CPC Strategy has begun another series titled “What Is?” aimed to help new and experienced merchants revisit their data and optimizations strategies for being successful on comparison shopping engines (CSE’s). The first post focuses data feed quality, what it is, and how to improve it.

Data Feed Quality

Data feed quality is an integral part of any successful data feed optimization campaign.  Accurate product categorization ensures that your products are being listed in the appropriate categories and helps the engines send quality traffic to your site.  It’s easy for merchants to keep their finger on the pulse of their CSE performance metrics but if your products are miscategorized that pulse could flat-line.  Breathe new life into your campaigns by making sure your products are categorized correctly and getting quality exposure.

Each CSE is Unique

It’s essential to categorize your data feed according to each shopping engine’s unique framework.

1. Consult the latest data feed specifications before deploying the feeds for your campaigns. Each engine supports different types of data in slightly different formats.  Below are some sample data feeds and links to data feed specifications for the major CSEs.

Sample Data Feeds

Google Product Search
Shopzilla
Pricegrabber
Nextag
Shopping.com (Varies by category, see Specification Page)
Bing
Become.com
Smarter
Pronto
Amazon Product Ads

Data Feed Specifications

Google Product Search
Shopzilla
Pricegrabber
Nextag
Shopping.com
Bing
Become.com
Smarter
Pronto
Amazon Product Ads

Once you have identified the various data feed formats you can work within those parameters to optimize your data and ensure that your listings are given quality exposure.  Below are some important optimization tips to improve the quality of your data.

 

Unique Identifiers

Each shopping engine contains an internal database of MPNs, UPCs, EANs, and ISBNs that match your products to their respective categories and comparison product pages.  Include as many unique identifiers as possible to afford the shopping engines the ability to position your products in front of the correct shoppers.

Product Name and Description

While all products are required to have a product name and description, there are certain enhancements you can make to this data to improve findability.  Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. What keywords can you include in your product names and descriptions to attract the most qualified traffic?

Hint: If you use an analytics platform like Omniture Site Catalyst or Google Analytics, what keywords are shoppers using to find your products? Put the most relevant keywords into your titles and descriptions. Be careful, there’s a fine line between adding relevant keywords and increasing qualified traffic vs. adding broad keywords and increasing unqualified traffic. The more specific you can get with your titles and descriptions the better.

Category & Subcategory ID:

Accurate product categorization is probably one of the most important overlooked attributes in merchant data feeds. If your products are miscategorized, your traffic will be low quality and low volume.  Take time to categorize your products correctly and include subcategory values when applicable – CSE’s place a heavy weight on this column.

For more information, download our free CSE eBook or contact us with your data feed optimization questions.

 

Product Feed Optimization 101

Demystifying Shopping Feed Technology & Strategy
 

About the Author+David Weichel is the Director of Paid Search at CPC Strategy. He specializes in conversion rate optimization, search behavior research and attribution analysis. David graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a B.S. in Management Science. See all posts by this author here.

  • All great points. Over here we usually get clients that are missing unique identifiers, and they don’t quite see why they are important. Your article covers it.

    I would just like to add that any improvement to your data feed is still an improvement. Improving your data feed quality doesn’t have to be a task that you have to finish in one sitting. As you make changes, periodically publish your feed. Even if your change is just one extra unique identifier, its still one step in the right direction. Again, great post.

  • David

    Thank you for your comment Steve.

    Data feed optimization can be a disheartening task for many merchants so partitioning the workload is a great suggestion.