Implementing a machine learning model for ranking in an ecommerce search requires a well-designed approach to how the target metric is defined. In our team we validate our target metrics with online tests on live traffic. This requires both long preparation times and long enough runtimes to yield valid results. Having to choose only a few candidates for the next A/B test is hard and slows us down significantly. So what if we had a way to evaluate the candidates beforehand to make a more informed decision?
We came up with an approach to predict how a certain ranking will perform in an onsite test. We leverage historic user interaction data from search events and try to correlate them with ranking metrics like NDCG. This gives us insights on how well the ranking meets the user intent. This is not meant to be a replacement for a real A/B test, but allows us to narrow down the field of candidates to a manageable number. In this talk we will share our approach to offline ranking validation and how it performed in practice.
Here is a video recording of the Berlin Buzzword from June 12, 2022 with the talk by Andrea and Yunus: