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The Product Data Lab

Product Data: What is it and why is it so important?

If you’ve found this article, chances are, you’d like to understand product data feeds and why they are so important.

We don’t blame you. The importance of product data is often underestimated and as a result, many retailers end up underperforming on online ecommerce channels due to incorrect, incomplete or unoptimised data.

Product data feeds are used for all ecommerce channels including:

  • Paid search (Google Shopping, Bing)
  • Paid social (Facebook, Instagram)
  • Online marketplaces (Amazon, eBay)
  • Display (Criteo, Conversant)
  • Affiliates (ShopStyle, Awin)
  • Comparison Shopping Sites (Kelkoo, PriceRunner)

 

What’s included in a product data feed?

Some key attributes commonly provided in a data feed include:

  • Title

The title is one of the most important parts of a product data feed. It will not only influence visibility, but will also be a key deciding factor in whether the shopper clicks the listing or ad.

  • Image

Images are not as important in terms of discoverability or visibility but affects clicks and conversions. Would you purchase a product without seeing a high quality, realistic image?

  • Category

It’s important to follow the category taxonomy of whatever channel you’re listing into. This will ensure that your products are found in the correct category and will give the channel more information about the product, so it can better match it to consumer searches.

  • Product type

The product type is your way of describing the product and you can add multiple keywords to this attribute. For example, if you are selling a denim jacket in the autumn, you can add the product types “denim jacket” and “autumn”. This will also help the channel understand your product.

  • Description

The description will influence clicks and conversions, but it isn’t always crawled for keywords. This means that it won’t immediately influence discoverability or visibility on channels, but if you’ve got no description or a poor one then this will contribute to poor performance.

  • GTIN

GTINs are unique product identifiers, better known as the numerical version of a barcode. Unless your product is entirely unique, it will require one in the product feed. Lack of a GTIN will result in a disapproval.

  • Local stock information

This is for whether you’re doing any localised ads for your brick and mortar stores such as Google’s local inventory ads or Facebook’s local targeting.

In short, if you would like to direct consumers to your offline stores through PPC, your local stock needs to be consistently up to date so that consumers know which stores to visit. For more information about local inventory ads, click here. Or for information about Facebook local targeting, click here.

Additionally, you can find Google’s specifications here to get an idea of what’s required.

 

Catering for channel specific specifications

Catering for more than one channel can feel like spinning plates.

Each channel has its own specifications regarding product data attributes. For example, while Google requires titles to be max 150 characters, Amazon requires them to be 200.

Therefore, when you are advertising on more than a few channels, it can become complicated, time and cost consuming to adapt the product data for each.

Nevertheless, getting it wrong can result in unprofitable campaigns as your products might be disapproved by the channel.

 

Why it’s important to manage your product data feeds

With stock regularly changing, product data feeds need to be consistently managed to avoid poor customer experiences and to continue reaching a targeted audience.  Examples of a poor product data feed include:

  • Titles or descriptions that go over the character limit
  • Images are unoptimised for the specific channel
  • The titles and product type attributes lack keywords that are matched to consumer search intent

The consequences of a poor product data feed are low impressions, clicks, conversions and wasted adspend.

Here are some quick examples of what can happen if your product data feed isn’t optimised:

  • Your ads are being disapproved
  • Your best-seller online doesn’t work as well offline
  • Not turning up for appropriate keyword searches
  • Overspending
  • No uplift in sales or site traffic

Click here to find out more about product data management.

 

Why you need to optimise your product data feeds

Not only do you need to manage your feeds, you also need to optimise them so that your ads or product listings are more likely to reach a high converting consumer at the right time.

This includes optimising the keywords in your data feed to suit search volumes and choosing the right images for your ads. For example, will consumers prefer an image of shoes by themselves or on a model?

 

A solution? Experimentation

The best way to work this out is by running experiments on product data content.

A recent experiment we conducted for a footwear retailer was to add the keyword “heels” and “flats” to the product type attribute for Google Shopping. This increased clicks by 87% and 339% respectively.

PRODUCTDATAHEELSFLATS

Read more about the recent experiments we did for our clients and the results here.

 

Conclusion

Product data creation, management and optimisation is difficult without a product visibility platform to do it on, especially when you have thousands of SKUs across multiple territories.

Intelligent Reach’s Product Visibility Cloud allows retailers and brands to efficiently run multiple campaigns at scale and optimise them continually, ensuring good quality product data feeds and high visibility.

Get in touch with us to find out more about product data management, optimisation and experimentation.

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