In today’s world of eCommerce, marketers are expected to perform at superhuman speeds, much like Marvel superheroes, while facing increasing workloads and limited resources. If you are one of these superheroes you know that to get ahead of the competition you need to prioritize the work that gets you the best results. When planning your marketing activities to deliver the best ROI, product feed optimization should be at the top of the list.
Your product feeds are your most valuable marketing assets to scale your sales on marketplaces and marketing channels. To meet your goals, the quality and relevancy of your product information within your feed should be exceptional to provide a successful customer shopping experience. The saying “Garbage in, Garbage Out” couldn’t be more accurate.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about product feed optimization. This includes translating feed technical requirements into understandable and actionable tasks to improve your product listing results.
What is Product Feed Optimization?
The term “product feed optimization” sounds vague and mysterious, but when you break it down to the basics, the concept is simple to understand.
Product feed optimization is a process that e-commerce businesses use to ensure their products are visible to potential customers on various online sales channels. A well-optimized product feed helps marketers to generate more relevant ads based on searches, structure ads in a way that appeals to customers’ needs, and control the timing of when and what ads customers see, defined by the seller.
Why is Data Feed Optimization Important?
Your eCommerce operation relies on the successful integration and synchronization of product information, ensuring its consistency across all of your platforms and channels. Shopping Feed optimizations affect your campaign success by fully leveraging the number of available offers and by accurately matching ads to products users are interested in.
It’s hard to imagine a product feed having so much impact on your marketing performance. To help you understand why optimization is important, let’s break down the benefits.
Top 5 Benefits of Product Feed Optimization
- Better visibility & search relevancy
By optimizing product feeds with the right keywords, descriptions, and product attributes, you can improve your product listings’ search relevancy, making it easier for customers to find them.
- Accurate showcasing of your inventory
Shopping ads require specific product information, such as product name, description, price, and availability. By optimizing your product feeds with frequently refreshed data you ensure customers see the most up-to-date information for accurate pricing, product details, and inventory.
- Increased conversions from your listings
By providing up-to-date product information, customer trust and confidence increases for your products and brand, leading to higher product listing clicks and conversions.
- Save time and resources by automating the product listing process
Product feed optimization tools allow you to easily create and manage product feeds across multiple platforms, reducing the time and effort required to list products manually.
- Fewer Google Merchant Center (GMC) disapprovals
Google has strict requirements for shopping feeds. When your Google Shopping feed and website product pages are optimized, you have fewer product disapprovals. This process increases the exposure of your ads.
- More granular campaign segmentation
By providing accurate and optimized product properties to Google Merchant Center, advertisers can segment their campaigns by designing ad groups based on the selection of accurate categories, taxonomies, other properties, or other custom attributes.
Master Data Feed Optimization
How do you begin your feed optimization process? You start with creating a quality master feed which is used as the basis for making additional data feeds for each marketing channel like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and others.
Here are the steps to build the basis for an optimized master data feed:
- Understand where and how your product data is stored
The first step is understanding what data you need, where it resides (eCommerce platform, PIM, spreadsheet, etc.), and how it’s displayed on your website. This process can be very simple or complex. Talking to a Product Feed Management provider to help you at this stage could alleviate problems with your product listings down the road.
- Outline where (countries) you want to promote your products and on what channels
When you get into multi-country and multi-currency product feeds, simple things like the structure of your website URLs, the price shown on your website, and the product information on your pages should align with the channel’s requirements you are selling on.
- Identify the data you need for the channel you are selling on
Each channel’s requirements may be different. Doing your research to stay on top of these ever-changing requirements helps to identify the gaps in missing and incorrect product data. This step is sometimes an eye-opener for sellers that didn’t realize they had conflicting and missing information.
Product Data Feed Optimization for Marketing & Marketplace Channels
Small retailers or brands usually start expanding their reach by selling a few products on marketplaces and advertising some products on shopping channels. At this stage, a simple product feed plugin to create a feed may be “good enough” to start running product listing ads on channels like Google Shopping. As you grow and expand, you should be on the lookout to find a full-service product feed management and marketplace integration solution to free up your team’s time to manage all of the feed optimizations needed to scale your sales.
As your eCommerce business grows, you need multiple product feeds for popular shopping & marketplace channels.
Find more in-depth channel product optimization tips by clicking on the link of the channel feed you want to learn more about.
Types of Data Feeds to Optimize
- Google Merchant Center Feed
Discover valuable insights and guidance on how to optimize your Google Merchant Center feed with examples of what optimizations to focus on for better-performing Google Shopping campaigns.
- Google Local Inventory Ad Feed
Learn how to create a Google Local Inventory Ad (LIA) product feed, enabling you to promote your in-store inventory to nearby customers searching for products on Google.
- Facebook Product Feed
Create a Facebook product feed to better organize your products and target them to a specific customer segment. Well-optimized data is essential to deliver successful Facebook Dynamic Product Ads campaigns.
- Instagram Product Feed
Learn how to make your products shoppable on Instagram to increase visibility among users and drive more sales. It’s important to include the correct product data within your feed to get the most out of your shoppable posts.
- Snapchat Product Feed
Uncover the important details needed to create a well-optimized Snapchat product feed, what content is restricted within Snapchat ads, and other tips enabling retailers to promote their products and reach a wider audience.
- Amazon Product Feed
Find out how to create a product feed that delivers effective product listings on Amazon, including tips for optimizing content, images, and search keywords.
- Rakuten Product Feed
Obtain better results from product listings on Rakuten’s affiliate network with our product feed guide that gets granular on optimizing their most important attributes like Required Affiliate (RA), Required Display (RD), Optional Display (OD), Required Social (RS), and Required Search (RSEM).
Now that you’ve learned about master feeds and channel feeds, let’s get into more detail on optimizing Google Shopping feeds.
Important Tips for Google Shopping Feed Optimization
There are over 1 billion shopping sessions per day on Google Shopping. It is no wonder it’s the most popular search advertising option for both small and large eCommerce companies.
Reviewing the data in your Google Shopping feed attributes to ensure it’s compliant with Google’s requirements and relevant to the products you’re selling, is the basis for a quality feed.
Use these shopping feed optimization tips as a framework to create better feeds for improved product listings.
Top Google Shopping Attributes to Optimize Within Your Feed
The more relevant your title is to what a person on Google is searching for, the better your product listing’s performance will be. They advise advertisers to avoid promotional text and align their landing page’s title with the title in their feed.
A product feed management solution allows you to create rules so that if specific attributes aren’t available, you can replace them with other details or even add a plural to make the title read better.
Product Title Example:
Brand [blank] Product Name (when available) [blank] product type (when available and not in the product name)[,] gender (plural with ‘s)[,] [material])[,] color[,] size
Google Merchant Center recommends if you use a unique color, on your landing page, you should submit that value through the [color] attribute. Google crawls your landing page and matches the color in your feed to what’s on your landing page. If there is a mismatch, then Google Merchant Center could produce an error.
They recommend adding a more common color name, like “Red” or “Black”, to your title [title]. These accepted terms help ensure that your products are correctly categorized and displayed in relevant search results.
Instead of leaving Google’s product category [google_product_category] attribute blank, use it to help create findable products by people searching for them in your category. If you don’t provide category information within your feed, you run the risk of Google automatically categorizing your products.
An example of a well-chosen product category for a dress is Clothing & Accessories > Clothing > Dresses
Get more in-depth information on Google Product Category Optimization.
The Global Trade Item Number, or GTIN, is no longer a required attribute for your Google Shopping feed but is still worth using in your optimization process. When you’re running Google Shopping ads, you’re bidding against competitors potentially selling the same or similar products. The GTIN code helps customers find your specific product listing easier and faster.
Other Important Product Feed Optimizations
The competition on Google Shopping is fierce to get the most exposure for your products. To take your campaigns to the next level, review the accuracy of your data and Google requirements for these attributes. Regularly review and update your product feed to ensure your ads are performing well.
- Image URL: Use high-quality images that meet Google’s image requirements to attract shoppers.
- Price: Keep your product price competitive and consistent across all platforms.
- Product Type: Categorize your product accurately using Google’s product taxonomy.
- Brand: Include your product’s brand name to increase clicks and conversions.
- Availability: Keep your product availability up-to-date to avoid disappointing shoppers.
Check out this article on Google’s Merchant Center’s Feed Optimization to minimize disapprovals and gain market share on Google Shopping.
Example of Product Feed Optimizations
To help you get a better understanding of how to improve your product feeds, we’ve provided our top 14 optimization suggestions for fashion & apparel customers who want to take their product feed optimization to the next level.
- Eliminate all GMC disapprovals & warnings for your different markets
- Check the Robots.txt configurations on your website
- Eliminate Duplicate Product Titles/Descriptions
- Fix Google Category and Product Type mappings
- Verify issues with automatic updates by Google
- Evaluate the usage of Promotions
- Standardize Product Titles & Descriptions (A/B tests)
- Improve Product Types where feasible
- Expand Descriptions (where necessary)
- Fix colors and size
- Add Product Highlights
- Add Product Detail
- Add as many other parameters as possible (such as patterns, material, etc.)
- Use All Custom Labels
- Use Performance Custom Labels
Having the knowledge to create a product data feed and consistently conducting audits to pinpoint the appropriate optimizations can significantly impact the success of your long-term shopping campaigns.
Product Feed Optimization Case Study
You can read all there is to know about product feed optimization but how do you relate it to real-life outcomes for your business? Here is a summarized product feed optimization case study to show you how feed optimizations lead to achieving marketing goals.
Product Feed Optimization for Browns
The Canadian fashion retailer Brown’s had a goal to ensure shoppers find their products when searching for specific items like “Ugg Adirondack” or “Converse Chuck Taylor”.
Highstreet.io helped them achieve their objective by:
- Leveraging integration with Salesforce Commerce Cloud to update, optimize and connect product data to various platforms. These included Google Shopping, Facebook Dynamic Ads, Instagram Shoppable Posts, affiliate marketing channels, and retargeting services
- Providing refreshes from Browns’ eCommerce platform every 30 minutes and publishing the available data to channels such as Google Merchant Center six times daily.
- Offering multilingual optimizations in both English and French, for channels like Facebook, Instagram, Google Shopping, and Pinterest
- Each feed item has optimized titles, product types, promotion IDs, and custom labels that reflect details such as language and inventory levels
Thanks to these ongoing product feed optimizations, Browns was able to meet its customer’s expectations and continue to deliver an ideal shopping experience by only promoting in-stock products.
Access the full product feed optimization case study for more insights.
Maximize the Success of Your Online Selling
In simple terms, your product feed is like a car’s engine: It needs ongoing service to get the best performance — the quality and frequency of servicing that engine matters.
As you review this guide to optimize your product feeds, keep the following points in mind:
- The quality of your output is determined by the quality of your input: Use quality, relevant data in your feed to get the best results
- Your most valuable marketing asset: The many benefits of an optimized product feed equate to it being a priority for your business.
- Details matter: Knowing where your data resides, how your product information is structured on your website, what countries you want to target, and the best channels to expand your reach and sales are crucial elements to designing a successful product feed that gets results.
Highstreet.io feed optimization tool enables you to automate the process of updating your data feeds, ensuring that they are regularly refreshed with detailed information about your products. With this, you can effortlessly create thousands of automated campaigns
Our full-service approach is designed to make you feel like you are working with a partner who is fully invested in your business. Unlike self-serve tools that offer little in-person interaction, you get the personalized attention and support you need to achieve your business goals by working with our team.
Keep your product feeds optimized and build successful shopping campaigns to grow your business. Contact us today to get started.