Relational click prediction for sponsored search

This paper is concerned with the prediction of clicking an ad in sponsored search. The accurate prediction of user's click on an ad plays an important role in sponsored search, because it is widely used in both ranking and pricing of the ads. Previous work on click prediction usually takes a single ad as input, and ignores its relationship to the other ads shown in the same page. This independence assumption here, however, might not be valid in the real scenario. In this paper, we first perform an analysis on this issue by looking at the click-through rates (CTR) of the same ad, in the same position and for the same query, but surrounded by different ads. We found that in most cases the CTR varies largely, which suggests that the relationship between ads is really an important factor in predicting click probability. Furthermore, our investigation shows that the more similar the surrounding ads are to an ad, the lower the CTR of the ad is. Based on this observation, we design a continuous conditional random fields (CRF) based model for click prediction, which considers both the features of an ad and its similarity to the surrounding ads. We show that the model can be effectively learned using maximum likelihood estimation, and can also be efficiently inferred due to its closed form solution. Our experimental results on the click-through log from a commercial search engine show that the proposed model can predict clicks more accurately than previous independent models. To our best knowledge this is the first work that predicts ad clicks by considering the relationship between ads.

In  WSDM '12 Proceedings of the fifth ACM international conference on Web search and data mining

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