In recent years, there has been significant interest in understanding users' online content consumption patterns. But, the unstructured, high-dimensional, and dynamic nature of such data makes extracting valuable insights challenging. Here we propose a model that combines the simplicity of matrix factorization with the flexibility of neural networks to efficiently extract nonlinear patterns from massive text data collections relevant to consumers' online consumption patterns. Our model decomposes a user's content consumption journey into nonlinear user and content factors that are used to model their dynamic interests. This natural decomposition allows us to summarize each user's content consumption journey with a dynamic probabilistic weighting over a set of underlying content attributes. The model is fast to estimate, easy to interpret and can harness external data sources as an empirical prior. These advantages make our method well suited to the challenges posed by modern datasets. We use our model to understand the dynamic news consumption interests of Boston Globe readers over five years. Thorough qualitative studies, including a crowdsourced evaluation, highlight our model's ability to accurately identify nuanced and coherent consumption patterns. These results are supported by our model's superior and robust predictive performance over several competitive baseline methods.
Social media popularity and importance is on the increase, due to people using it for various types of social interaction across multiple channels. This social interaction by online users includes submission of feedback, opinions and recommendations about various individuals, entities, topics, and events. This systematic review focuses on the evolving research area of Social Opinion Mining, tasked with the identification of multiple opinion dimensions, such as subjectivity, sentiment polarity, emotion, affect, sarcasm and irony, from user-generated content represented across multiple social media platforms and in various media formats, like text, image, video and audio. Therefore, through Social Opinion Mining, natural language can be understood in terms of the different opinion dimensions, as expressed by humans. This contributes towards the evolution of Artificial Intelligence, which in turn helps the advancement of several real-world use cases, such as customer service and decision making. A thorough systematic review was carried out on Social Opinion Mining research which totals 485 studies and spans a period of twelve years between 2007 and 2018. The in-depth analysis focuses on the social media platforms, techniques, social datasets, language, modality, tools and technologies, natural language processing tasks and other aspects derived from the published studies. Such multi-source information fusion plays a fundamental role in mining of people's social opinions from social media platforms. These can be utilised in many application areas, ranging from marketing, advertising and sales for product/service management, and in multiple domains and industries, such as politics, technology, finance, healthcare, sports and government. Future research directions are presented, whereas further research and development has the potential of leaving a wider academic and societal impact.
How can we assess the value of data objectively, systematically and quantitatively? Pricing data, or information goods in general, has been studied and practiced in dispersed areas and principles, such as economics, marketing, electronic commerce, data management, data mining and machine learning. In this article, we present a unified, interdisciplinary and comprehensive overview of this important direction. We examine various motivations behind data pricing, understand the economics of data pricing and review the development and evolution of pricing models according to a series of fundamental principles. We discuss both digital products and data products. We also consider a series of challenges and directions for future work.
Personalization and recommendations are now accepted as core competencies in just about every online setting, ranging from media platforms to e-commerce to social networks. While the challenge of estimating user preferences has garnered significant attention, the operational problem of using such preferences to construct personalized offer sets to users is still a challenge, particularly in modern settings where a massive number of items and a millisecond response time requirement mean that even enumerating all of the items is impossible. Faced with such settings, existing techniques are either (a) entirely heuristic with no principled justification, or (b) theoretically sound, but simply too slow to work. Thus motivated, we propose an algorithm for personalized offer set optimization that runs in time sub-linear in the number of items while enjoying a uniform performance guarantee. Our algorithm works for an extremely general class of problems and models of user choice that includes the mixed multinomial logit model as a special case. We achieve a sub-linear runtime by leveraging the dimensionality reduction from learning an accurate latent factor model, along with existing sub-linear time approximate near neighbor algorithms. Our algorithm can be entirely data-driven, relying on samples of the user, where a `sample' refers to the user interaction data typically collected by firms. We evaluate our approach on a massive content discovery dataset from Outbrain that includes millions of advertisements. Results show that our implementation indeed runs fast and with increased performance relative to existing fast heuristics.
