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Adobe invests in Krannert faculty research on data science in marketing

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A pair of faculty members from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management recently won a research grant of $50,000 from Adobe Systems. Wreetabrata Kar, an assistant professor, and Mohammad Rahman, an associate professor, are studying different drivers of knowledge consumption on the Internet and endeavor to find how a site can leverage such drivers to influence consumer behavior.

In the current state, websites are constrained to making recommendations based on immediate context and may be missing out on steering the consumers toward more desirable outcomes. “In this research, we want to disentangle the drivers of interest for each the various offerings a company might have, based on the effect of consumers’ demographics, product specific features, and external stimuli (like social media) on consumption. We intend to explore the role of geography and how that affects the different drivers of consumption,” Kar says.

“For this research, we have partnered with one of the largest knowledge bases on the Internet for data. The data provides us with the information on the number of webpages visited during a session and the additional information on the number of ads the consumer have been shown during that period,” Rahman adds.

“Harnessing the richness of the data, we would also like to explore how satiation varies based on time spend on the website and whether ads has an impact on the satiation. Since ads are the main source of revenue for most websites, our findings will help the managers to select the optimal number of ads based on the state of the visitor’s knowledge consumption funnel and progression of the consumer through the multiple web pages during a single session,” he says. “This insight can be further enriched if we are able to identify consumer segments based on individual behavioral traits and aggregate demographics — which would help managers refine their targeting mechanisms.”

Adobe Systems, on a biennial basis, funds up to $50000 based on research proposals from academicians in North American universities as part of an industry and academia collaboration that aims to find new ways to solve some of the riveting challenges that plague today’s online marketers. The investment comes in the form of an unrestricted gift to the academic institution under the names of the researchers who submitted the proposal.

The applicants for this grant are limited not only to business schools, but also include faculties specializing in computer science, machine learning, artificial intelligence and other data-analytics driven disciplines, which makes it very competitive and attractive. Therefore, winning this grant has been a validation of the importance of their proposal to academia and industry. In the past this grant have been won by faculties from NYU, MIT, Stanford, USC and others. Notably, Kar and Rahman are the first winners from Purdue.

Wreetabrata Kar primarily works on consumer engagement and targeting strategies in Internet Marketing. Mohammad Rahman is a pioneer in harnessing digital traces to delineate insights related to consumer behavior and actionable digital strategies.

For more information on the Adobe Research Awards, visit or