Essays on Internet Marketing

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2012

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Business Administration

Additional Affiliations

Olin Business School

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



In my dissertation, I empirically investigate three prevalent forms of internet marketing in the web 2.0 era: search advertising, advertising networks and user generated content marketing.

The first chapter focuses on the dominant format of Internet advertising, search advertising. Specifically , we measure the value of customers acquired from Google search advertising accounting for two factors that have been overlooked in the conventional method widely adopted in the industry: the spillover effect of search advertising on customer acquisition and sales in offline channels and the lifetime value of acquired customers. Results show that customers acquired through Google search advertising in our data have a higher transaction rate than customers acquired from other channels. After accounting for future purchases and spillover to offline channels, the calculated value of new customers is much higher than that when we use the conventional method. The approach used in our study provides a practical framework for firms to evaluate the long term profit impact of their search advertising investment in a multichannel setting.

Advertising networks in recent years have played an increasingly important role in the online advertising market. In the second chapter, I explore the determinants of matching between advertisers and publishers in an online advertising network and perform counter-factual analysis to compare the optimality of different platform mechanisms. Using data from a leading Chinese advertising network operated by Taobao, I find that product category and demographics are the most important determinants in the advertising-publisher matching. A counter-factual experiment suggests that the market-based allocation adopted by Taobao is nearly as efficient as the allocation by a hypothetical central planner. Another experiment compares the listed price scheme used in Taobao with the generalized second price auction used by Google and provides rationale for their different pricing scheme designs.

The third chapter studies how consumers process user generated content(UGC) information on the Internet. We empirically study the mechanisms of consumer learning about the overall quality and cost of visiting restaurants from reviews posted at Dianping.com and construct measurements for the informational value of each website feature for both consumers and restaurants. We show that consumers' learning mechanisms for quality and cost are different. Furthermore, consumers are more sensitive to information than to cost, and content provides the highest informational values for both consumers and restaurants.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Tat Y Chan

Committee Members

Siddhartha Chib, Chakravarthi Narasimhan, Juan Pantano, Seethu Seetharaman, Ying Xie, Fuqiang Zhang


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K79K485Z

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