Sparking Curiosity or Tipping the Scales? Targeted Advertising with Consumer Learning
44 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2021 Last revised: 21 Jul 2023
Date Written: July 21, 2023
This paper argues, in the context of targeted advertising, that receivers' rational inattention and ability to independently acquire information have a non-trivial impact on the sender's optimal disclosure strategy. In our model, a monopolist has an opportunity to launch an advertising campaign and chooses a targeting strategy -- which consumers to send its advertisement to. The consumers are uncertain about and heterogeneous in their valuations of the product, and are rationally inattentive in that they must incur a cost if they want to learn their true valuations. We discover that the firm generally prefers to target consumers who are either indifferent between ignoring and investigating the product, or between investigating and buying it unconditionally. If the firm is uncertain about the consumer appeal of its product, it targets these two distinct groups of consumers simultaneously but may ignore all consumers in between.
Keywords: advertising, targeting, rational inattention, costly disclosure
JEL Classification: D83, L15, M37
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation