20 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 1025 (2012-2013)
The Implications of Improved Attribution and Measurability for Antitrust and Privacy in Online Advertising Markets

handle is hein.journals/gmlr20 and id is 1043 raw text is: THE IMPLICATIONS OF IMPROVED ATTRIBUTION AND
MEASURABILITY FOR ANTITRUST AND PRIVACY IN
ONLINE ADVERTISING MARKETS
Catherine Tucker*
INTRODUCTION
The digital revolution has often been heralded for the transformation it
has produced in advertising. The ability to collect data about the individual,
automatically parse it, and then serve ads on that basis has transformed ad-
vertisers' ability to target ads and show specific ads to specific groups of
consumers. This targeting revolution has led to the emergence of paid
search advertising, where search engines serve ads on the basis of billions
of possible search terms. In online display advertising, the targeting revolu-
tion has led to contextually targeted banner ads that accurately match an ad
to the content the consumer is reading. This same revolution has also led to
behaviorally targeted banner ads where the advertiser can use past browsing
behavior to target ads.
The digital advertising revolution's implications for measuring adver-
tising effectiveness are far less discussed in academic literature.' Tracking a
user's clickstream across websites allows far more accurate measurement of
different advertisements' performance.2 Though this revolution has not at-
tracted much academic interest, the advertising industry has responded
swiftly to the increased potential for accurately measuring advertising ef-
fectiveness. A new type of advertising firm and technology has emerged,
specializing in the measurement and attribution of advertising performance.
By 2009, 31% of Internet firms were actively using cross-channel attribu-
tion technologies.' These technologies allow advertisers to assess and com-
pare the relative performance of different online, and sometimes offline,
advertising platforms. Advertising platforms can include search advertising,
display advertising, social media, and direct mail campaigns.
Catherine Tucker is Associate Professor of Marketing at MIT Sloan School of Management,
Cambridge, MA, and Research Associate at the NBER. All errors arc my own. I thank Google for finan-
cial support for this project.
1 See Avi Goldfarb & Catherine Tucker, Online Advertising, in 81 ADVANCES IN COMPUTERS
289,296 (Marvin V. Zelkowitz ed., 2011).
2 id.
3 See generally John Lovett et al., A Framework for Multicampaign Attribution Measurement,
FORRESTER (Feb, 19. 2009), http://www.iabcanada.com/wp-contcnt/uploads/2010/09/Forrester_
AFrameworkForMulticampaignAttribution.pdf.

2013]

1025

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