Vibhanshu Abhishek, an associate professor of information systems, has been selected as a Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar for 2019.

Professor Vibhanshu Abhishek Chosen as Top Young Scholar

November 08, 2018 • By Aaron Orlowski

Vibhanshu Abhishek, an associate professor of information systems, has been selected as a Marketing Science Institute Young Scholar for 2019.

Abhishek, who joined the Merage School from Carnegie Mellon University this quarter, does research that focuses on how new technologies affect consumers, firm strategy and market structure, often using marketing big data.

He is a well known for his research on online advertising and has published several papers on search engine marketing and display advertising. He also works on the attribution problem in advertising that tries to quantify the value of every advertising exposure on a customer’s journey, online or offline. More recently, he has been interested in the sharing economy.  

“The sharing economy has major implications for businesses of all kinds, but untangling what those exact implications are is a complicated process,” Abhishek says. “Better knowledge about the chains of cause and effect in the sharing economy will help both businesses and consumers make better choices.”

In one 2018 study, Abhishek looked at how equipment manufacturers, such as the auto companies Honda and BMW, are actually benefiting from the peer-to-peer sharing economy and the platforms that enable it, such as Turo, which allows car owners to rent their vehicles to strangers.

Many equipment manufacturers feel threatened by peer-to-peer rentals, reasoning that with more people renting cars, fewer will need to buy cars. But Abhishek’s study found that peer-to-peer rentals actually allow equipment manufacturers to charge higher prices for their products, since consumers can recoup a return on their investment by renting it out.

Abhishek found that, in essence, peer-to-peer platforms allow manufacturers to segment the market. Consumers who will use a car a lot — or who will rent it out — pay more to buy the car, while consumers who won’t use a car much just rent it instead.

In an earlier study, in 2017, Abhishek found that online search advertisements for vague keywords outperformed those for specific keywords, probably because people were likelier to click on the top links when they couldn’t immediately find what they were looking for.

Abhishek also has upcoming studies looking at the effect of cookies and ad blockers on online advertising revenue, and examining how different classes of online advertisements — such as display ads and search ads — actually convince consumers to make a purchase.