On Multiple Round Sponsored Search Auctions with Budgets

Riccardo Colini-Baldeschi, Monika Henzinger, Stefano Leonardi, Martin Starnberger

In a sponsored search auction the advertisement slots on a search result page are generally ordered by click-through rate. Bidders have a valuation, which is usually assumed to be linear in the click-through rate, a budget constraint, and receive at most one slot per search result page (round). We study multi-round sponsored search auctions, where the different rounds are linked through the budget constraints of the bidders and the valuation of a bidder for all rounds is the sum of the valuations for the individual rounds. All mechanisms published so far either study one-round sponsored search auctions or the setting where every round has only one slot and all slots have the same click-through rate, which is identical to a multi-item auction. This paper contains the following three results: (1) We give the first mechanism for the multi-round sponsored search problem where different slots have different click-through rates. Our mechanism is incentive compatible in expectation, individually rational in expectation, Pareto optimal in expectation, and also ex-post Pareto optimal for each realized outcome. (2) Additionally we study the combinatorial setting, where each bidder is only interested in a subset of the rounds. We give a deterministic, incentive compatible, individually rational, and Pareto optimal mechanism for the setting where all slots have the same click-through rate. (3) We present an impossibility result for auctions where bidders have diminishing marginal valuations. Specifically, we show that even for the multi-unit (one slot per round) setting there is no incentive compatible, individually rational, and Pareto optimal mechanism for private diminishing marginal valuations and public budgets.

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