All posts by sruthi30

Quora: Online community

What is Quora?

Quora is a question and answer forum where people ask questions which get answered, edited and organized by  community of users. It aggregates questions to various topics and users collaborate to edit questions and suggest edits to other user’s answers. Users also contribute by up-voting or down-voting answers. This community representing a crowdsourcing platform to generate information exchange.

Continue reading Quora: Online community

Are we making money of online advertising?


Advertising as we know these days have changed so much from what it used to be a decode ago. First thing any marketing manager thinks of when it comes to devising a marketing strategy is to figure out the online advertising channels. But is it really bring in money? How much of the money invested in online advertising is actually getting converted to sales revenue? Paul R. Hoban and Randolph E. Bucklin, analyzed this same concept in a paper that we are going to dig deeper in this blog post.

Challenge with the study:

The main challenge in studying the effects of online ads on consumers is there is a widespread selection effect. Users browsing patterns and their preferences affect the impact of the advertising. To overcome these selection bias, the paper focuses on profitability or conversion during the purchase funnel. The life cycle of the user follows the four different stages: Non visitor, visitor, registered user and converted customer.


The method used here is to have two different groups: Control and Treatment group. Control group have similar ad displays as that of the treatment group, but their ads are of some charity firm whereas the treatment group had a focused firm for advertising. This is to help control the selection bias. During the experiment, for the first digital interaction the users were randomly selected into one of the two groups.

Findings from the experiment:

Based on the experiment, they have found the effectiveness for various stages of the users as follows:

Non Visitor: Helps in creating the brand image since the user has never visited the brand’s website. Here the ads
have a little effect in conversions.

Visitor: Users who have already visited the site before and had not created registered accounts, seeing the online ads will have little or no effect. If they hadn’t done that previously, there is a very little chance the ads will trigger them to do.

Registered Users: On the other hand, for registered users, the ads might trigger an emotion motivating them to make a purchase and in that case they have a good effect in conversion rates.

Converted Users: People who had already made a purchase with the brand, the ads might serve as a memory but might not have an effect in making them purchase again. There was no clear result obtained from the paper about the converted users.


The experiment showcased how the online advertising will impact different customer group segments. By leveraging this and varying the frequency and carryover effects we can increase the marginal effects of exposure. For example, this effect is more prominent for non visitors and less prominent for already converted users. The main limitation of this paper is that the experiment is carried out only for one particular firm. So the results can’t be generalized. There could be same users opening multiple browsers viewing similar ads. That might hinder the estimation. Thus this paper provides numerous opportunities for further research in this domain.


Paul R. Hoban Randolph E. Bucklin February 2015, “Effects of Internet Display Advertising in the Purchase Funnel: Model-Based Insights from a Randomized Field Experiment”

Manchanda, Puneet, Jean-Pierre Dubé, Khim Yong Goh, and Pradeep K. Chintagunta (2006), “The Effect of Banner Advertising on Internet Purchasing,” Journal of Marketing Research, 43 (1), 98-108.

Waze: Crowd sourcing for real time navigation?

Waze is a GPS-based geographical navigation application program for smartphones and tablets with GPS support and display screens which provides turn-by-turn information and user-submitted travel times and route details, downloading location-dependent information over mobile networks. It was originally founded by an Israeli developer and was later acquired by Google.

What does Waze do?

Waze is pretty simple, just like looking for directions in Google maps, one can give the starting point and the destination information to get the desired route details. The resulting map with the direction details also includes community shared information like travel time, optimal route, hazards on the road, potholes, blocked roads, construction work, etc.

snap 2

How does it work?

There are two ways one can contribute to crowd sourcing via Waze. Passively, when the user opens Waze, the smartphone automatically starts sharing information with the other users on the road. Like, traveling speed helps show where traffic is and reroutes everyone around potential traffic zones along a particular route.

The users can also actively take part in sharing information. In addition to traffic updates, information about live road events such as police activity, accidents, speed traps, stalled vehicles, and other road hazards are collected this way. For example a fellow user of the application can update any road block they come across on their way and that gets publicized to the entire community. Above is one example of a travel route in San Francisco where a fellow user had updated the pothole information.

Other Applications:

Not only everyday routes, Waze also helps with the traffic and roadblocks schedule during festive seasons or special events. Waze community when they foresee disasters or major events happen, update the map with possible road closures, obstructions. This helps everyone bypass traffic and take safe routes.

Apart from this, waze is now partnering with governments to come up with better solutions for cities like planning garbage disposal routes and better city planning.


Waze motivates users to contribute via a point system With higher points you can change your profile picture and get a higher status in the community. Users get points based on the edits and updates they do to improve the maps.


Waze offers re-sellers and advertisers a web interface to advertise based on locations where a small icon will appear on a given location for an interested Wazer to engage with the ads. Waze also offers to TV news stations a web interface to broadcast current traffic reports and alerts directly from the app.

In the future we can expect waze to evolve as a bigger player in the market and probably take over companies like Uber and lyft, with their concept of car pooling ideas. Waze has built a bigger community that can be leveraged to introduce live tracking of users near you who would want a ride.

So what are you waiting for? Netherlands is one of the 13 countries which has a complete map on waze. Start using it and start contributing to live Netherlands navigation information!


Lyft could see future competition from Google as Waze trials car-pooling app