A "Position Paradox" in Sponsored Search Auctions
We study the bidding strategies of vertically differentiated firms that bid for sponsored search advertisement positions for a keyword at a search engine. We explicitly model how consumers navigate and click on sponsored links based on their knowledge and beliefs about firm qualities. Our model yields several interesting insights; a main counterintuitive result we focus on is the "position paradox." The paradox is that a superior firm may bid lower than an inferior firm and obtain a position below it, yet it still obtains more clicks than the inferior firm. Under a pay-per-impression mechanism, the inferior firm wants to be at the top where more consumers click on its link, whereas the superior firm is better off by placing its link at a lower position because it pays a smaller advertising fee, but some consumers will still reach it in search of the higher-quality firm. Under a pay-per-click mechanism, the inferior firm has an even stronger incentive to be at the top because now it only has to pay for the consumers who do not know the firms' reputations and, therefore, can bid more aggressively. Interestingly, as the quality premium for the superior firm increases, and/or if more consumers know the identity of the superior firm, the incentive for the inferior firm to be at the top may increase. Contrary to conventional belief, we find that the search engine may have the incentive to overweight the inferior firm's bid and strategically create the position paradox to increase overall clicks by consumers. To validate our model, we analyze a data set from a popular Korean search engine firm and find that (i) a large proportion of auction outcomes in the data show the position paradox, and (ii) sharp predictions from our model are validated in the data.
Volume (Year): 30 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 7240 Parkway Drive, Suite 300, Hanover, MD 21076 USA|
Web page: http://www.informs.org/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Benjamin Edelman & Michael Ostrovsky & Michael Schwarz, 2005.
"Internet Advertising and the Generalized Second Price Auction: Selling Billions of Dollars Worth of Keywords,"
NBER Working Papers
11765, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Benjamin Edelman & Michael Ostrovsky & Michael Schwarz, 2007. "Internet Advertising and the Generalized Second-Price Auction: Selling Billions of Dollars Worth of Keywords," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 242-259, March.
- Avi Goldfarb & Catherine Tucker, 2011. "Search Engine Advertising: Channel Substitution When Pricing Ads to Context," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(3), pages 458-470, March.
- Yongmin Chen & Chuan He, 2011.
"Paid Placement: Advertising and Search on the Internet,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(556), pages F309-F328, November.
- Yongmin Chen & Chuan He, 2006. "Paid Placement: Advertising and Search on the Internet," Working Papers 06-02, NET Institute, revised Sep 2006.
- Susan Athey & Glenn Ellison, 2011.
"Position Auctions with Consumer Search,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1213-1270.
- Zsolt Katona & Miklos Sarvary, 2010. "The Race for Sponsored Links: Bidding Patterns for Search Advertising," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(2), pages 199-215, 03-04.
- Yi Zhu & Kenneth C. Wilbur, 2011. "Hybrid Advertising Auctions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(2), pages 249-273, 03-04.
- Herbert A. Simon, 1955. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 99-118.
- Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2006.
"Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 505-540.
- Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2005. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," NBER Working Papers 11755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Laibson, David I. & Gabaix, Xavier, 2006. "Shrouded Attributes, Consumer Myopia, and Information Suppression in Competitive Markets," Scholarly Articles 4554333, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Song Yao & Carl F. Mela, 2011. "A Dynamic Model of Sponsored Search Advertising," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(3), pages 447-468, 05-06.
- Oliver J. Rutz & Michael Trusov & Randolph E. Bucklin, 2011. "Modeling Indirect Effects of Paid Search Advertising: Which Keywords Lead to More Future Visits?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(4), pages 646-665, July.
- Anindya Ghose & Sha Yang, 2009. "An Empirical Analysis of Search Engine Advertising: Sponsored Search in Electronic Markets," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 55(10), pages 1605-1622, October.
- Sha Yang & Anindya Ghose, 2010. "Analyzing the Relationship Between Organic and Sponsored Search Advertising: Positive, Negative, or Zero Interdependence?," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 29(4), pages 602-623, 07-08.
- Anindya Ghose & Sha Yang, 2007. "An Empirical Analysis of Search Engine Advertising: Sponsored Search and Cross-Selling in Electronic Markets," Working Papers 07-35, NET Institute, revised Sep 2007.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:30:y:2011:i:4:p:612-627. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mirko Janc)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.