Content Recommendation for Viral Social Influence Full text

Konstantinos Theocharidis , Manolis Terrovitis , Panagiotis Karras
SIGIR 2017: 565-574

How do we create content that will become viral in a whole network after we share it with friends or followers? Significant research activity has been dedicated to the problem of strategically selecting a seed set of initial adopters so as to maximize a meme's spread in a network. This line of work assumes that the success of such a campaign depends solely on the choice of a tunable seed set of adopters, while the way users perceive the propagated meme is fixed. Yet, in many real-world settings, the opposite holds: a meme's propagation depends on users' perceptions of its tunable characteristics, while the set of initiators is fixed.

In this paper, we address the natural problem that arises in such circumstances: Suggest content, expressed as a limited set of attributes, for a creative promotion campaign that starts out from a given seed set of initiators, so as to maximize its expected spread over a social network. To our knowledge, no previous work addresses this problem. We find that the problem is NP-hard and inapproximable. As a tight approximation guarantee is not admissible, we design an efficient heuristic, Explore-Update, as well as a conventional Greedy solution. Our experimental evaluation demonstrates that Explore-Update selects near-optimal attribute sets with real data, achieves 30% higher spread than baselines, and runs an order of magnitude faster than the Greedy solution.