise that comes out of it. Recently, Kim’s release of a phone app game has made her a nice 1.6 million dollars in personal profit the first 5 days following its release. The game is now the fifth highest-grossing game on Apple’s app store, pulling in $700,000 a day and is reportedly on track to earn $200 million over the course of a year. The game-which can only be described as having Kardashian coaching players on how to become a celebrity-is immensely popular.

The incredibly peculiar success of Kim Kardashian’s app relates to a concept presented our Networks course, which deals with the two categories of rational reason one should follow the crowd. It was learned in class that there are two categories/reasons a person rationally should follow a crowd: It can be information-based or be due to the direct benefit effect. When a person chooses to follow a crowd via the information-based category, it means that person thinks that people in the crowd may know something they do not. When a person chooses to follow whatever the crowd is doing because of the direct-benefit effect, that means that for some kinds of decisions, the person incurs that there is an explicit benefit when they align themselves with the behavior of the majority. The direct-benefit effect assumes that a person believes something (a technology, a website, a product) to be valuable because other people are using it.

Thus the success of Kim Kardashian’s marketing strategy for her app mainly derives from the direct-benefit effect her social media presence causes, and partially comes from a consumer’s belief that people in a crowd have more information about this app then they do. On the day the app was released, Kim Kardashian encouraged her millions of followers on twitter and instagram accounts to buy the app by posting a picture of herself playing it. Kim asked her twitter fans who purchased it to mention the game on their own twitter accounts with the hashtag #kimkardashiangame. She also, under a photo caption on instagram, told her followers to post pictures of themselves having fun while playing her video game. Due to her having 25.2 million followers on twitter, it is statistically probable that at least a few of them actually followed their own opinion and wanted to buy the game. When these people posted that they did so (using the given hashtag), their friends/other Kim Kardashian fans were notified. This caused, according to the direct-benefit effect, her fans to value the app because they viewed  others using it. Kim has over 21 million Instagram followers. When her fans purchased the app and posted themselves playing the game (per Kim’s request) other consumers were led to ignore their own belief that the game is silly, and buy the app. This is because their decision was based off of their belief that the crowd (who had already purchased the app) knew more about the game then they did.



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