Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards: Improving industry understanding and practices in online marketing

March 19, 2009

Posted by Jeff Walz, University Relations and Anne Bray, Head of Agency, WPP

Google and the WPP Group have teamed up to create a new research program with the goal of improving industry understanding of digital marketing. Eleven research awards have been given to universities through the Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards Program, announced by both companies in the fall of 2008. The academic studies will harness WPP client data to explore how online media influences consumer behavior, attitudes, and decision making. The research provides an opportunity for very innovative thinking in an area that is at the crossroads of marketing, computer science, economics, and various mathematical disciplines.

More than 120 entries were received by the deadline for proposals. The awards represent the first round of grants in the three-year program towards which WPP and Google will commit up to $4.6 million in an effort to support research around digital marketing. Hal Varian, Google's Chief Economist, participated on the decision committee.

The winning projects offer convincing designs for exploring how online and offline marketing influence consumer attitudes, decisions, and purchase behavior. As marketing continues to become more digital and more measurable, the results of these studies will also advance our understanding of how advertising investment should be allocated among media channels.

The researchers and affiliated academic institutions participating in this first round of awarded projects are:

• “Effect of Online Exposure on Offline Buying: How Online Exposure
Aids or Hurts Offline Buying by Increasing the Impact of Offline
Attributes”; Amitav Chakravarti, New York University, Stern School of
Business, Department of Marketing

• “The Interaction Between Digital Marketing Tactics and Sales
Performance Online and Offline”; Elie Ofek, Associate Professor
Marketing, Harvard Business School and Zsolt Katona, Associate
Professor of Marketing, UC Berkeley, Haas School of Business

• ”Are Brand Attitudes Contagious? Consumer Response to Organic
Search Trends”; Donna L. Hoffman, Professor, A. Gary Anderson
Graduate School of Management, University of California Riverside and
Thomas P. Novak, A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management,
University of California Riverside

• “Does internet advertising help established brands or niche ("long
tail") brands more? Catherine Tucker, Assistant Professor of
Marketing, MIT Sloan School of Marketing and Avi Goldfarb, Associate
Professor of Marketing, Joseph L. Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto

• “Marketing on the Map: Visual Search and Consumer Decision Making”;
Nicolas Lurie, Assistant Professor of Marketing, College of
Management, Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Management and
Sam Ransbotham, Assistant Professor of Information Systems, Carroll
School of Management, Boston College

• “Methods for multivariate metric analysis; identifying change
drivers”; Trevor J. Hastie, Professor, Department of Statistics,
Stanford University

• “Unpuzzling the Synergy of Display and Search Advertising: Insights
from Data Mining of Chinese Internet Users”; Hairong Li, Department of
Advertising, Public Relations, and Retailing, Michigan State
University and Shuguang Zhao, Media Survey Lab, Tsinghua University

• “Optimal Allocation of Offline and Online Media Budget”; Sunil
Gupta, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School;
Anita Elberse, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School; and
Kenneth C. Wilbur, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Marshall School
of Business, University of Southern California

• “Targeting Ads to Match Individual Cognitive Styles: A Market
Test”; Glen Urban, Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management

• “How do consumers determine what is relevant? A psychometric and
neuroscientific study of online search and advertising effectiveness”;
Antoine Bechara, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Department
of Psychology/Brain & Creativity Institute, University of Southern
California and Martin Reimann, Fellow, Department of Psychology/Brain
& Creativity, University of Southern California

• “A Comprehensive Model of the Effects of Brand-Generated and
Consumer-Generated Communications on Brand Perceptions, Sales and
Share”; Douglas Bowman and Manish Tripathi, Professors of Marketing,
Goizueta Business School, Emory University.

You can find more information about the Google and WPP Marketing Research Awards Program on the website.