Did We Get It Right? Predicting Query Performance in E-Commerce Search

Rohan Kumar, Mohit Kumar, Neil Shah, Christos Faloutsos
Event SIGIR eCom 2018
Research Areas Data Mining, Natural Language Processing

Abstract: In this paper, we address the problem of evaluating whether results served by an e-commerce search engine for a query are good or not. This is a critical question in evaluating any e-commerce search engine. While this question is traditionally answered using simple metrics like query click-through rate (CTR), we observe that in ecommerce search, such metrics can be misleading. Upon inspection, we find cases where CTR is high but the results are poor and vice versa. Similar cases exist for other metrics like time to click which are often also used for evaluating search engines.

We aim to learn the quality of the results served by the search engine based on users’ interactions with the results. Although this problem has been studied in the web search context, this is the first study for e-commerce search, to the best of our knowledge. Despite certain commonalities with evaluating web search engines, there are several major differences such as underlying reasons for search failure, and availability of rich user interaction data with products (e.g. adding a product to the cart). We study largescale user interaction logs from Flipkart’s search engine, analyze behavioral patterns and build models to classify queries based on user behavior signals. We demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of such models in accurately predicting query performance. Our classifier is able to achieve an average AUC of 0.75 on a held-out test set.