Product feed specifications
Product feed specifications are requirements set by marketing and selling channels for how product data is formatted for their platforms.
Product feed specs: in-depth definition
Advertising and shopping channels, such as Google Shopping, Amazon, Instagram, TikTok, and eBay, all set specific guidelines for product data that businesses who sell or advertise on their platforms are required to follow. These product feed specs provide a standard for what product data is needed and how it should be formatted.
For example, a shopping channel will set product feed specs for how detailed product descriptions are, what terms are used to describe product colors, how many images should be displayed, length parameters for video content, or how size should be scaled on sizing charts. To be an approved seller on a commerce site or run shopping campaigns on a marketing channel, companies need to ensure their product data meets all of these specifications.
Why are product feed specs important?
Product feed specs play an important role for advertising and shopping channels, as well as for the businesses who need to abide by them.
For shopping channels, product feed specs ensure that consumers who use their platform have a positive experience. Considering the number of sellers a buyer may encounter while shopping on a single platform, having standardized product feed requirements gives commerce channels some control over their quality of content.
Imagine you’re a consumer shopping online. You do a quick search for “light blue mountain bike”. A long list of options pop up that you start to click through. However, you quickly notice that some of the search results aren’t quite what you were looking for. Some of the products are navy blue; some are stationary bikes. The product listings also don’t tell you much about each bike. Some of the images are blurry; some don’t specify the size. You’re likely frustrated by this experience and ready to try a different channel.
Putting product feed specs in place is how the Amazons and Walmarts of the world prevent negative experiences with their brand. By standardizing how every bike brand sets up their product feed, Amazon can ensure you get the information you’re looking for when shopping on its marketplace.
As for the brands that have to follow product feed specifications, these requirements help them meet consumer expectations and stand out from the competition. According to our Commerce shortfall report, 35% of consumers said receiving more detailed product information is one of the top factors that would entice them to shop with another brand or retailer.
Let’s go back to the bike example. This time, imagine that you’re a bike manufacturer that sells products on Amazon. To meet its channel requirements, you rearrange product title structures, add higher quality images, define all product categories, and add a few other recommended attributions. Once you adjust all of your product information accordingly, you can be confident that your bikes will appear in an optimal format for shoppers on the channel and you’ll get the most out of your listings.
Example: Google Shopping feed specifications
To help paint the picture, let’s break down the product feed specs for a specific channel: Google Shopping.
Google is the most visited website in the world, receiving more than 64 billion visitors per day, according to Semrush. This makes its shopping functionality a powerful channel for reaching consumers. But how does it remain a reliable commerce channel in the eyes of shoppers? It has strict requirements for vendor eligibility.
Businesses that want to list their products on Google Shopping need to meet the criteria listed below.
Product feeds must include the following information:
- Product ID
- Category (according to Google’s category options)
- URL that links to the product page on the original website
- URL that links to an image of the product
- Condition (such as new or gently used)
- Availability (in- or out-of-stock)
- Shipping fees and timeline
- Brand name
- Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)
- Manufacturer Part Number (MPN)
Google Shopping feed specifications for product images
Additionally, Google Shopping is one of the many advertising and selling channels that sets the bar high for product images. As ecommerce has grown and it’s become more common for people to buy products online without ever seeing them in-person first, product visuals have become increasingly important. People want to know what an item looks like – and not just from one angle. In a store, you can pick up a shoe, hold it close to your eyes to see detailed patterns, try it on to see how it looks in a mirror, turn it around to see it from the back, and so on. Companies can recreate this effect by providing multiple images taken from a variety of angles. Images should show the product on its own, as well as modeled on a person or in-use. To ensure Google ads and product listings only include high-quality images, Google Shopping has set the following guidelines:
- DON’T scale images up
- DON’T submit thumbnails
- DON’T add borders
- DON’T include watermarks or logos
- DON’T use promotional language
- DON’T use illustrations
- DO use photos of the real product
- DO show one product per image
- DO use aesthetically pleasing images
There are also more technical image requirements, like file size parameters. For Google Shopping feed specifications, product images must be a minimum of 100 x 100 pixels and a maximum of 64 megapixels. But it’s important to note that these specifications can vary for certain types of products. For instance, the minimum file image file size for clothing products listed on Google Shopping is 250 x 250 pixels.
How to keep up with product feed specifications
While there are significant upsides to product feed specifications, it’s hard to ignore the obstacles they create for businesses. Getting product data cleaned and optimized according to each channel’s shopping feed specifications can be extremely complex. Without the right strategy and tools in place, it can take companies weeks just to meet channel requirements and use up a lot of human resources.
Product-to-consumer (P2C) management is a framework designed to help simplify this process. Learn more about how a P2C strategy can help businesses gain more control over their product data to meet any channel’s product feed specifications without trouble.