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Yi Zhu

Carlson School of Management

Yi Zhu

Assistant Professor, Marketing Department

Yi Zhu’s research aims to advance our understanding of marketing processes in light of the rise of digital technologies and new media. He uses theoretical and empirical industrial organization lenses to study marketing topics, including online auctions, search advertising, and media slant and the Chinese economy. His recent works have appeared or are forthcoming in Marketing Science and Management Science. He serves as an ad hoc reviewer for several top business journals and international conferences, including Marketing Science, Management Science, Journal of Marketing Research, Information Systems Research, Marketing Letters, International Conference on Information Systems, and others.

Yi Zhu holds a PhD in business administration from the University of Southern California and an MA in economics from the University of British Columbia. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked at Shanghai Investment Consulting Corporation, where he consulted for fortune 500 companies like DuPont and BASF.

Among 2013 graduates at USC, Zhu was one of six to receive a 2013 USC PhD Achievement Award. He also won the 2011 James S. Ford/Commerce Associates Ph.D. Fellowship and many other awards during his time at USC. His dissertation won Shankar-Spiegel Best Dissertation Proposal Award and received CIBER dissertation grant support. His other research was funded by a Net Institute Grant and the Marketing Science Institute. Zhu was recognized by the Chinese Ministry of Education as one of the top nine Chinese doctoral students studying abroad for his outstanding academic achievement and research in 2012.

Research Interests

My research interests focus on the application of industrial organization models in marketing, online auctions, search advertising, media slant, and Chinese economy. The rise of digital technologies and new media has been reshaping the ways in which businesses can market to consumers. Consumers have access to more sources of information, while businesses have better knowledge about consumers’ decisions. It remains unclear, however, how consumers and firms will react to these changing conditions. My research aims to advance our understanding of marketing processes in light of these new technologies and new media. My most recent papers forthcoming at Management Science, “Television Advertising and Online Search,” studies the interplay between TV advertising and consumers search behavior on Google. We find that television advertising increases both the number of related Google searches and consumers’ tendency to use branded keywords in place of generic keywords. My other works investigate some of the emerging challenges for online advertisers. For example, one paper addresses the question of whether it is in a search engine’s interest to prevent click fraud, a practice of deceptively clicking on search ads with the intension of exhausting an advertiser’s budget.

Related Publications

“Television Advertising and Online Search,” Mingyu Joo, Kenneth C. Wilbur, Bo Cowgill, and Yi Zhu, (forthcoming), Management Science.

“Hybrid Advertising Auctions,” Yi Zhu and Kenneth C. Wilbur, Marketing Science, 30(2):249-273.

“Click Fraud,” Kenneth C. Wilbur and Yi Zhu, Marketing Science, 28(2): 293-308.