I Know You'll Be Back: Interpretable New User Clustering and Churn Prediction on a Mobile Social Application

author: Carl Yang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
published: Nov. 23, 2018,   recorded: August 2018,   views: 617

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As online platforms are striving to get more users, a critical challenge is user churn, which is especially concerning for new users. In this paper, by taking the anonymous large-scale real-world data from Snapchat as an example, we develop ClusChurn, a systematic two-step framework for interpretable new user clustering and churn prediction, based on the intuition that proper user clustering can help understand and predict user churn. Therefore, ClusChurn firstly groups new users into interpretable typical clusters, based on their activities on the platform and ego-network structures. Then we design a novel deep learning pipeline based on LSTM and attention to accurately predict user churn with very limited initial behavior data, by leveraging the correlations among users’ multidimensional activities and the underlying user types. ClusChurn is also able to predict user types, which enables rapid reactions to different types of user churn. Extensive data analysis and experiments show that ClusChurn provides valuable insight into user behaviors, and achieves state-of-the-art churn prediction performance. The whole framework is deployed as a data analysis pipeline, delivering real-time data analysis and prediction results to multiple relevant teams for business intelligence uses. It is also general enough to be readily adopted by any online systems with user behavior data.

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