Television and Digital Advertising: Second Screen Response and Coordination with Sponsored Search

31 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2017

See all articles by Shawndra Hill

Shawndra Hill

Microsoft Research

Gordon Burtch

Boston University - Questrom School of Business

Michael Barto

Microsoft Corporation

Date Written: October 31, 2016


We consider the potential to improve the efficiency and efficacy of broader advertising efforts through cross-channel coordination. Past work has demonstrated a positive relationship between television advertising and online search activity. Here, we consider the types of devices on which search response predominantly manifests following TV advertisements, and the degree to which shifts in search activity can be used to evaluate the success of TV advertisers' targeting efforts. We leverage data on TV advertising around Microsoft Windows 10 and an Xbox app (NFL Game Day Evolution), in combination with large-scale proprietary search data from Microsoft Bing. Our identification strategies hinge on a combination of geographic heterogeneity in TV advertising exposure and continuous variation in the cost of TV advertisements (a proxy for TV audience size). We first demonstrate that search response peaks within three minutes of the airing of a TV advertisement, and that this manifests primarily via second-screen mobile devices. Our estimated elasticities indicate that a 20% increase in advertising spend equates to an approximate 2.5% (3.4%) increase in search volumes for Windows 10 (the Xbox app). Second, we show that, indeed, the demographic groups targeted by TV advertisements are those most likely to respond, and we thereby demonstrate that TV ad effectiveness can be usefully measured via online search data. Third, examining sponsored search clicks in our query-level data, for queries involving brand-related keywords, we demonstrate a significant increase in rank-ordering effects in searches that take place in the minutes immediately following a TV advertisement, which implies a complementarity between TV and sponsored search advertisements.

Keywords: mobile; paid search advertising; search engines; search volumes; click-through rates; conversion rates; television advertising; di erences in di erences

Suggested Citation

Hill, Shawndra and Burtch, Gordon and Barto, Michael, Television and Digital Advertising: Second Screen Response and Coordination with Sponsored Search (October 31, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Shawndra Hill (Contact Author)

Microsoft Research ( email )

New York, NY 10011
United States

Gordon Burtch

Boston University - Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Michael Barto

Microsoft Corporation ( email )

One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
United States

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