Parcel or Paper cartons with a shopping cart logo in a trolley on a laptop keyboard.

“Do more with less” seems to be the motto for businesses in 2023. With economic unrest, a looming recession, long-term impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, and more, every business wants to make more money without spending more. That’s where an effective product feed optimization strategy comes into play.

In this article, we’ll explore:

Product feeds, Performance Max, & your creative strategy

Historically, ad platforms have made it complicated to link your product data. Typically, you would have to create a custom file on your backend and send it out to wherever you want to advertise your products. In 2022, some of the big ad platforms made it easier for merchants to enter their marketplaces. Facebook and Instagram now have BigCommerce and Shopify integrations, and Google has merchant listings that offer a structured data type that doesn’t require you to send them anything to create your Shopping listings.

These automated connections make it much easier for merchants to enter the marketplace. Now, more products are flooding the market and showing up when shoppers navigate Google. This is great for searchers but can make it challenging for merchants on both search and social platforms.

Performance Max (PMax) is that newest campaign type that encompasses placements all across Google. PMax campaigns are powered by product feeds. They can include Gmail, Google, Discover, Google Shopping, Search, Display, and video all in one campaign type with a much bigger focus on visual. PMax campaigns have a huge creative component, and the placements are a lot more varied.

Having a strong cross-channel creative strategy is more important than ever. The importance of having great images, videos, and assets readily available from different product types – and the ability to test and scale that across channels – is continuing to grow.

The future of search is going to be highly visual.

With more products and merchants entering the scene, paying attention to your product catalog is crucial. Brands can stand out with the new creative options on these platforms that are available when uploading product data.

For example, Google has a minimum requirement for product images in addition to best practices that must be followed. You should look at these best practices as your bare minimum.

On Meta’s catalog, images are required, but product-level videos are optional. For your top-selling items, consider having videos so that you can stand out from competitors in your space.

ROI Tip: Product feed optimization can help you navigate the loss of cookies. Dynamic remarketing efforts rely on cookies to be effective. With cookies going away, you may notice a difference in the way these ads perform. Doing research now on the products in your feed that have a longer conversion cycle will help you discover overlap with products that perform well in dynamic remarketing; usually these are products with a higher price, for example. Then, label these products differently in your feed. Advertising on them this way may help offset the effects you see on the dynamic remarketing ad type once cookies go away.

Stopwatch on a pile of US 100 dollar bills. 3D illustration of the aphorism of time is money

Optimizing your product feed in times of economic uncertainty

We’ve noticed budget reductions across the industry due to the economic uncertainty and struggles to use spend effectively. It’s really important to take a long-term view of where your budget goes across channels in order to understand your holistic investment.

Don’t neglect the importance of building your brand in the long term. Brands have a chance right now to capitalize on the opportunity that exists right now to beat out and shine against your competitors who are pulling back.

About 30% of PPC performance is driven by brand messaging and awareness.

Positioning yourself now for long-term success instead of reactively cutting budget in the short-term is crucial. To understand why, think back to the early part of the pandemic when many advertisers cut ad spend or paused campaigns.

We analyzed trends among our cross-industry clients during the pandemic in addition to working with Google to analyze trends from the last economic downturn. Brands that increased their ad spend saw ROI improvements, had stronger long-term growth, and maintained their high position against competitors.

Cutting upper-funnel spend now will harm your long-term growth, especially when it comes to maintaining your competitive position and building your brand into the future.

Optimization is really important in times when budgets are smaller. It comes back to the basics of making sure that you’re differentiated from your competitors and providing the best experience possible. One of the best ways to improve your profitability and conversion rates is to make seemingly minor optimizations to your product feed.

Actionable tips for your product feed optimization strategy

Many of the product feed optimization tests that we run at ROI Revolution focus on ensuring product data is:

  • Aligned with common search queries
  • Highly granularly categorized
  • As robust as possible
  • Exceeding platform-specific data attribute specifications

You may miss out on good opportunities if your product data and product titles are too broad. Your product titles should make it clear what your product is and be highly relevant to the user’s search so that they get what they’re expecting when they click on it.

Being very specific with your product data can help ensure that when people do click, they are as low-funnel as possible. By making your product feed titles and descriptions as accurate and relevant as possible, shoppers will more often be served relevant items and will know what they’re getting before arriving at your site, leading them to be as ready to convert as you can hope. This can also lead to lower CPCs.

“Nothing routinely blows my mind more often than times when members of our product feed team add just one or two words to a product title within a specific product group and that drives, for example, 50% more clicks at a flat CPC period-over-period. I don’t think you can understate how those small tweaks of the product feed can really drive growth.” – Chad Batten, Senior Product Feeds Specialist

On the Google Shopping side of things, optimization means delivering the best possible end product – namely, the shopping ad itself. That means utilizing the different tools that platforms have available (like the Top Quality Store program, promotions, Product Reviews, or Loyalty program) to help you stand out from all the other businesses on Google and the Shopping tab.

Google has dozens of badges that can help your business stand out. You can identify your business as woman-owned, tell searchers that you have brick-and-mortar locations nearby, have a price drop for a few days only, are offering free shipping, and more.

Utilizing those programs or working with a partner who knows how to best leverage those programs is crucial to stand out on paid search platforms.

Shopping Online. woman hand online shopping on laptop computer with virtual graphic icon diagram on desk, payment online, digital marketing, business finance, internet network technology concept

Tying it all together: Product feed optimization strategy

Having a product feed optimization strategy can help your business stay profitable in a fluctuating economy. You can get more conversions out of your campaigns without increasing your ad spend by making the right optimizations to your feed.

Experimenting and learning are key to making your marketing strategy as successful as it can possibly be. The product feeds experts at ROI Revolution are always testing new ways to help brands grow profitably – and we do it better than any other agency.

What’s the ROI Revolution difference?

  • With ROI Revolution, your product feed will be managed by in-house experts.
    • Other agencies manage product feeds by leveraging paid media managers with minimal training our outsourced teams that aren’t passionate about your success.
  • We understand the value of optimization and make it a priority.
    • Other agencies consider optimization a low priority because of bandwidth constraints and implement a “set it and forget it” approach.
  • We are extremely skilled with data processes and offer creative solutions to complex issues.
    • Other agencies can only handle basic data operations.
  • We have a system to implement, evaluate, report, and log results of tests to build insights using the RevolutionSuite® technology created by our in-house development team.
    • Other agencies simply don’t offer reporting or insights into the impact of feed optimizations.
  • We implement safeguards to maintain your data quality and processes to proactively check accuracy.
    • Other agencies lack systems to monitor your data integrity, putting your ads at risk of showing the wrong information to shoppers.

There may be growth opportunities waiting for your brand under the surface. Don’t let them go to waste! To explore the revenue growth your business could discover through product feed optimization, send a message to our team today.