Shopping Feed Management: You’re Doing It Wrong
If you’re a Southpark fan, there’s a great episode about toilets and how to sit on them. It’s a great (albeit interesting) example of how things we think we’re doing correctly are not always the best way to get the job done. Chances are you’re doing this with your Shopping feed management.
5 Shopping Feed Management Mistakes
1. Sending a lame data feed.
If you nerd out on shopping feed management, your data feed is basically your life. If you’re a little less nerdy, its still really important.
Sent/ updated daily. You should ideally send your data feed through an FTP. If you don’t have the technology capabilities to do this its a good idea to find a data feed provider solution.
Your product data feed communicates your product information to comparison engines such as Google Shopping.
Product price, images, and descriptions contribute significantly to conversions. Your data feed should be:
- Automated. (If you’re sending your data feed manually- you’re doing it wrong).
- Accurate. All of the product information in your feed should exactly match that product information on your website. That goes for price, product image, URL, etc.
- Error free. Each shopping engine has different data feed specifications. You need to send a separate data feed with different elements to each shopping engine. If you’re sending the same data feed, missing required attributes, or listing incorrect variables, your data feed is likely to be rejected or your not listing all of your product information on those engines. For more information on data feed specifications, check out this article.
2. Using a weak-sauce bidding strategy.
Bidding the same for all products in your data feed is a bad campaign strategy.
This is a common mistake merchants make on Product Listing Ads. Making one bid for your data feed, or setting a bid for all of your products is no bueno. If you only have one bid for all of your products you’re giving the same visibility to products that sell well and those that don’t. You don’t post all of your horrible photos on Facebook, or list every single place you go do you?
You tag photos of you where you look awesome, and share when you’re out on epic adventures- not at the grocery store. That way people see your positive side, and are more likely to view you that way. If you’re bidding the same on all of your products, you are wasting money on those that don’t sell as well, while also losing money because those that do are getting less visibility than they should.
Bid less for products that:
- Don’t meet your cost of sale (COS) goals.
- Get too many clicks and not enough conversions to meet your return on investment (ROI).
- Get a ton of clicks, and no conversions.
- Have a lower average order value (AOV), get a lot of clicks and don’t convert enough to meet your ROI.
- Have a high AOV, get a lot of clicks and don’t convert enough to meet your ROI.
Bid more for product that:
- Meet your COS goals.
- Get a lot of clicks and conversions.
- Get fewer clicks, but convert well and have a high AOV.
- Are your best sellers.
- Have few conversions, but a high AOV.
- Are in season (e.g back to school, Q4)
- Are on sale.
You should break out your bids for product categories, products which convert well, seasonal items, items over or under price thresholds, etc. The options are limitless for how you can group your products as long as you make those changes to your data feed. However, be sure to make any bid changes or category groupings based on Analytics data.
3. Following a fail shopping feed management strategy
Unfortunately, not all of your products are going to be profitable on the shopping channels. You can bid less for products on engines like Google Shopping, Shopzilla and Pricegrabber, but other comparison engines don’t have as much flexibility. In these cases you should remove products which are hurting your cost of sale goals from your data feed.
To do this, you’ll need to manually take those products out of your data feed, or create a data feed rule to exclude them from sending. Make sure if you remove products you consider re-adding them at a later date based on Analytics, season and related performance variables.
4. Not listing merchant reviews.
Online shoppers are generally looking to compare products online based on price, shipping rates and merchant reviews. The third most popular variable which shoppers use to determine where to purchase online are merchant reviews. If you don’t have any seller reviews, you are handing your competition sales. Consider using third party review sites such as Ekomi, and or install seller review pixels on your site for one or more of the shopping channels. Avoid installing all of the CSE merchant rating pixels if you can as they each serve a pop-up following a customer purchase.
5. Using a lousy PLA strategy
A popular strategy which Google Shopping agencies have been throwing around lately is breaking out your Product Listing Ads campaign for all of your individual SKUs. That is creating an ad group for each product. DO NOT do this. In theory a PLA SKU level campaign may sound like a good idea, but in reality you are severely limiting your campaign. If you break out your campaign by SKU, you are likely going to:
- Bid more than you should for individual products.
- Be unable to segment performance data for different product groups.
- Not have the time or bandwidth to fully break out your campaign and check on your separate ad groups.
Check out this post for other major mistakes on Google Shopping.