Female Scientists for Female Students: „Placement disclosure in ad auctions: Evidence from a policy change“

19.11.2019, 12:00 – 14:00

19.11.2019 12:00-14:00

Speaker: Prof Dr. Nadia Abou Nabout (Vienna University of Economics and Business) | Location: Hochschulstraße 10 (S2|02), Piloty Building, Room A102, Darmstadt

Organizer: Privacy and Trust for Mobile Users

Ad exchanges, i.e., platforms where real-time auctions for ad impressions take place, have developed sophisticated technology and data ecosystems to allow advertisers to target users, yet advertisers often do not know which sites their ads appear on. In practice, ad exchanges can easily grant ad placement information to advertisers, allowing advertisers to bid on ads at specic sites. However, ad exchanges are reluctant to disclose placement information due to fears that advertisers will start buying ads only on the most desirable sites leaving inventory on other sites unsold and lowering average revenue. The theoretical literature on information disclosure in auctions suggests that auction revenue is a concave function of information provided and prices will fall when too much or too little information is provided about impressions.

During the lecture I will explore the empirical effect of ad placement disclosure using a unique data set describing auction outcomes on a major European ad exchange and will find that average revenue per impression rises when ad placement information is provided suggesting that ad context information is important to advertisers. The exception to this are sites which had a low number of buyers prior to the policy change; consistent with theory, these sites with thin markets see prices go down. The analysis adds evidence that publishers and ad exchanges with thick markets should provide advertisers with site placement information, which can be done at almost no cost.