Managing App Install Ad Campaigns in RTB: A Q-Learning Approach.
Real time bidding (RTB) enables demand side platforms (bidders) to scale ad campaigns across multiple publishers affiliated to an RTB ad exchange. While driving multiple campaigns for mobile app install ads via RTB, the bidder typically has to: (i) maintain each campaign's efficiency (i.e., meet advertiser's target cost-per-install), (ii) be sensitive to advertiser's budget, and (iii) make profit after payouts to the ad exchange. In this process, there is a sense of delayed rewards for the bidder's actions; the exchange charges the bidder right after the ad is shown, but the bidder gets to know about resultant installs after considerable delay. This makes it challenging for the bidder to decide beforehand the bid (and corresponding cost charged to advertiser) for each ad display opportunity. To jointly handle the objectives mentioned above, we propose a state space based policy which decides the exchange bid and advertiser cost for each opportunity. The state space captures the current efficiency, budget utilization and profit. The policy based on this state space is trained on past decisions and outcomes via a novel Q-learning algorithm which accounts for the delay in install notifications. In our experiments based on data from app install campaigns managed by Yahoo's Gemini advertising platform, the Q-learning based policy led to a significant increase in the profit and number of efficient campaigns.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1811.04475