Boost attributes in search results
Bloomreach automatically ranks products in search results, continually changing their order to personalize and optimize content for your customers. Sometimes, you might want to manually adjust this ranking. If there are specific products that you want to boost or bury in search results, then Boost and position lock your first product walks you through the process.
Alternately, you might like to boost or bury multiple products all at once by ranking specific attributes, which is what we're discussing here. The process is similar to ranking specific products so you might want to be comfortable with the steps for hard boosting a product first, but it's not necessary.
What's the difference between attribute ranking and product ranking?
Both types of ranking rules boost and bury products. Product ranking is precise because you select specific products to boost and bury. Attribute ranking is powerful because you select characteristics that can apply to multiple products. For example, you can decide to boost all items with the color attribute "blue".
The specific ranking among products boosted or buried by attribute is determined by the default Bloomreach ranking algorithm, but you can use both of these types of rules to support promotions or otherwise optimize the ranking of products in search results.
What happens if one rule boosts an attribute while another rule buries it?
If there are conflicts between a boost rule and a bury rule, then the bury rule takes precedence and the products are buried.
For example, Good Form's merchandiser, Fatima, has a rule that buries products with the attribute, Sleeves, set to Long for search results for summer camp uniforms. The Varsity Pep promotion includes long-sleeve warmup tops. When a customer searches the Good Form site for cheerleader uniforms for summer camp, the bury rule overrides the Varsity Pep boost rule, putting Varsity Pep brand long-sleeve warmup tops at the bottom of search results.
Fatima decides that this resolution is fine because customers looking for summer camp uniforms aren't usually interested in tops with long sleeves. Even though Good Form is promoting all Varsity Pep products, those long-sleeve warmup tops are clutter in results for summer camp uniforms. The apparent conflict between Fatima's new Varsity Pep boost rule and the existing long-sleeve bury rule resolves perfectly.
How do I create a product attribute ranking rule?
Start the same way as you do for a product ranking rule, especially planning your rule. In the Bloomreach Dashboard, you start at the Ranking page and click the Add New Search Term Rule button to open the Boost and Bury tool. But instead of confirming that the Search by value is set to Product, switch the value to Attribute. Then, select Product Description Attributes to create a rule for product attributes. You'll also see Numeric Attributes as a choice. We'll talk more about that in the "How do I create a numeric attribute ranking rule?" section.
Select product attribute values
Now you select the attribute values that you want to boost or bury. Technically, you're creating attribute-value pairs. That means that you're selecting the specific characteristics that describe the products you want to boost or bury. For example, color is an attribute, and blue is one of its values. The attribute-value pairs available to you come from your product feed, which is a file that contains all of the products and fields in your site's product catalog. If you can't find attributes and values that you expect, then contact your Bloomreach CSM for help.
What is a numeric attribute?
Numeric attributes are continuous values that can be incorporated into the Bloomreach algorithm. Currently, only soft boost is supported for numeric attributes. With the ability to boost on numeric attributes, Bloomreach allows merchandisers to incorporate data from other sources (not available to BR via pixel) such as offline revenue, margin, inventory into the ranking algorithms to further optimize the site. The ranking of soft boosted products is not guaranteed. This is because the soft boost signal competes with signals used in the algorithm (user behavior, semantics, personalization). If a product isn't performing well, it will move down on the page even if soft boosted by a rule set prior. Creating a rule by numeric attribute is powerful because Bloomreach can utilize the signals these metrics give and incorporate them into the ranking algorithm.
For most use cases, the boost should be within the range of 0-25. Queries/Categories with a lot of user behavior data will require a greater strength to trump.
- Product description attribute vs. Numeric attribute boosting: In the case of categorical variables, the boost applied to all products will be the same. E.g. if you are soft boosting products where brand = "Gucci" by a strength of 10, then all "Gucci" products will be given the same boost of 10. Conversely, if you give a soft boost of strength 10 to a numeric attribute like margin - then products with a higher margin will get a higher boost than products with a lower margin (all else being equal). So a product with margin of "8.5" would get boosted less than a product with margin of "35.2" at a boost strength of 10.
How do I create a numeric attribute ranking rule?
Start the same way as you do for a product ranking rule, especially planning your rule. In the Bloomreach Dashboard, you start at the Ranking page and click the Add New Search Term Rule button to open the Boost and Bury tool. But instead of confirming that the Search by value is set to Product, switch the value to Attribute. Then, select Numeric Attributes to create a rule for product attributes.
Select numeric attribute values
Now you select the numeric values that you want to boost or bury. In order to soft boost by numeric attributes, the attribute needs to be configured as a numeric value during feed processing. Note that we cannot use "dates" for numeric soft boost - it needs to be a number. A common use case is boosting based on newness using the product launch date. In such a case, contact the Bloomreach Support team to help convert a date into a number. All other numeric attributes (eg: profitability, margin, inventory) must also only contain numeric values.
Select a ranking option
As you select attribute-value pairs, use the dropdown above the attribute list to apply ranking to each pair. While we usually talk about boosting and burying product/numeric attributes, you can also include and exclude them.
- Boost moves products closer to the top of results.
- Bury moves products closer to the bottom.
- Include makes sure that only certain products with the selected attributes appear in results.
- Exclude makes sure that certain products with the selected attributes never appear in results.
Products with attributes that match your attribute-value pairs appear in the preview on the right side of the page. You can also drag them into the order that you want. It's typically easier to first use the dropdown list for each attribute-value pair because the Bloomreach Dashboard can move products very quickly on its own. Then you only have to manually click and drag the products that aren't exactly where you want them.
Set search terms
Just as you did when you boosted your first product, enter the search queries that you want to trigger your attribute rule. These are the terms or categories that your customers enter when they search for products are your site. Separate queries with a comma.
Set the duration
The Duration checkbox is clicked by default. Unless you want your attribute ranking rule to remain in effect as soon as you enable it, click the Duration field to open a calendar picker. Specify a start and stop time.
Alternately, you can clear the Duration checkbox to keep the rule in effect until you manually disable it.
The last steps are to preview search results that trigger your new rule, save it, and enable it. You take care of these steps the same way you did when you boosted your first product.
Boost a product on a set of sites
Ezra is a digital merchandiser at Benjamin Office, a retail site for office supplies. He wants to boost the product, Very Shiny All-Purpose Surface Cleaner, on two versions of the Benjamin Office site. These two versions are in a group called group-1.
He starts by selecting group-1 from the from the dropdown list in the upper right corner of the Bloomreach Dashboard.
Ezra opens the Ranking page, which is the same starting point that single-version sites use: Configurations → Settings → Ranking Configurations. He clicks the Add Rule button and proceeds the same way as for a single version site with a few exceptions:
- He can check the Influence marker in the Product Grid view to confirm that he's making changing to the site or group that he wants.
- He can select a site from the Site Context dropdown list when he previews how his rule affects a specific site within the group of versions (group-1).
If you have a long list of site versions or groups of site version, then you might find it easier to find the site or group with the search box rather than scrolling through the list.