Competitive Targeted Advertising over Networks

Competitive Targeted Advertising over Networks

By
Kostas Bimpikis, Asuman Ozdaglar, Ercan Yildiz
Operations Research. February
2016, Vol. 64, Issue 3, Pages 705-720

Recent advances in information technology have allowed firms to gather vast amounts of data regarding consumers’ preferences and the structure and intensity of their social interactions. This paper examines a game-theoretic model of competition between firms that can target their marketing budgets to individuals embedded in a social network. We provide a sharp characterization of the optimal targeted advertising strategies and highlight their dependence on the underlying social network structure. Furthermore, we provide conditions under which it is optimal for the firms to asymmetrically target a subset of the individuals and establish a lower bound on the ratio of their payoffs in these asymmetric equilibria. Finally, we find that at equilibrium firms invest inefficiently high in targeted advertising and the extent of the inefficiency is increasing in the centralities of the agents they target. Taken together, these findings shed light on the effect of the network structure on the outcome of marketing competition between the firms.