The classification and recommendation system for identifying social networking site (SNS) users’ interests plays a critical role in various industries, particularly advertising. Personalized advertisements help brands stand out from the clutter of online advertisements while enhancing relevance to consumers to generate favorable responses. Although most user interest classification studies have focused on textual data, the combined analysis of images and texts on user-generated posts can more precisely predict a consumer’s interests. Therefore, this research classifies SNS users’ interests by utilizing both texts and images. Consumers’ interests were defined using the Curlie directory, and various convolutional neural network (CNN)-based models and recurrent neural network (RNN)-based models were tested for our user interest classification system. In our hybrid neural network (NN) model, CNN-based classification models were used to classify images from users’ SNS postings while RNN-based classification models were used to classify textual data. The results of our extensive experiments show that the classification of users’ interests performed best when using texts and images together, at 96.55%, versus texts only, 41.38%, or images only, 93.1%. Our proposed system provides insights into personalized SNS advertising research and informs marketers on making (1) interest-based recommendations, (2) ranked-order recommendations, and (3) real-time recommendations.
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