Prior-independent Dynamic Auctions for a Value-maximizing Buyer

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Yuan Deng, Hanrui Zhang


We study prior-independent dynamic auction design with production costs for a value-maximizing buyer, a paradigm that is becoming prevalent recently following the development of automatic bidding algorithms in advertising platforms. In contrast to a utility-maximizing buyer, who maximizes the difference between her total value and total payment, a value-maximizing buyer aims to maximize her total value subject to a return on investment (ROI) constraint. Our main result is a dynamic mechanism with regret $\tilde{O}(T^{2/3})$, where $T$ is the time horizon, against the first-best benchmark, i.e., the maximum amount of revenue the seller can extract assuming all values of the buyer are publicly known.