Demystifying Product Feed Technology

One of the most overlooked and intimidating aspects of effective product advertising for retail marketers is the product feed. Because of the technology involved, the fickle issues that can arise, or perhaps the sheer appearance of thousands of rows in an Excel sheet, feed management has been given a bad rep. For this reason, the process can be viewed as a tedious, cumbersome, and monotonous responsibility.

Consequently, proper feed management and optimization is typically outsourced, delegated to an IT team, or metaphorically “swept under the rug” entirely.

It also doesn’t help that information about effective feed management is sparse, dry, and sometimes misleading.

And despite all this, product feed(s) remain the critical foundation to any successful product advertising  channel – especially Google Shopping.

What do product feeds actually do?

A product feed is how a retailer communicates their inventory to a given product advertising channel. Shopping channels like Google will cross reference this data with shopper search queries and your bids to determine ad visibility.

While most marketers understand the importance of uploading feeds – it’s often lost how critical it is to optimize the feed data and sync it with a comprehensive Google Shopping strategy.

 

shopping-feed

 

As an example (above), say we have a shopper looking to buy a backpacking pack. There’s a big difference between the searches:

    1. “blue backpacking pack”
    2. “Osprey Atmos 48 pacific blue backpacking pack”

 

Search A is clearly higher up in the buying process “funnel” whereas Search B indicates a shopper has established an interest in a particular model.

What does this have to do with product feed data?

Having your products rank for top-of-the-funnel searches is ideal if your goal is to increase your market share (traffic and impression generation). However, from a pure ROI perspective, it’s not ideal because of:

    • Higher CPC’s
    • Higher click volume on those expensive placements,
    • Typically lower conversion rates (since buying intent is lower)

 

On the other hand, having your products surface for bottom-of-the-funnel searches – queries where the shopper has expressed an interest in a very particular model – is ideal when your goal is to hit a designated ROI. While the volume for these types of searches will be low, having your PLAs rank for longtail queries is critical for getting in front of shoppers who are likely to buy.

This is where your product feed data quality plays a key role.

Your product title needs to be comprehensive enough so that it increases your ad relevancy for those high-intent, bottom-of-the-funnel searches. Not having the Model (Atmos), Color (Blue, Pacific Blue), or Product Type (backpacking pack) will inhibit your products from ranking for the searches that matter.

In our latest guide, “Product Feed Optimization 101” we break down the “black box” that is product data management into simple terms. Moreover, we’ll unpack how feed technology plays a key role in improving the efficiency of feed management, and ultimately, your product advertising campaigns.

Product Feed Optimization 101

Topics:

    • Introduction
    • The Importance of Your Product Data
    • The Role of Feed Technology
    • Product Feed Optimization 101
    • Aligning Your Product Data with Google Shopping Management
    • Final Takeways

 

Additional Resources:

What is a Product Feed? Online Merchant Resource

 

Product Feed Optimization 101

Demystifying Shopping Feed Technology & Strategy
 

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.