Interesting piece in BusinessWeek.com about the role math now plays in modern business — including online advertising, natch.
A little excerpt about Imran Khan, the director of search advertising at E-Loan:
An accountant by training, Khan has turned the advertising operation into an enormous statistical laboratory. Like most others in the industry, he started three years ago by bidding on keywords on the major search engines. Over time, Khan’s team has amassed a portfolio of 250,000 key words and phrases. Each time a Web surfer types one of those words in a search engine, an E-Loan ad appears next to the results, and Khan’s team pays the price bid for each click. But running search-based ads is hardly a static process. Working with Efficient Frontier Inc., an analytics startup in Silicon Valley, Khan crunches his stash of words, calculating the return on investment for each one and tweaking thousands of bids hour by hour. He spends $15 million a year — half of E-Loan’s ad budget — and he accumulates massive feedback from customers.