In many applications, such as recommender systems, online advertising, and product search, click-through rate (CTR) prediction is a critical task, because its accuracy has a direct impact on both platform revenue and user experience. In recent years, with the prevalence of deep learning, CTR prediction has been widely studied in both academia and industry, resulting in an abundance of deep CTR models. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of a standardized benchmark and uniform evaluation protocols for CTR prediction. This leads to the non-reproducible and even inconsistent experimental results among these studies. In this paper, we present an open benchmark (namely FuxiCTR) for reproducible research and provide a rigorous comparison of different models for CTR prediction. Specifically, we ran over 4,600 experiments for a total of more than 12,000 GPU hours in a uniform framework to re-evaluate 24 existing models on two widely-used datasets, Criteo and Avazu. Surprisingly, our experiments show that many models have smaller differences than expected and sometimes are even inconsistent with what reported in the literature. We believe that our benchmark could not only allow researchers to gauge the effectiveness of new models conveniently, but also share some good practices to fairly compare with the state of the arts. We will release all the code and benchmark settings.
In online advertising, users may be exposed to a range of different advertising campaigns, such as natural search or referral or organic search, before leading to a final transaction. Estimating the contribution of advertising campaigns on the user's journey is very meaningful and crucial. A marketer could observe each customer's interaction with different marketing channels and modify their investment strategies accordingly. Existing methods including both traditional last-clicking methods and recent data-driven approaches for the multi-touch attribution (MTA) problem lack enough interpretation on why the methods work. In this paper, we propose a novel model called DeepMTA, which combines deep learning model and additive feature explanation model for interpretable online multi-touch attribution. DeepMTA mainly contains two parts, the phased-LSTMs based conversion prediction model to catch different time intervals, and the additive feature attribution model combined with shaley values. Additive feature attribution is explanatory that contains a linear function of binary variables. As the first interpretable deep learning model for MTA, DeepMTA considers three important features in the customer journey: event sequence order, event frequency and time-decay effect of the event. Evaluation on a real dataset shows the proposed conversion prediction model achieves 91\% accuracy.
Uplift models support decision-making in marketing campaign planning. Estimating the causal effect of a marketing treatment, an uplift model facilitates targeting communication to responsive customers and efficient allocation of marketing budgets. Research into uplift models focuses on conversion models to maximize incremental sales. The paper introduces uplift modeling strategies for maximizing incremental revenues. If customers differ in their spending behavior, revenue maximization is a more plausible business objective compared to maximizing conversions. The proposed methodology entails a transformation of the prediction target, customer-level revenues, that facilitates implementing a causal uplift model using standard machine learning algorithms. The distribution of campaign revenues is typically zero-inflated because of many non-buyers. Remedies to this modeling challenge are incorporated in the proposed revenue uplift strategies in the form of two-stage models. Empirical experiments using real-world e-commerce data confirm the merits of the proposed revenue uplift strategy over relevant alternatives including uplift models for conver-sion and recently developed causal machine learning algorithms. To quantify the degree to which improved targeting decisions raise return on marketing, the paper develops a decomposition of campaign profit. Applying the decomposition to a digital coupon targeting campaign, the paper provides evidence that revenue uplift modeling, as well as causal machine learning, can improve cam-paign profit substantially.
Recommender systems are personalized information access applications; they are ubiquitous in today's online environment, and effective at finding items that meet user needs and tastes. As the reach of recommender systems has extended, it has become apparent that the single-minded focus on the user common to academic research has obscured other important aspects of recommendation outcomes. Properties such as fairness, balance, profitability, and reciprocity are not captured by typical metrics for recommender system evaluation. The concept of multistakeholder recommendation has emerged as a unifying framework for describing and understanding recommendation settings where the end user is not the sole focus. This article describes the origins of multistakeholder recommendation, and the landscape of system designs. It provides illustrative examples of current research, as well as outlining open questions and research directions for the field.
Multi-armed bandits a simple but very powerful framework for algorithms that make decisions over time under uncertainty. An enormous body of work has accumulated over the years, covered in several books and surveys. This book provides a more introductory, textbook-like treatment of the subject. Each chapter tackles a particular line of work, providing a self-contained, teachable technical introduction and a review of the more advanced results. The chapters are as follows: Stochastic bandits; Lower bounds; Bayesian Bandits and Thompson Sampling; Lipschitz Bandits; Full Feedback and Adversarial Costs; Adversarial Bandits; Linear Costs and Semi-bandits; Contextual Bandits; Bandits and Zero-Sum Games; Bandits with Knapsacks; Incentivized Exploration and Connections to Mechanism Design.