How search engine advertising affects sales over time: An empirical investigation

Yanwu Yang, Kang Zhao, Daniel Zeng, Bernard Jim Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As a mainstream marketing channel on the Internet, Search Engine Advertising (SEA) has a huge business impact and attracts a plethora of attention from both academia and industry. One important goal of advertising is to increase sales. Nevertheless, while previous research has studied multiple factors that are potentially related to the outcome of SEA campaigns, effects of these factors on actual sales generated by SEA remain understudied. It is also unclear whether and how such effects change over time in highly dynamic SEA campaigns. As the first empirical investigation of the dynamic advertisement-sales relationship in SEA, this study builds an advertising response model within a time-varying coefficient (TVC) modeling framework, and estimates the model using a unique dataset from a large E-Commerce retailer in the United States. Results reveal the effects of the advertising expenditure, consumer behaviors and advertisement characteristics on realized sales, and demonstrate that such effects on sales do change over time in non-linear ways. More importantly, we find that carryover has a stronger effect in generating sales than direct response does, conversion rate is much more important than click-through rate, and ad position does not have significant effects on sales. These findings have direct implications for advertisers to launch more effective SEA campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Aug 15 2020


  • Ad-sales relationship
  • Advertising analytics
  • Business intelligence
  • Electronic commerce
  • Search engine advertising

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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