Google Shopping is a key tool for any online retailer. As its reach continues to grow and exciting new features make this tool even more appealing to users, Google Shopping is gaining a following that makes it hard to ignore. A little while back, we explained the basics of Google Shopping, and now we’re here to show you how to dig in a little deeper.
Data feeds are an essential component of any successful Google Shopping campaign, but if they’re not properly set up and maintained, they can end up costing your business a lot of money. Avoid wasting your budget promoting items that are sold out or aren’t gaining any traction by consistently analysing and updating your feed.
To help us explain the most effective way to set up a Google Shopping data feed, we interviewed Feed Optimise Founder and CEO, Marcin Rosinski. Feed Optimise is an e-commerce tool, which helps search marketers and retailers simply and quickly create beautiful, comprehensive data feeds. Here’s what Marcin had to say:
Q: In simple terms, what is a data feed and why does an advertiser need one for Google Shopping?
A: Data feed is a file containing a list of products and their relevant details. Depending on your industry, the relevant details may vary, but the purpose of the file is same. In order to list your products on Google Shopping, you need to have such a file in the format specified by Google.
Q: How would one set up a data feed (manually)?
A: There is no simple solution for this, unfortunately. Usually, you can create a list of products using your cart’s export functionality, but it will often export it in some custom format. Additionally, it’s frequently only done on demand, so the file will be created and updated only when you click on that button. That being said, it’s important to make sure all information remains up-to-date, so it’s best to make sure your cart provides some automated solution to prevent any issues. You can also install plugins/add-ons to assist with automation, or use companies like Feed Optimise, which will crawl websites or provide plugins/add-ons to automate that process.
Q: What are some key issues to be aware of when setting up a data feed?
A: There are five major things to keep an eye out for when you’re setting up your data feed. If done incorrectly, these can cause problems. Here’s what to look out for:
- Format – You need to make sure your feed is compatible with each channel’s specifications
- Category mapping – Double check that your products are mapped against each channel’s taxonomy
- Required attributes – Confirm that all required product details are inserted
- Freshness – Your feed should be updated on a daily basis (at least) in order to prevent promoting out of stock items or providing channels with invalid prices
- Data guidelines – Make sure you are compatible with each channel’s data guidelines – for example, images can’t have watermarks and should be in particular resolution – there are a number of requirements like this that must be adhered to
Q: What are the challenges/issues with this?
A: There are lots of challenges as very often data is not in the perfect shape, so you will need to be able to restructure it. Also, many feed tools try to be universal so they can be used for a large number of different shops. This sounds like a good idea in theory, but can ultimately compromise the quality of your data feed.
Q: How can a data feed tool make the process easier?
A: Depending on the tool it can complete the entire process for you. Feed Optimise takes care of the entire feed creation, updating, and setup processes, so you don’t need to worry about a thing.
Q: What key things should I look for in a data feed tool?
A: Flexibility and list of features are key, whether it’s a plugin or a service. Plugins are usually designed to support one to three channels at a time, but typically not more than three. They also assume some data layout, sometimes you want to be listed on channels that are not supported by a particular plugin. From the service point of view, it’s important to make sure they can support any channel, or start supporting another channel, if needed. Additionally, you need to be certain that they’re staying up-to-date with all channel updates.
Building a feed is one thing, but analysing its performance is another, so it’s a good idea to use a performance monitoring tool or business in order to see how all works.
Q: What hints, tricks or tips can you give for ensuring your data feed sets you up for success?
A: There are three major things to keep in mind:
- Make sure that your data feed provides user-friendly, informative content and the most attributes possible so channels can use them for extra features, such as filters.
- Update your feed constantly so you don’t end-up paying for items you can’t convert.
- Stay on top of your feed performance as there might be products that are bringing in a lot of traffic but not converting. On the flip side, you may have items that are converting well and could do even better if you find a way to drive more traffic to them. In this case, you should be able to adjust your spend or block/unblock items accordingly.
If you’re interested in running Google Shopping campaigns or want to boost your PPC results, contact the team at Croud Australia.