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Knowledge and Information Systems

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 425–452 | Cite as

Impact of query intent and search context on clickthrough behavior in sponsored search

  • Azin Ashkan
  • Charles L. A. Clarke
Regular Paper

Abstract

Implicit feedback techniques may be used for query intent detection, taking advantage of user behavior to understand their interests and preferences. In sponsored search, a primary concern is the user’s interest in purchasing or utilizing a commercial service, or what is called online commercial intent. In this paper, we develop a methodology for employing the content of search engine result pages (SERPs), along with the information obtained from query strings, to study characteristics of query intent, with a particular focus on sponsored search. Our work represents a step toward the development and evaluation of an ontology for commercial search, considering queries that reference specific products, brands, and retailers. Characteristics of query categories are studied with respect to aggregated user clickthrough behavior on advertising links. We present a model for clickthrough behavior that considers the influence of such factors as the location of ads and the rank of ads, along with query category. We evaluate our work using a large corpus of clickthrough data obtained from a major commercial search engine. In addition, the impact of query intent is studied on clickthrough rate, where a baseline model and the query intent model are compared for the purpose of calculating an expected ad clickthrough rate. Our findings suggest that query-based features, along with the content of SERPs, are effective in detecting query intent. Factors such as query category, the rank of an ad, and the total number of ads displayed on a result page relate to the context of the ad, rather than its content. We demonstrate that these context-related factors can have a major influence on expected clickthrough rate, suggesting that these factors should be taken into consideration when the performance of an ad is evaluated.

Keywords

Query intent Sponsored search Implicit feedback Clickthrough Search engine result page Log data Ad targeting 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cheriton School of Computer ScienceUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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