NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Measuring the Effects of Advertising: The Digital Frontier

Randall Lewis, Justin M. Rao, David H. Reiley


This chapter is a preliminary draft unless otherwise noted. It may not have been subjected to the formal review process of the NBER. This page will be updated as the chapter is revised.

Chapter in forthcoming NBER book Economics of Digitization, Avi Goldfarb, Shane Greenstein, and Catherine Tucker, editors
Conference held June 6-7, 2013
Forthcoming from University of Chicago Press

Online advertising offers unprecedented opportunities for measurement. A host of new metrics, clicks being the leading example, have become widespread in advertising science. New data and experimentation platforms open the door for firms and researchers to measure true causal effects of advertising on a variety of consumer behaviors, such as purchases. We dissect how the new metrics and methods can be used to provide insight on the returns to advertising by setting out the questions that we think can be answered by current data and methods, those that we believe will be in play within five years, and those that we believe could not be answered with arbitrarily large and detailed data. We pay close attention to the advances in computational advertising that are not only increasing the impact of advertising with algorithmic targeting, but also by shifting the focus from "who to hit" to "what do I get."

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This paper was revised on May 21, 2014

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This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w19520, Measuring the Effects of Advertising: The Digital Frontier, Randall Lewis, Justin M. Rao, David H. Reiley
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