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Forecasting Granular Audience Size for Online Advertising

Ritwik Sinha, Dhruv Singal, Pranav Maneriker, Kushal Chawla, Yash Shrivastava, Deepak Pai and Atanu Ranjan Sinha.

Orchestration of campaigns for online display advertising requires marketers to forecast audience size at the granularity of specific attributes of web traffic, characterized by the categorical nature of all attributes (e.g. {US, Chrome, Mobile}). With each attribute taking many values, the very large attribute combination set makes estimating audience size for any specific attribute combination challenging. We modify Eclat, a frequent itemset mining (FIM) algorithm, to accommodate categorical variables. For consequent frequent and infrequent itemsets, we then provide forecasts using time series analysis with conditional probabilities to aid approximation. An extensive simulation, based on typical characteristics of audience data, is built to stress test our modified-FIM approach. In two real datasets, comparison with baselines including neural network models, shows that our method lowers computation time of FIM for categorical data. On hold out samples we show that the proposed forecasting method outperforms these baselines.