Yi Zhu teaches in a classroom of MBA students

Yi Zhu Wins Long Term Impact Award for Advertising Research

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Associate Professor Yi Zhu won the prestigious Don Morrison Long Term Impact Award from the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science (ISMS) at the society’s annual conference this summer. 

The honor highlights meaningful, past research that has continued to inspire work in the field. To be eligible for the award, the paper had to have been published six to 10 years ago and have at least 150 Google Scholar citations. Zhu shares the award with Mingyu Joo of the University of California-Riverside, Kenneth C. Wilbur of the University of California-San Diego, and Bo Cowgill of Columbia University.
Zhu and his co-authors published the paper “Television Advertising and Online Search” in 2014 in Management Science after working on the research together as doctoral students at the University of Southern California. At the time, advertising firms rarely coordinated TV and online campaigns. The researchers found Google searches using branded keywords would spike after commercials aired on TV. The findings highlighted the importance of integrating television and search advertising campaigns to better connect with consumers to drive sales. Then a novel idea, Zhu says agencies have now widely adopted the coordinated approach.

“Advertising is just one side of the story and online search is just another natural step,” Zhu explained. “Now they’re all connected and there’s more sales conversion through a more streamlined consumer shopping funnel. By thinking about the different offline and online media platforms, we see a much more cohesive advertising strategy.”

The research had been previously nominated for the award, but Zhu says he and his co-authors never expected to win the honor. He says it all started with wanting to pursue an idea they found interesting.

“At the time we were just hoping to get the paper published. That was our goal,” Zhu smiled. “We have very humble starting points, so it’s pretty exciting to receive this recognition and see how our research continues to contribute to the field.” 

Zhu joined the Carlson School of Management’s Marketing Department in 2013. In addition to search advertising, his research expertise includes online auctions, media slant, pricing, and the economies of China.

Fall 2023 Discovery magazine cover

This article appeared in the Fall 2023 Discovery magazine

This issue celebrates faculty achievements, examines research in artificial intelligence and retail supply chain, and new projects in progress.

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