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Marketing Agencies and Collusive Bidding in Online Ad Auctions

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  • Francesco Decarolis
  • Maris Goldmanis
  • Antonio Penta

Abstract

The transition of the advertising market from traditional media to the internet has induced a proliferation of marketing agencies specialized in bidding in the auctions that are used to sell ad space on the web. We analyze how collusive bidding can emerge from bid delegation to a common marketing agency and how this can undermine the revenues and allocative effciency of both the Generalized Second Price auction (GSP, used by Google and Microsoft-Bing and Yahoo!) and the of VCG mechanism (used by Facebook). We nd that, despite its well-known susceptibility to collusion, the VCG mechanism outperforms the GSP auction both in terms of revenues and effciency.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Decarolis & Maris Goldmanis & Antonio Penta, 2019. "Marketing Agencies and Collusive Bidding in Online Ad Auctions," Working Papers 1088, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:1088
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    Cited by:

    1. Decarolis, Francesco & Rovigatti, Gabriele, 2019. "From Mad Men to Maths Men: Concentration and Buyer Power in Online Advertising," CEPR Discussion Papers 13897, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Thomas W. L. Norman, 2021. "Evolutionary stability in the generalized second-price auction," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 71(1), pages 235-250, February.
    3. Sylvain Chassang & Juan Ortner, 2017. "Collusion in Auctions with Constrained Bids: Theory and Evidence from Public Procurement," Working Papers 072_2015, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
    4. Francesco Decarolis & Gabriele Rovigatti, 2017. "Online Auctions and Digital Marketing Agencies," Working Papers 17-08, NET Institute.
    5. Francesco Decarolis & Gabriele Rovigatti, 2021. "From Mad Men to Maths Men: Concentration and Buyer Power in Online Advertising," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(10), pages 3299-3327, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Collusion; digital marketing agencies; facebook; Google; GSP; internet auctions; online advertising; VCG;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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