Data Science for Sales and Marketing

Current Research Projects
Data analytics and data science visualizations

Visibility-at-Risk: Measuring Firms’ Risk of Visibility Losses in Organic Search Results

Traffic from organic search results is a critical and relatively inexpensive resource for most firms; any loss of visibility in organic search results represents a serious risk. But little is known about how to measure this risk. This article proposes an approach drawn from the financial concept of value-at-risk to estimate a firm’s visibility-at-risk, the risk of visibility losses in organic search results, and the economic consequences, or revenue-at-risk. In an empirical study of 1,005 firms over 6.5 years, half face a 5% probability of losing more than 54% of their visibility within one year. A loss of 1% in visibility in organic search results in a week is associated with a 1.9% average revenue loss over the course of four weeks. We make a step toward a better integration of marketing and risk management by demonstrating how firms can disclose this risk in their financial reports.

Keywords: online marketing, risk, search engine optimization (SEO), organic search results, visibility.


Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera

Project Member: Gabriela Alves Werb

A table with small stones with letters on which the term Digital Marketing is written.

Market Analysis in the Attention Economy

One of the biggest challenges for firms is to anticipate shifts in consumer needs and the emergence of new competitive threats. Market analysis aims to address those challenges. Traditionally, market analysis uses historical data and focuses on narrowly defined product categories wherein similar firms compete for consumers’ budgets. Such narrow scope and backward-looking perspective is, however, not suitable to detect new consumer needs and emerging competitors. To broaden the scope of traditional market analysis and to provide firms with a more forward-looking perspective, the authors take market analysis to the attention economy. Therein, firms compete for consumers’ attention, which is a necessary precursor to choice, and thus a source of market power. Using a novel, consumer-centric market analysis approach based on search engine data, the authors study the German Retail Banking market. They identify 591 firms competing for consumers’ attention across 8 market topics. Merely 27% of these firms actually produce financial products. They are separated from consumers by other firms that jointly capture over 86% of consumers’ attention.

Keywords: market analysis, attention economy, topic modeling, visualization


Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera

Project Members: Daniel Ringel, Elham Maleki

insights from data science

Development of Firms’ Focus on Brand and Customer Management over Time

In today’s saturated market, firms need to decide on a suitable go-to-market strategy to make their offers distinctive and profitable. Given that a go-to-market strategy can focus on very different elements which require different skill sets, firms need to choose if they want to focus on brand management, customer management, or both. In addition, there are ongoing discussions about how different approaches’ importance changes over time.

In our study, we investigate (a) by which mechanism firms go-to-market, (b) whether and how the go-to-market mechanisms are changing over time, and (c) whether structural aspect explain those changes. Our analysis is based on a new text-mining approach that analyzes publicly available transcripts of about 30,000 earnings conference calls from S&P500 firms. Our results using a sub-sample of 82 firms show that firms’ focus on BM and CM changes over time. Furthermore, we find out that go-to-market strategies differ across industries.


brand management, customer management, textual analysis


Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera

Project Memebers: Prof. Dr. Werner Reinartz, Simeng Han

Do Ads Harm News Consumption?

News are often bundled with ads, but how ads impact news consumption is understudied. Using 1.8 million anonymized browsing sessions from 76,348 users on a news website and the quasi-random variation created by ad blocker adoption, we find that seeing ads has a robust negative effect on news consumption, with 20% decrease in the number of news article views and 10% decrease in the number of news category views. The effect persists over time and is largely driven by the decreasing consumption of hard news. Our findings open an important discussion on the suitability of advertising as a monetization model for valuable digital content.

Keywords: online advertising, news consumption, ad blocking, difference-in-differences


Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera

Project Members: Shunyao Yan, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Klaus Miller

Data analytics and data science visualizations

MapEvolve: A New Method to Visualize the Evolution of Brand Positioning in Dynamic Market Structure Maps

Monitoring competitive environments is crucial for brands to maintain competitive advantages. While market maps can provide managers with insights into brands’ competitive environments at individual points in time, extant methods fail to uncover how markets and brands’ competitive positions therein evolve over time. Yet, when markets are evolving, such static snapshots of market structure obscure important information and are thus impractical.

Herein we propose a new method to derive market structure maps which allows to identify the evolutionary trajectories of brands’ competitive positions over time. We validate our method in a simulation study and apply it to data from the German Smart Home market over a three-year period. Our empirical analysis verifies that brands’ competitive positions are evolving over time and that our method can accurately visualize their trajectories. Thereby, our proposed method reveals newly emerging submarkets, threats by new entrants and shifts in incumbents’ positioning that extant methods cannot detect. Discussions with practitioners confirm the validity and usefulness of the derived dynamic market structure maps.


Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera

Project Members: Maximilian Matthe, Ass.-Prof. Dr. Daniel M. Ringel

Do Consent and Transparency Requirements Achieve Their Goal?

When processing user data, companies need to fulfill transparency and consent requirements by implementing privacy notices on their websites. The large variety of these notice designs poses the question of whether the implemented notices are optimal for companies and users alike.

This paper analyzes several notice characteristics to find the optimal design for companies based on the resulting user engagement and checks for a gap between the companies’ and users’ optimal notice design. Finally, the paper assesses whether the current privacy regulations solve this gap in practice by evaluating the implemented notices. The paper finds that only meeting the transparency requirements is mostly optimal for companies. In practice, however, there is a high incongruence from both the companies’ and users’ perspectives, with the majority of websites not fulfilling the consent nor transparency requirements. The paper’s findings suggest that companies need to realize their incentive to better inform their users of data processing activities and that current privacy regulations need stricter enforcement due to meeting consent requirements is not always optimal for companies..


Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera

Project Members: Asst.-Prof. Dr. Klaus Miller, Julia Schmitt


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