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Pricing against a Budget and ROI Constrained Buyer

Negin Golrezaei · Patrick Jaillet · Jason Cheuk Nam Liang · Vahab Mirrokni

Auditorium 1 Foyer 90


Internet advertisers (buyers) repeatedly procure ad impressions from ad platforms (sellers) with the aim to maximize total conversion (i.e. ad value) while respecting both budget and return-on-investment (ROI) constraints for efficient utilization of limited monetary resources. Facing such a constrained buyer who aims to learn her optimal strategy to acquire impressions, we study from a seller's perspective how to learn and price ad impressions through repeated posted price mechanisms to maximize revenue. For this two-sided learning setup, we propose a learning algorithm for the seller that utilizes an episodic binary-search procedure to identify a revenue-optimal selling price. We show that such a simple learning algorithm enjoys low seller regret when within each episode, the budget and ROI constrained buyer approximately best responds to the posted price. We present simple yet natural buyer's bidding algorithms under which the buyer approximately best responds while satisfying budget and ROI constraints, leading to a low regret for our proposed seller pricing algorithm. The design of our seller algorithm is motivated by the fact that the seller's revenue function admits a bell-shaped structure when the buyer best responds to prices under budget and ROI constraints, enabling our seller algorithm to identify revenue-optimal selling prices efficiently.

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