Contextual Multi-Armed Bandits for Causal Marketing [article]

Neela Sawant, Chitti Babu Namballa, Narayanan Sadagopan, Houssam Nassif
2018 arXiv   pre-print
This work explores the idea of a causal contextual multi-armed bandit approach to automated marketing, where we estimate and optimize the causal (incremental) effects. Focusing on causal effect leads to better return on investment (ROI) by targeting only the persuadable customers who wouldn't have taken the action organically. Our approach draws on strengths of causal inference, uplift modeling, and multi-armed bandits. It optimizes on causal treatment effects rather than pure outcome, and
more » ... porates counterfactual generation within data collection. Following uplift modeling results, we optimize over the incremental business metric. Multi-armed bandit methods allow us to scale to multiple treatments and to perform off-policy policy evaluation on logged data. The Thompson sampling strategy in particular enables exploration of treatments on similar customer contexts and materialization of counterfactual outcomes. Preliminary offline experiments on a retail Fashion marketing dataset show merits of our proposal.
arXiv:1810.01859v1 fatcat:ixqhpj2wkzextkxq2d4oj7jdgy