Optimal Reserve Price for Online Ads Trading Based on Inventory Identification

Zhihui Xie, Kuang-Chih Lee, and Liang Wang


The online ads trading platform plays a crucial role in connecting publishers and advertisers and generates tremendous value in fa- cilitating the convenience of our lives. It has been evolving into a more and more complicated structure. In this paper, we consider the problem of maximizing the revenue for the seller side via utilizing proper reserve price for the auctions in a dynamical way. Predicting the optimal reserve price for each auction in the re- peated auction marketplaces is a non-trivial problem. However, we were able to come up with an efficient method of improving the seller revenue by mainly focusing on adjusting the reserve price for those high-value inventories. Previously, no dedicated work has been performed from this perspective. Inspired by Paul and Michael [16], our model first identifies the value of the inventory by predicting the top bid price bucket using a cascade of classifiers. The cascade is essential in significantly reducing the false positive rate of a single classifier. Based on the output of the first step, we build another cluster of classifiers to predict the price separations between the top two bids. We showed that although the high-value auctions are only a small portion of all the traffic, successfully iden- tifying them and setting correct reserve price would result in a significant revenue lift. Moreover, our optimization is compatible with all other reserve price models in the system and does not im- pact their performance. In other words, when combined with other models, the enhancement on exchange revenue will be aggregated. Simulations on randomly sampled Yahoo ads exchange (YAXR) data showed stable and expected lift after applying our model.