Google Research

Trimmed Match Design for Randomized Paired Geo Experiments

Google LLC (2021)


How to measure the incremental return on Ad spend (iROAS) is a fundamental problem for the online advertising industry. A standard modern tool is to run randomized geo experiments, where experimental units are non-overlapping ad-targetable geographical areas (Vaver & Koehler 2011). However, how to design a reliable and cost-effective geo experiment can be complicated, for example: 1) the number of geos is often small, 2) the response metric (e.g. revenue) across geos can be very heavy-tailed due to geo heterogeneity, and furthermore 3) the response metric can vary dramatically over time. To address these issues, we propose a robust nonparametric method for the design, called Trimmed Match Design (TMD), which extends the idea of Trimmed Match (Chen & Au 2019) and furthermore integrates the techniques of optimal subset pairing and sample splitting in a novel and systematic manner. Some simulation and real case studies are presented. We also point out a few open problems for future research.

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