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Real-time User Generated Content Personalization for a Global Entertainment Giant

9GAG is a global cross-platform entertainment network with 200+ million audiences worldwide. Ranked #1 in cross-platform video creation in the US, 9GAG distributes 8.4 billion video views and 3.5 billion page views monthly through all platforms.

Recombee's smart content recommendations helped 9GAG to fully personalize their homepage infinite scroll to increase multiple KPIs, including post views, the overall number of interactions, and total session duration of all users.

Recombee's recommender engine brought a significant increase also in user engagement as well as overall satisfaction.

Download Case Study (PDF)
37%
Increase in post views
22%
More of overall interactions
7.5%
Higher users’ session duration
2.8%
Increase in the number of visits

Situation

  • Hundreds of millions of monthly post views and other interactions
  • Millions of heavy users visiting the site very frequently, always looking for something new
  • Huge catalog of continuously growing user-generated content
  • In-house recommender system for personalized feeds

Requirements

  • A solution capable of replacing the current Home infinite feed under high traffic and minimal response time
  • Instant recommendation of newly added posts
  • Comprehensive set of business requirements to ensure compatibility with the current feed
  • Incremental model learning with constantly incoming interaction, text, and image data
  • Ensuring that every user sees a brand new feed whenever they return to the page

Solution

Complex and diverse ensemble of incrementally-trained recommendation models.

Collaborative Filtering

Content-Based

  • Utilizing latest deep-learning approaches
  • NLP of titles and meme OCRs
  • Image processing of both static memes and sampled video frames

Reinforcement Learning (Contextual Bandits)

Development of a custom recommendation logic that exactly matches 9GAG’s product vision and expectations.

Optimization for multiple complex user engagement KPIs including the number of interactions, total visits, total session duration, retention rate, and other metrics.

Delivery of recommendations in 50ms on average.

Challenges of the User-Generated Content

Users are continuously adding new posts to 9GAG's platform, so to achieve high-quality personalization, the recommendation system must be able to process them instantly.

Newly added posts must gain immediate traction by being recommended to the right users through either similarity of visual/textual content or first interactions received.

Traditional recommender systems that utilize a standalone "model training phase" cannot handle such situation well, because when the batch training of traditional recsys model is finished, the model is already obsolete.

Recombee's unique technology of online and incremental model training is designed to ensure smooth personalization for huge and ever-growing catalogs.

In combination with reinforcement learning, Recombee can also identify and promote "hidden gems", which is critical for any social network.

Infinite Scroll Personalization

To let its users flow through the extensive amount of continuously growing content with no boundaries, 9GAG deployed Recombee's Infinite Scroll.

The feature allows users to infinitely scroll through auto-generated recommendations without switching to new tabs, providing the infinite feed for any screen width and autoloading the personalized recommendations in real-time on a mere scroll.

  • Continuous delivery of personalized content as users scroll down
  • Bottomless browsing experience with automated feed
  • Great user experience, especially for touchscreens on e.g., mobile devices

Benefits & Results

Home Feed Interactions

+22% More Overall

+37% Post Views

+15% Post Saves

+5% Post Shares

+14% Post Upvotes

-4% Post Downvotes

Home Feed Sessions

+3% Number of Sessions

+7.5% Total Session Duration of all Users

+4% Average Session Duration

Sitewise Visits

+2.8% Number of Total Visits

+1.5% Number of Unique Visitors

User Engagement

  • More Clicks, Comments, Upvotes
  • Less Downvotes
  • Longer Sessions

User Retention

  • More Visiting Users
  • Increased Frequency of Visits
  • Higher Total Time Spent

Scenarios

“Hot Feed” (“Home Feed”)

Recombee was tested in an extensive A/B test directly on the user's Home feed, which is the main place where users consume most content.

The A/B test ran for over 50 days and looked at a range of metrics, including those measuring the long-term impact of Recombee on the Home feed.

Recombee has been convincingly proven to optimize not only immediate engagement (CTR, upvotes, session duration) but also long-term user retention and frequency of visits.

Based on the test results, Recombee now powers 100% of the Home feeds of all registered users.

“Daily traffic to the 9GAG site amounts to hundreds of millions of users worldwide. To provide a unique user experience for each and every one of them, we needed to implement a recommendation system that would allow for the most advanced, real-time personalization of their experience. So we chose Recombee. Thanks to their solution, we managed to increase, among other KPIs, post views by 37%, overall interactions by 22%, and users’ session duration by 7.5%. With Recombee, we've taken engagement with user-generated content to the next level.”

Kristie Chen
Product Head at 9GAG
9GAG

About 9GAG

The Largest Meme Community

9GAG started in 2008 as a site for hosting and distributing funny pictures and videos. Back then, social networks like Facebook or Twitter were on the rise, and people would use them to share the user-generated content they found on 9GAG.

9GAG introduced the revolutionary infinite scroll in 2012.

Today, the global entertainment giant has more than 40 million registered users worldwide, making it the largest meme community on the internet.

Visit 9GAG