'OK Google': ETF's Online Visibility and Fund Flows

50 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2022 Last revised: 19 Apr 2023

See all articles by Olga Obizhaeva

Olga Obizhaeva

Stockholm School of Economics; Swedish House of Finance

Date Written: August 16, 2022


Using the unique dataset on web analytics and exploiting the network structure of the Internet and institutional features of search engine technology, I propose the novel methodology to estimate a product’s online visibility. I then apply the methodology to study the online visibility of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and analyze the relationship between an ETF’s online visibility and its fund flows. I examine three channels of online visibility: Organic or “free” search, paid search, and website referrals. The results show that ETFs with webpages ranked higher on Google, funds that engage in search engine marketing, and those with webpages referred to by more websites attract higher fund flows. These findings suggest that ETF issuers can reduce investors’ search costs and gain an advantage in attracting fund flows by using online marketing tools.

Keywords: ETFs, Fund flows, Online visibility, Google, Search engine marketing, Search engine optimization

JEL Classification: G23

Suggested Citation

Obizhaeva, Olga, 'OK Google': ETF's Online Visibility and Fund Flows (August 16, 2022). Swedish House of Finance Research Paper No. 23-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4190795 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4190795

Olga Obizhaeva (Contact Author)

Stockholm School of Economics ( email )

PO Box 6501
Stockholm, 11383

Swedish House of Finance ( email )

Drottninggatan 98
111 60 Stockholm

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