Budget Allocation for Maximizing Viral Advertising in Social Networks
Journal of Computer Science and Technology
Viral advertising in social networks has arisen as one of the most promising ways to increase brand awareness and product sales. By distributing a limited budget, we can incentivize a set of users as initial adopters so that the advertising can start from the initial adopters and spread via social links to become viral. Despite extensive researches in how to target the most influential users, a key issue is often neglected: how to incentivize the initial adopters. In the problem of influence
... imization, the assumption is that each user has a fixed cost for being initial adopters, while in practice, user decisions for accepting the budget to be initial adopters are often probabilistic rather than deterministic. In this paper, we study optimal budget allocation in social networks to maximize the spread of viral advertising. In particular, a concave probability model is introduced to characterize each user's utility for being an initial adopter. Under this model, we show that it is NP-hard to find an optimal budget allocation for maximizing the spread of viral advertising. We then present a novel discrete greedy algorithm with near optimal performance, and further propose scaling-up techniques to improve the time-efficiency of our algorithm. Extensive experiments on real-world social graphs are implemented to validate the effectiveness of our algorithm in practice. The results show that our algorithm can outperform other intuitive heuristics significantly in almost all cases.