Accepted Papers

Uncovering the Co-driven Mechanism of Social and Content Links in User Churn Phenomena

Yunfei Lu, Linyun Yu, Peng Cui, Chengxi Zang, Renzhe Xu, Yihao Liu, Lei Li and Wenwu Zhu


Recent years witness the merge of social networks and user-generated content (UGC) platforms. In these new platforms, users establish links to others not only driven by their social relationships in the physical world but also driven by the contents published by others. During this merging process, social networks gradually integrate both social and content links and become unprecedentedly complicated, with the motivation to exploit both the advantages of social viscosity and content attractiveness to reach the best customer retention situation. However, due to the lack of fine-grained data recording such merging phenomena, the co-driven mechanism of social and content links in churn remains unexplored. How do social and content factors jointly influence customers’ churn? What is the best ratio of social and content links for retention? Is there a model to capture this co-driven mechanism in churn phenomena? In this paper, we collect a real-world dataset with more than 5.77 million users and 1.15 billion links, with each link being tagged as a social one or a content one. We find that both social and content links have a significant impact on users’ churn and they work jointly as a complicated mixture effect. As a result, we propose a novel survival model, which incorporates both social and content factors, to predict churn probability over time. Our model successfully fits the churn distribution in reality and accurately predicts the churn rate of different subpopulations in the future. By analyzing the modeling parameters, we try to strike a balance between social-driven and content-driven links in a user’s social network to reach the lowest churn rate. Our model and findings may have potential implications for the design of future social media.

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