The purpose of this paper is to theoretically analyze and empirically test the business value of firm web visibility, including its relationship to advertising efficiency and long-term financial performance (i.e. shareholder value).
A conceptual framework is established to analyze firm value of web visibility through its market effects. Hypotheses on the associations between firm web visibility and advertising efficiency and shareholder value are tested by cross-sectional analysis of 1,331 firms in six industries and four industry sectors. The authors control for several firm- and industry-level factors.
The results consistently support the two hypotheses, i.e., first, a positive and significant relationship between firm web visibility and advertising efficiency; and second, a positive and significant relationship between firm web visibility and shareholder value.
In addition to increasing web traffic, firm web visibility has business value and helps to enhance advertising efficiency and shareholder value. Managers can use the web references as a valuable tool for marketing success when the use of traditional advertising reaches saturation. Managers should actively monitor and use web visibility as a web management measure in practice.
This research provides convincing evidence to support both short-term and long-term business value of web visibility and suggests that web visibility be recognized and managed as a market-based asset.
The authors thank the anonymous reviewers and the editor for their constructive and insightful comments on previous versions of this paper. This research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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