Analysis of a Learning Based Algorithm for Budget Pacing


ABSTRACT: In this talk, we discuss analysis of a natural learning algorithm for uniform pacing of advertising budgets, equipped to adapt to varying ad sale platform conditions. On the demand side, advertisers face a fundamental technical challenge in automating bidding in a way that spreads their allotted budget across a given campaign subject to hidden, and potentially dynamic, “spent amount” functions. This automation and calculation must be done in runtime, implying a necessary low computational cost for the high frequency auction rate. Advertisers are additionally expected to exhaust nearly all of their sub-interval (by the hour or minute) budgets to maintain budgeting quotas in the long run. Our study analyzes a simple learning algorithm that adapts to the latent spent amount function of the market and learns the optimal average bidding value for a period of auctions in a small fraction of the total campaign time, allowing for smooth budget pacing in real-time. We prove our algorithm is robust to changes in the auction mechanism, and exhibits a fast convergence to a stable average bidding strategy. The algorithm not only guarantees that budgets are nearly spent in their entirety, but also smoothly paces bidding to prevent early exit from the campaign and a loss of the opportunity to bid on potentially lucrative impressions later in the period.