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Competitive Targeted Advertising with Price Discrimination

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  • Rosa Branca Esteves

    ()
    (Universidade do Minho - NIPE)

  • Joana Resende

    ()
    (Universidade do Porto - FEP)

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of price discrimination by means of targeted advertising in a duopolistic market where the distribution of consumers' preferences is discrete and where advertising plays two major roles. It is used by firms as a way to transmit relevant information to otherwise uninformed consumers, and it is used as a price discrimination device. We compare the firms' optimal marketing mix (advertising and pricing) when they adopt mass advertising/non-discrimination strategies and targeted advertising/price discrimination strategies. If firms are able to adopt targeted advertising strategies, we find that the symmetric price equilibrium is in mixed strategies, while the advertising is chosen deterministically. Our results also unveil that as long as we allow for imperfect substitutability between the goods, ?rms do not necessarily target more ads to their own market. In particular, firms' optimal marketing mix leads to higher advertising reach in the rival's market than in the firms' own market, provided that advertising costs are sufficiently low in relation to the consumer's reservation value. The comparison of the optimal marketing-mix under mass advertising strategies and targeted advertising strategies reveals that targeted advertising might constitute a tool to dampen price competition. In particular, if advertising costs are sufficiently low in relation to the value of the goods, we obtain that average prices with non-discrimination (mass advertising) are below those with price discrimination and targeted advertising (regardless of the market segment). Accordingly, when (i) goods are imperfect substitutes, (ii) advertising is not too expensive, and (iii) targeted advertising constitutes an effective price discrimination tool, price discrimination through targeted advertising may be detrimental to social welfare since it boosts industry profits at the expense of consumer surplus.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by NIPE - Universidade do Minho in its series NIPE Working Papers with number 08/2011.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nip:nipewp:08/2011

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  1. Thomas Gehrig & Oz Shy & Rune Stenbacka, 2012. "A Welfare Evaluation of History-Based Price Discrimination," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 373-393, December.
  2. Ben Elhadj-Ben Brahim, Nada & Lahmandi-Ayed, Rim & Laussel, Didier, 2011. "Is targeted advertising always beneficial?," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 678-689.
  3. Bester, Helmut & Petrakis, Emmanuel, 1996. "Coupons and oligopolistic price discrimination," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 227-242.
  4. J. Miguel Villas-Boas, 1999. "Dynamic Competition with Customer Recognition," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(4), pages 604-631, Winter.
  5. Yongmin Chen, 1997. "Paying Customers to Switch," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(4), pages 877-897, December.
  6. Esteves, Rosa-Branca, 2010. "Pricing with customer recognition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 669-681, November.
  7. Stahl II Dale O., 1994. "Oligopolistic Pricing and Advertising," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 162-177, October.
  8. Gehrig, Thomas & Shy, Oz & Stenbacka, Rune, 2011. "History-based price discrimination and entry in markets with switching costs: A welfare analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(5), pages 732-739, June.
  9. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, December.
  10. Galeotti, Andrea & Moraga-González, José Luis, 2008. "Segmentation, advertising and prices," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 1106-1119, September.
  11. Rosa Branca Esteves, 2007. "Customer Poaching and Advertising," NIPE Working Papers 12/2007, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  12. Kenneth S. Corts, 1998. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination in Oligopoly: All-Out Competition and Strategic Commitment," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 306-323, Summer.
  13. Shilony, Yuval, 1977. "Mixed pricing in oligopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 373-388, April.
  14. Yongmin Chen & Jason Pearcy, 2010. "Dynamic pricing: when to entice brand switching and when to reward consumer loyalty," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(4), pages 674-685.
  15. Ambarish Chandra, 2009. "TARGETED ADVERTISING: THE ROLE OF SUBSCRIBER CHARACTERISTICS IN MEDIA MARKETS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 58-84, 03.
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