Estimation bias in multi-armed bandit algorithms for search advertising

Min Xu, Tao Qin, Tie Yan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In search advertising, the search engine needs to select the most profitable advertisements to display, which can be formulated as an instance of online learning with partial feedback, also known as the stochastic multi-armed bandit (MAB) problem. In this paper, we show that the naive application of MAB algorithms to search advertising for advertisement selection will produce sample selection bias that harms the search engine by decreasing expected revenue and "estimation of the largest mean" (ELM) bias that harms the advertisers by increasing game-theoretic player-regret. We then propose simple bias-correction methods with benefits to both the search engine and the advertisers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event27th Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, NIPS 2013 - Lake Tahoe, NV, United States
Duration: Dec 5 2013Dec 10 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Signal Processing


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