Whether it’s testing ad copy or finding the best targeting technique, marketers rely on analytics to maximize results and supercharge campaigns. Chances are, you’re already using analytics to drive more product sales on your site and across marketing channels.
However, did you know that analytics and performance metrics are not only useful for optimizing your online shop and campaigns? They’re also great for your product catalog.
In short: the metrics you already know and love, and use every day, are also the backbone of feed-based marketing.
That’s why it’s time we put the same amount of effort into optimizing product feeds as the rest of our campaigns. Analytics data shouldn’t be kept in silos; it should be used to plan keywords, perfect product titles and descriptions, and ultimately drive product sales.
In the past this work was always manual - but that’s changing
There are two ways to leverage analytics during your feed optimization processes: manually or through automation. In the past, this has always been done manually, as tools for automation and simplification did not yet exist. Many companies also continue to do this work manually. This means a marketer must personally go through each piece of data and compare one product to another, locating each winning product or area for optimization. Realistically this takes hours to weeks or even months of time, depending on the size of a catalog. This manual upkeep will also usually require help from IT or other non-marketing departments.
Now there are solutions available that turn this “manual task” into a well-oiled performance marketing tool. That means marketers can use metrics and keywords to create rules that automatically optimize product data and distribution. While reading these tips, keep in mind exactly what kind of processes are available to you. This will help you determine how long each step will take and where you should put your efforts first.
Now, let’s walk through the ways you can get analytics data out of those silos and start using it to optimize your product feed.
Part I: Determine which products to focus on for optimization
There are several metrics and data points you’ll want to know in order to understand which products you should promote. Chances are, you’re already doing this kind of research on a regular basis. In fact, every time you try to define an ideal demographic, identify the number of touchpoints, or understand the customer’s decision making process, you’re doing just this. You want to pair the right product with the right audience at the right moment.
Now let’s add more product-specific insights to your processes, so we can supercharge your feed-based marketing.
1. Identify low quality titles and images using Click-through Rates (CTRs)
Products with low click-through rates likely suffer from one of two problems: they are being targeted to the wrong audience or they use terms and imagery that don’t inspire the user. CTRs (or numbers used to find the CTR) are generally located on the specific platform where your products are listed. For example, Google Ads will track CTR, and the Facebook tracking pixel can be used to enable conversion tracking. Note that, if you’re using feed management software like Productsup, you may also be importing this data directly into your management platform.
Once you locate poor performers, check their titles and images. Copy should be cleansed and free from errors. Next, check the keywords and phrases used. They should include the terms that are used by your target audience in real world searches (more on this in #3). Be sure these are keywords a shopper will identify with. For example, someone looking for a blue dress won’t necessarily connect with “cerulean gown.” “Blue dress” might just be the most accessible keyword in some cases. Let the numbers determine your actions.
2. Locate problem product ads and pages using conversion and bounce rates
High bounce rates indicate that shoppers are interested in the listing or ad enough to click on the product. However, a disconnect then occurs, and they do not complete the purchase. This is a likely sign that expectations created by the product’s title and image did not match the product information displayed on the page.
In this case, you’ll need to check the product information on the page itself.
- Is it all complete, compelling, and on-brand?
- Is it consistent with the ad title?
- Are you able to add additional (non-required) product information? Shoppers rely on this data in order to make an informed decision.
- Are your product and ad images powerful and channel-appropriate? For example, images on Facebook should be emotive and spark interest. Depending on the channel, additional images from different angles and action shots can also make the product page more compelling.
3. Use search query tools to determine which products to boost and emphasize
What were users searching for that brought them to your page or triggered an ad? Products related to these terms are more likely to resonate with users, so you should consider giving them a visibility and bidding boost. Where possible, products related to these searches should also be considered for promotions, as deals influence some 82% of consumers.
Here are some of the most interesting places to find key search terms and insights:
- Search Queries
- Search Terms report
- Internal search queries
- Keyword Planner
- If you’re feeling motivated, you can also try using other tools, like Keywords Everywhere, to perform further research
To get going, let’s start by scanning the search terms report in Google Ads. This can show exactly what search terms browsers are using that brought them to your products. Use these to define which products to focus your energy (and ad dollars) on across all your channels, especially on channels where you pay for views and clicks. Next, you can use these same tools to drive performance, which brings us to tip #4…
Part II: Increase performance and drive more product sales
Now that you’ve compiled a lot of background information about product performance and powerful keywords, it’s time to start applying changes to your feed and optimizing. This is in large part done by improving product copy in titles and descriptions. However, there are also a couple of other very interesting options unique to feed-based advertising. If you want to drive product sales on a competitive scale, you'll want to get comfortable with the tools of the trade.
4. Use ROAS or ROI to generate custom labels
Not all products will perform well on every channel. This is totally normal. You’ll just need to find a smart way to group and segment products based on their real-world performance on different channels. Custom labels are one of the most creative and popular ways to do just that. They allow you to group products according to whatever topic you want: for example, season, price point, or best sellers. Whatever metric or label will help you manage your data, you can leverage it here. Plus, this can help make your campaigns more automated, as you no longer need to personally go through every product to locate top performers.
Try taking your ROI or ROAS data (or anything else, like CPC or total sales) and using it to inspire your custom label strategy. For example, group products with high returns, so you know where to focus your marketing efforts. Highlight low returns so it’s clear where you may want to scale back.
