Do Organic Results Help or Hurt Sponsored Search Performance?
University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business
University of Pennsylvania - Operations & Information Management Department
Michael D. Smith
Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management
January 21, 2012
Ashish Agarwal, Kartik Hosanagar, Michael D. Smith (2015) Do Organic Results Help or Hurt Sponsored Search Performance?, Information Systems Research 26(4):695-713, DOI 10.1287/isre.2015.0593
We study the impact of changes in the competitors’ listings in organic search results on the performance of sponsored search advertisements. Using data from an online retailer’s keyword advertising campaign, we measure the impact of organic competition on both click-through rate and conversion rate of sponsored search advertisements.
We find that increase in organic competition leads to a decrease in the click performance of sponsored advertisements. However, organic competition helps the conversion performance of sponsored ads and leads to higher revenue. We also find that organic competition has a higher negative effect on click performance than does sponsored competition.
Our results inform advertisers on how the presence of organic results influences the performance of their sponsored advertisements. Specifically we show that organic competition acts as a substitute for clicks but has a complementary effect on the conversion performance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 42
Keywords: Sponsored search, Organic search, ad placement, hierarchical Bayesian estimation, online advertising, online auctions, search engine marketing
Date posted: January 23, 2012 ; Last revised: January 25, 2016