In this dissertation, we study three link formation problems in mobile and economic networks: (i) company matching for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) network in the high-technology (high-tech) industry, (ii) mobile application (app) matching for cross-promotion network in mobile app markets, and (iii) online friendship formation in mobile social networks. Each problem can be modeled as link formation problem in a graph, where nodes represent independent entities (e.g., companies, apps, users) and edges represent interactions (e.g., transactions, promotions, friendships) among the nodes.
First, we propose a new data-analytic approach to measure firms’ dyadic business proximity to analyze M&A network in the high-tech industry. Specifically, our method analyzes the unstructured texts that describe firms’ businesses using latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) topic modeling, and constructs a novel business proximity measure based on the output. Using CrunchBase data including 24,382 high-tech companies and 1,689 M&A transactions, we empirically validate our business proximity measure in the context of industry intelligence and show the measure’s effectiveness in an application of M&A network analysis. Based on the research, we build a cloud-based information system to facilitate competitive intelligence on the high-tech industry.
Second, we analyze mobile app matching for cross promotion network in mobile app markets. Cross promotion (CP) is a new app promotion framework, in which a mobile app is promoted to the users of another app. Using IGAWorks data covering 1,011 CP campaigns, 325 apps, and 301,183 users, we evaluate the effectiveness of CP campaigns in comparison with existing ad channels such as mobile display ads. While CP campaigns, on average, are still suboptimal as compared with display ads, we find evidence that a careful matching of mobile apps can significantly improve the effectiveness of CP campaigns. Our empirical results show that app similarity, measured by LDA from apps’ text descriptions, is a significant factor that increases the user engagement in CP campaigns. With this observation, we propose an app matching mechanism for the CP network to improve the ad effectiveness.
Third, we study friendship network formation in a location-based social network. We build a structural model of social link creation that incorporates individual characteristics and pairwise user similarities. Specifically, we define four user proximity measures from biography, geography, mobility, and short messages (i.e., tweets). To construct proximity from unstructured text information, we build LDA topic models of user biography texts and tweets. Using Gowalla data with 385,306 users, three million locations, and 35 million check-in records, we empirically estimate the structural model to find evidence on the homophily effect in network formation.