IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/inm/ormksc/v30y2011i4p612-627.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

A "Position Paradox" in Sponsored Search Auctions

Author

Listed:
  • Kinshuk Jerath

    () (Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206)

  • Liye Ma

    () (Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206)

  • Young-Hoon Park

    () (Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853)

  • Kannan Srinivasan

    () (Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15206)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kinshuk Jerath & Liye Ma & Young-Hoon Park & Kannan Srinivasan, 2011. "A "Position Paradox" in Sponsored Search Auctions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(4), pages 612-627, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormksc:v:30:y:2011:i:4:p:612-627
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mksc.1110.0645
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Susan Athey & Glenn Ellison, 2011. "Position Auctions with Consumer Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1213-1270.
    2. 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.
    3. Yongmin Chen & Chuan He, 2011. "Paid Placement: Advertising and Search on the Internet," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(556), pages 309-328, November.
    4. Yi Zhu & Kenneth C. Wilbur, 2011. "Hybrid Advertising Auctions," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(2), pages 249-273, 03-04.
    5. Thomas A. Weber & Zhiqiang (Eric) Zheng, 2007. "A Model of Search Intermediaries and Paid Referrals," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 18(4), pages 414-436, December.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Herbert A. Simon, 1955. "A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(1), pages 99-118.
    10. 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.
    11. Song Yao & Carl F. Mela, 2011. "A Dynamic Model of Sponsored Search Advertising," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(3), pages 447-468, 05-06.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Navdeep Sahni, 2015. "Effect of temporal spacing between advertising exposures: Evidence from online field experiments," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 203-247, September.
    2. Mark Glick & Greg Richards & Margarita Sapozhnikov & Paul Seabright, 2014. "How Does Ranking Affect User Choice in Online Search?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 45(2), pages 99-119, September.
    3. Baye, Michael R. & De los Santos, Babur & Wildenbeest, Matthijs R., 2016. "What’s in a name? Measuring prominence and its impact on organic traffic from search engines," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 44-57.
    4. Todd R. Kaplan & Shmuel Zamir, 2014. "Advances in Auctions," Discussion Papers 1405, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    5. Kaplan, Todd R. & Zamir, Shmuel, 2015. "Advances in Auctions," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Elsevier.
    6. Selçuk, B. & Özlük, Ö., 2013. "Optimal keyword bidding in search-based advertising with target exposure levels," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 226(1), pages 163-172.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. 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). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/inforea.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.