Multi-Level Deep Cascade Trees for Conversion Rate Prediction in Recommendation System

Developing effective and efficient recommendation methods is very challenging for modern e-commerce platforms. Generally speaking, two essential modules named "Click-Through Rate Prediction" (\textit{CTR}) and "Conversion Rate Prediction" (\textit{CVR}) are included, where \textit{CVR} module is a crucial factor that affects the final purchasing volume directly. However, it is indeed very challenging due to its sparseness nature. In this paper, we tackle this problem by proposing multi-Level Deep Cascade Trees (\textit{ldcTree}), which is a novel decision tree ensemble approach. It leverages deep cascade structures by stacking Gradient Boosting Decision Trees (\textit{GBDT}) to effectively learn feature representation. In addition, we propose to utilize the cross-entropy in each tree of the preceding \textit{GBDT} as the input feature representation for next level \textit{GBDT}, which has a clear explanation, i.e., a traversal from root to leaf nodes in the next level \textit{GBDT} corresponds to the combination of certain traversals in the preceding \textit{GBDT}. The deep cascade structure and the combination rule enable the proposed \textit{ldcTree} to have a stronger distributed feature representation ability. Moreover, inspired by ensemble learning, we propose an Ensemble \textit{ldcTree} (\textit{E-ldcTree}) to encourage the model's diversity and enhance the representation ability further. Finally, we propose an improved Feature learning method based on \textit{EldcTree} (\textit{F-EldcTree}) for taking adequate use of weak and strong correlation features identified by pre-trained \textit{GBDT} models. Experimental results on off-line data set and online deployment demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed methods.

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