Ok so how does one build a recommendation engine?
For the last year I have been tweaking improving and revising my cocktail recipes website with the prime goal of driving more traffic to the site. I have certainly acheived some of that with >1500 visitors daily on most days at the moment (still not huge but really massive growth). What is noticeable though compared to my paper airplanes site is a distinct lack of loyalty in my user base. With paperairplanes.co.uk ~32% of the visits daily are from returning users but with cocktailmaking.co.uk only ~9% are.
I need to make the site better and so my first attempt is to produce a cocktail recommendation engine. Phase one of the project just released to the site and I wanted to chat about that a little bit here.
I am logging every chain of two cocktails viewed by a visitor to my site within 2hrs. My thinking is that time spent and number of clicks browsing both degrade the correlation between cocktails in a user's browse path and so two cocktails viewed back to back in a short time period are likely to be very closely related. If I observe this interaction over millions of such pairs (data I can gather in just a few months) the most correlated cocktail combos should stand out from the mix at least for the top 10% of cocktails viewed on my site. That is my thinking and I will start to share the results on here as the data gathering proceeds.
The wonders of having a website with enough traffic to make analysis interesting :)