Search is a highly effective tool for driving results, be it sales, leads or other unique “goal” actions. Often times, we focus on a single goal action – such as “drive more sales.” This has become standard practice in our industry.
We set up, manage, and optimize campaigns against maximizing the goal activity. But as marketers become more evolved, we are often tasked with accomplishing multiple goals, such as driving sales and obtaining newsletter sign-ups.
We’ve heard it before, “my sales are good, but nobody is opting in to our email list. What can you do to drive sign-ups?”
While search does drive multiple actions, and these actions do occur even as we optimize to sales performance, the challenge comes when we're charged with optimizing performance against multiple goals.
Historically, as search marketers we like to manage to a single optimization point. This is because it’s readily available to see how individual keywords perform against a specific action and we can optimize bids up and down in order to maximize performance.
As search marketers, we actually need a single optimization point by which to optimize against. We need to know if a keyword is performing at desired levels or not so we may optimize our bids accordingly.
But how do we optimize a keyword towards multiple goals? What do we do when a keyword converts well for one action (such as sales) but poorly for a second goal (such as newsletter sign-ups)? We’re in a quandary because we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
The answer is a Blended Action Model or BAM! The Blended Action Model creates a keyword score by which to optimize keyword level performance against by assessing the value of each goal action we want consumers to take.
Below are the steps you can take to create a blended action model for your campaigns, and begin maximizing your dollars towards multiple actions.
Step 1: Tag Your Actions with Analytics Tags
You’ve probably done this and it goes without saying, but you can’t optimize unless you have visibility into what is happening on your site.
Step 2: Rank the Actions in Priority Order & Assign the Relative Value of Each
If you have four goal actions, it’s likely some actions are more important. Is driving sales of utmost importance, and Facebook likes are nice to have, but least important? Once you have ranked each action, you can assign each action's “relative value” against each other. For example:
- Sales conversions are five times as valuable as Store Locator views
- Store Locator Views are twice as valuable as a newsletter sign-ups
- Newsletter Sign-ups are three times as valuable as a Facebook Like
Step 3: Calculate Your Keyword Score
This step provides a numeric score based upon each action’s relative value against each other and becomes the basis by which keywords are optimized.
- Multiply the actual number of each actions by the priority factor above.
- Calculate the total actual actions and the total blended actions.
- Subtract the actual action total from the blended action total and divide by the actual action total. This will give you your keyword index score.
- Calculate the Cost Per Blended Event by dividing the index score by your cost.
Step 4: Determine your average cost per blended event
Rank your keywords by CPBE (cost per blended event) to determine where the mean or average lies. In general, all keywords above the average are good performers and all keywords under the average are low performers. Another option is to determine a target CPBE by which to optimize the campaign towards.
You now can determine if a keyword is valuable regardless of which action(s) the keyword produces by applying a value score to each action and calculating just how many lower value actions equal a single higher value action for the purpose optimizing your campaign.