Francesco Decarolis, Gabriele Rovigatti, 12 September 2019

The concentration in the supply of online advertisement space among a few tech giants has led to their careful scrutiny by competition authorities in both the EU and the US, and some large fines for abuse of dominant position. This column discusses new evidence suggesting that, even without these policy interventions, the market is changing in ways that are reducing the ability of the ad space sellers to gain from their dominant position. Advertisers’ increasing delegation of their ad purchases to demand-side intermediaries has generated a countervailing buyer power capable of leading to marked reductions in online ad prices. 

Lorenzo Coviello, Uri Gneezy, Lorenz Götte, 18 February 2018

Measuring the returns to search engine marketing accurately is difficult, but one study suggested that if eBay were to suspend its branded search ads, the volume of traffic to the site would remain virtually unchanged. Based on a field test involving a website for automotive information in the US, this column argues that money spent on search engine marketing by smaller brands may be more effective than previously documented. Only about half of the traffic normally flowing through branded search ads still flowed to the site when it relied only on organic search links.

Federico Etro, 30 January 2011

The dominant firm in online advertising is under investigation by many antitrust authorities. The EU Competition Commission is the latest to breathe heavily down its neck. Analysing Google’s market behaviour, particularly its search and display advertising model, this column argues that such investigations are welcome; the world needs to know if Google is abusing its market power.

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