Also known as “product data feed” or simply “data feed,” a product feed is essentially a CSV, TXT, XML, or JSON file that holds the product data that marketplaces, search engines, and social commerce platforms utilize to display product listings.
In-depth product feed definition
The list of products, and their properties, are arranged in a way that allows each product to be shown, advertised, or compared in a particular way. Product images, titles, product identifiers, marketing content, and product features are often included in product feeds.
More comprehensive product feeds can consist of detailed product attributes (also called product feed specifications) such as:
- Product titles
- Titles descriptions
- Rich media content (for example, video clips advertising the product)
- Price currency
- Product ratings
- Channel-specific features (for example, Google custom labels)
- Best seller information
- Social recommendations
- Search engine marketing (SEM) information
- Product availability
Note: It takes a lot of time and effort to create a high-quality product data feeds manually. Product feed management requires work and time.
Why do you need to manage your product data feed?
Feed management tools (also known as product feed automation tools) can help manage your data feed efficiently. Data feed management improves the quality of your product data and optimizes your feed. It helps to roll out changes at scale and makes it simple to identify and address frequent hardships.
In addition to putting product information together, a tool to manage your data feeds gives you a clear picture of where errors happen on various channels in an easy way. Because it makes it simple to visualize product performance, monitoring the effectiveness of sales channels won't be as difficult. This makes it simple for you to report on what's working, what needs to be fixed, and what needs to be optimized.
Improving campaign performance is crucial to you and your organization. To improve, you need to keep testing. Your product content can be tested using techniques like A/B testing to assist you in learning what works and what doesn’t on each channel. You can make data-backed improvements that increase impressions and clicks with tangible outcomes.
Last but not least, product feed automation helps you create a seamless customer experience and increases customer satisfaction. You can process orders directly from one location and create a flawless customer experience by keeping your stock updated in real-time across multiple channels. In short, you want to show your products that include all the relevant information for your customers, updated in real-time.
What if you don’t have a strong feed management solution in place?
When operating an online store, you want to successfully promote your goods through marketing channels, shopping channels, search engines, affiliate & re-targeting networks, price comparison sites, and more. Building such a diverse omnichannel journey without the right tech stack has significant drawbacks:
- It's time-consuming: When it comes to ecommerce, time is a valuable resource, so we all prioritize our business objectives according to our free time. It takes time to launch a new channel, a new campaign for a new collection, or a significant product launch and time to realize what is and isn’t working. Making amends for mistakes is a good strategy, but we should strive for quick learning.
- Limited impressions and clicks lead to lower ROAS and higher CPC: The caliber of your data feeds impacts the effectiveness of your campaigns when you list your product catalog on ecommerce channels. A poor-quality feed gets fewer clicks and impressions. This happens because you’re missing some product types or attributes, you’re not accurately describing your products, or your titles and images don’t fully support your bidding strategy.
- Overselling and wrong orders are around the corner, ready to waste your money: Keeping orders coordinated and inventory properly managed is one of the biggest challenges for ecommerce businesses with multiple countries, channels, and warehouses in use. It frequently happens for businesses to sell items that are out of stock. Overselling impacts the entire customer experience and is difficult to manage.
- The processes to conduct manual A/B testing on your feeds are lengthy and complicated: to increase your key performance indicators, such as clicks, impressions, CTR, and ultimately ROAS, you must A/B test your feeds. However, online stores don’t have a plan for quarterly testing because testing different product types, images, titles, descriptions, and other product information takes time and involves numerous manual steps. The advantages vs. drawbacks ratio is frequently overlooked.
- You’ll have insufficient control over the digital channels: your product data needs to be accurate and relevant to your customers while also meeting the requirements of each digital channel if you want to promote your catalog through those channels successfully. Building your feeds manually is a cumbersome process, and manually managed product data is challenging to organize, navigate, and understand. You’ll overlook common mistakes and inaccuracies, and your products might completely miss an opportunity to appear.
- It’s nearly impossible to achieve high-quality granularity and accuracy: A critical success factor when selling online is being able to collect and manipulate data while taking action accordingly. When it comes to a product data feed, its analysis can be cumbersome, and slicing and dicing data (and feeds) can be complex. Segmenting and labeling products in your catalog can be challenging for many marketers, but it’s crucial for your campaigns.