Online Ad Allocation with Predictions

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Fabian Spaeh, Alina Ene


Display Ads and the generalized assignment problem are two well-studied online packing problems with important applications in ad allocation and other areas. In both problems, ad impressions arrive online and have to be allocated immediately to budget-constrained advertisers. Worst-case algorithms that achieve the ideal competitive ratio are known for both problems, but might act overly conservative given the predictable and usually tame nature of real-world input. Given this discrepancy, we develop an algorithm for both problems that incorporate machine-learned predictions and can thus improve the performance beyond the worst-case. Our algorithm is based on the work of Feldman et al. (2009) and similar in nature to Mahdian et al. (2007) who were the first to develop a learning-augmented algorithm for the related, but more structured Ad Words problem. We use a novel analysis to show that our algorithm is able to capitalize on a good prediction, while being robust against poor predictions. We experimentally evaluate our algorithm on synthetic and real-world data on a wide range of predictions. Our algorithm is consistently outperforming the worst-case algorithm without predictions.