2015 Dick Wittink Prize


The Dick Wittink Prize Committee is pleased to announce the 2015 winner of the 9th Annual Dick Wittink prize for the best paper published in Quantitative Marketing and Economics.


Online ads and offline sales: measuring the effect of retail advertising via a controlled experiment on Yahoo!

by Randall A. Lewis and David H. Reiley

This paper was among the first to demonstrate online advertising effectiveness using experiments. It highlights the challenges of identifying advertising effects. It is already a foundational paper in the literature on online advertising effects. A randomized experiment with 1.6 million customers measures positive causal effects of online advertising for a major retailer. The advertising profitably increases purchases by 5%. 93% of the increase occurs in brick-and-mortar stores; 78% of the increase derives from consumers who never click the ads. The large sample reaches the statistical frontier for measuring economically relevant effects. They improve econometric efficiency by supplementing our experimental variation with non-experimental variation caused by consumer browsing behavior. Their experiment provides a specification check for observational difference-in-differences and cross-sectional estimators; the latter exhibits a large negative bias three times the estimated experimental effect.