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Towards transparency and privacy in the online advertising business

The Value of Online Users: Empirical Evaluation of the Price of Personalized Ads

Authors: Miriam Marciel, Jose Gonzalez, Yonas Mitike Kassa, Roberto Gonzalez, Mohamed Ahmed

Partners involved: NEC, IMDEA, UC3M

Published in: Availability, Reliability and Security (ARES), 2016 11th International Conference on

DOI: 10.1109/ARES.2016.89

Abstract: Ad networks use the behaviors of online users to associate them with preferences (features), and market these features to enable advertisers to target online users. Typical features associated with users include location, interests, gender, age, and etc. Furthermore, ad networks provide their clients with campaign creation tools to help to them to configure and run campaigns. In this paper, we study the pricing of ads using the ad campaign planning tools of ad networks. We develop tools to collect the suggested bid prices from two platforms: YouTube and Facebook. Analyzing these prices we find that United States is the most expensive country in both platforms. We also find that the most expensive preferences are different in YouTube and Facebook. In YouTube, the top preferences are related to Oil & Gas, while in Facebook are devices, ethnics or politics depending on the type of bidding. Finally, we do not find any price difference genders in Facebook.

Research highlights:

  • We study the prices paid in the online advertising ecosystem for different profiles by crawling the different tools provided by the ad networks to configure advertising campaigns.
  • Our finding demonstrate the prices paid to show ads to different users widely change depending in the country or the preferences of the users.

Read the entire paper here.

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