Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Z. John Zhang
This dissertation investigates how technology in different marketing-related use cases may affect consumer behavior, and how firms should respond. In particular, we study two important types of platforms in marketing – social media platforms such as Facebook and shopping platforms such as Amazon Marketplace. For social media platforms, this dissertation focuses on a recent, hotly-debated topic -- content moderation. We build a game-theoretical model to study how economic incentives will shape a social media platform's content moderation strategy, as well as how a platform's technology strategy will interact with the way in which it moderates its user-generated content. We find that a social media platform's optimal content moderation strategy depends on its revenue model: a platform under advertising is more likely to moderate its content than one under subscription, but does so less aggressively compared to the latter when it moderates content. We also show that a platform under advertising does not necessarily benefit from a better technology for content moderation, but one under subscription does, which means that platforms under different revenue models can have different incentives to improve their content moderation technology. For shopping platforms, we investigate whether retailers should adopt technology-enabled shopping (TES) platforms, such as Amazon's Alexa, as a new distribution channel. We combine game-theoretical analysis and experiments that show consumer reactions to different shopping technology. We find that consumers with stronger brand preferences are less likely to benefit from decision support (DS) technology, whereas ordering convenience (OC) technology benefits all consumers at a similar level. Such differences in consumer reactions to different technology induces vastly different distribution and pricing strategies in retail markets: the heterogeneous consumer valuation of the DS technology results in a monopolistic retailer adoption and generates Pareto improvements, but OC technology results in competitive retailer adoption and generates a prisoner-dilemma type outcome. Furthermore, we also find that a technology provider may choose not to offer the best possible OC technology to mitigate downstream retailer competition.
Liu, Yi, "Essays On Technology And Platforms" (2022). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 5540.