Search Advertising

Alexandre Cornière (de)


Search engines enable advertisers to target consumers based on the query they have entered. In a framework in which consumers search sequentially after having entered a query, I show that targeting reduces search costs, improves matches and intensifies price competition. However, a profit-maximizing monopolistic search engine imposes a distortion by charging too high an advertising fee, which may negate the benefits of targeting. The search engine also has incentives to provide a suboptimal quality of sponsored links. Competition among search engines can increase or decrease welfare, depending on the extent of multi-homing by advertisers.


search engine; targeted advertising; consumer search;

Codes JEL

  • D43: Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
  • D83: Search • Learning • Information and Knowledge • Communication • Belief
  • L13: Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
  • M37: Advertising


Alexandre Cornière (de), « Search Advertising », American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, vol. 8, n° 3, août 2016, p. 156–188.

Publié dans

American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, vol. 8, n° 3, août 2016, p. 156–188