Example custom label usage:
- If tracking clicks > 200 AND if orders < 5 → apply Custom label for “Poor performer”
- If tracking clicks > 200 AND if orders > 50 → apply Custom label for “Top performer”
|*Read more about custom labels (and awesome strategies for grouping products and appealing to audiences!)* *here*.|
Once you’ve applied the labels, you can start integrating them into your campaign. For example, increasing bids for those with high ROAS or even focusing attention on those with the relevant season or theme. On the other hand, you may choose to remove those products entirely from your campaigns, which brings us to our next option…
5. Use metrics to segment and remove poor performing products
In order to simplify campaigns, you may want to remove some products from the feed completely before export. The key will be identifying these products and determining whether you can help boost their returns. When that’s not possible, removal may be necessary.
Start by looking into the product information and product page. Perhaps there are optimizations or changes that need to occur here, and then the product will perform better. However, if the problem continues, the issue may not be your data. It may be that the product is not right for the channel. In this case, you should consider segmenting losing products or removing them from your feed.
For example: If CPO > 10 → remove product from Facebook export
Use ROI and ROAS to determine which products to segment into winners and poor performers. This should be done by channel, as each channel will represent a different audience with different needs. Custom labels may also come in handy here.
6. Enhance titles and feed attributes with search queries and keywords
If 100 customers are searching for “modular gaming headsets,” you wouldn’t want a related product to be described only as “configurable headphones.” Be sure your titles and descriptions are informed by the keywords users use in real life.
The most relevant terms, or those that are top performers, should be included in product titles, preferably in the first 2-3 words. However, do continue to aim for user-friendly titles that portray the product in a complete, understandable way, rather than a list of keywords. Use tools listed in tip #3 to get started.
7. Locate your most competitive products through pricing data
Price is one of the most important data points for shoppers. While marketers can’t change product prices, they can use prices to inform their advertising strategy. Start by adding information about your competitor’s prices to your feed management process.
For example, Productsup can integrate data for PriceAPI customers; this allows businesses to see how their current product prices compare with competitors. However, even if you can’t completely automate this step, take note of the products that are the most and least competitive.
Most likely, you’ll want to increase bidding (and optimization efforts) on those with more attractive price points, and decrease efforts on the less attractive products. Consider taking a deep dive into the analytics and opportunities of product ads and pages related to the most valuable products.
8. Schedule feed uploads to follow high traffic times
Brick-and-mortar marketers tend to change their bidding based on the hour of the day. For example, would you spend as much money to run ads for a local artisan coffee shop at 3AM as you would at 9AM? Probably not. This is because people aren’t “on” 24/7. They shop in patterns and at certain hours. This holds true in ecommerce. So how can this affect your feed?
Products that are sold out or have new information are always a problem. However, you can stay on top of this by pinpointing the times, hours, or days, when this occurs. This is especially true if you have fast-moving goods or products that often sell out. In such cases, consider scheduling feed uploads and refreshes before and during these busy times. So, the next time a group of rush hour or holiday shoppers are checking out your products, you’ll be ready.
Don’t forget about the season too! Especially during all of the holiday shopping season, most marketers in most countries are going to need to be more on top of updating their feeds.
9. Define and analyze different markets through location data
Customers across one country, state, or city will always share similarities. Generally, they’ll enjoy certain products or be predisposed to certain actions. But they won’t all be the exact same. In reality, groups will vary from one postal code to the next. While it’s not possible (at this point in time) to tailor every piece of messaging down to the neighborhood-level, you may find that certain areas are extreme hotspots while others are dead zones.
Zoom in and analyze sales and costs by area. Start small, going one step further than your usual. For example, if you’re always targeting whole countries, try looking into different cities. If you’re focusing on cities, try looking at different locations within the city. If anywhere sticks out a strong winner or loser, consider whether that area should get special attention or its own feed. On the other hand, if there are areas where you’re already using unique feeds, these are also great opportunities to try varied feeds. For example, a crowded shopping metropolis or high fashion street might benefit from very different messaging than a suburban school area.
Part III: Optimize analytics implementation with feed management software to really drive product sales
Modern marketers need bulk editing and automation to stay competitive. Luckily, staying on top of your product feeds and optimizing for feed-based marketing opportunities has never been easier - thanks to Productsup.
Productsup is a powerful feed management solution to help you not only make smart optimizations but also reach new audiences, stay agile, and ultimately drive product sales up.
How does it work?
You can either track users’ actions on your site directly or upload a file of analytics straight to our platform. Whether you want Google Analytics, Webtrekk, or DoubleClick, we’ve got you covered.
Start by preparing and importing a feed containing your analytics data. You can also schedule this to be regularly uploaded for use in the Productsup platform. This data can be used within the ROI Strategy tool to automatically locate and set actions for products based on data points.
You can use rules to easily and uniquely bulk edit your product feed. For example:
- If CPO > 10, remove product from Facebook export
- If tracking clicks > 200 AND if orders < 5, apply custom label
- Create custom reports about performance that can then be used as analytics feeds
With all of these capabilities, you’ll find that product feeds couldn’t be more powerful or channel-ready. That means you have time to devote to other tasks or optimizing products at a much higher level, going above and beyond the average. If you want to drive more product sales with your feed-based advertising and efforts, let us show you around Productsup.