Here, there, and everywhere: correlated online behaviors can lead to overestimates of the effects of advertising

@inproceedings{Lewis2011HereTA,
  title={Here, there, and everywhere: correlated online behaviors can lead to overestimates of the effects of advertising},
  author={Randall A. Lewis and Justin M. Rao and David H. Reiley},
  booktitle={WWW},
  year={2011}
}
Measuring the causal effects of online advertising (adfx) on user behavior is important to the health of the WWW publishing industry. In this paper, using three controlled experiments, we show that observational data frequently lead to incorrect estimates of adfx. The reason, which we label "activity bias," comes from the surprising amount of time-based correlation between the myriad activities that users undertake online. In Experiment 1, users who are exposed to an ad on a given day are much… CONTINUE READING
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