graphic of a computer with a chart on screen and a marketing funnel on topIf you manage an ecommerce site or run any advertisements powered by product data, then you’re familiar with product feeds and product feed optimization. But if you’re just getting started in the ecommerce realm or have colleagues who work with product feeds a lot, you may want to glean a better understanding. Even if you already know all about product feeds, there may be some optimization techniques tucked in this article that you don’t know about.

Keep reading to learn more about product feeds, how to optimize them, and the future of product feeds.

What Are Product Feeds?

Product feeds are data files that include specific product data used to power Shopping ads, along with categorical data used to segment product groups in Shopping campaigns. This data file contains all the necessary information about your product listing, such as the product title, product price, image URLs, coupon codes, and many more customizable attributes.

Ok, So Why Are They Important?

They may seem like a set-it-and-forget it type of deal, but product feeds have a crucial job. Product feeds are important because they contain all of the information that will be displayed to potential customers in Product Listing Ads on Google and Microsoft, as well as dynamic remarketing ads. To save on wasted ad spend, it’s extremely important to ensure all product data is up-to-date, especially around pricing and availability

The product title is especially important because it holds the most weight for query-matching on Shopping since bidding is product-based rather than keyword-based like search. In fact, data has shown that the product title is the most essential component of a high-quality product feed. Optimizing product descriptions and product categories has a much lower impact on traffic.

You need to make sure that you are updating your product feed data regularly so that what the customer is seeing is accurate and up-to-dateInaccuracies can lead to spikes in product disapprovals and even account suspension warnings that can affect Shopping traffic (and ultimately revenue). It’s very important to consistently refresh your product feeds. Luckily, web stores are extremely accommodating with plugins for feed generation.

For instance, if you were to run a sale on your products, updating the prices in your product feed is absolutely necessary so that what is shown through Google Shopping or elsewhere is accurate. If the price doesn’t match the price on your website, you may see higher bounce rates or more pricing disapprovals. Of course, a bad user experience is also something you definitely want to avoid.

What About Product Feed Optimization?

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Making sure your product feeds are up-to-date is great, but if you really want to grab the customer, you’ll need to make sure you’re also optimizing your feeds. Product feed optimization refers to analyzing how putting different information into the fields of your product feed data file can impact webpage traffic and the overall performance of your products. Optimizing feeds includes providing the most accurate data, having as little missing data as possible, and having relevant search queries – basically, ensuring product feed data health.

A/B testing is going to be your best friend when you’re optimizing your product feed. You can test out adding product search terms, product categories, and size and gender (if applicable) in different orders to your product title and see how that affects traffic.

A great study done by Crealytics looked at how changing product title attributes affected performance. They found that products with optimized, keyword-rich titles saw CTRs increase by 18%!

Your results may vary based on your industry, so try carrying out your own testing to see how you can increase traffic and revenue simply by changing some aspects of your product feed.

Product Feed Optimization for Shopping Feeds vs. Social Media Advertising

For Google Shopping ads, you generally want to stuff as much relevant information as you can into the product title to capture various types of search traffic and queries.

Conversely, most ad units on Facebook and Instagram look the same. One focus of social media advertising (SMA) is remarketing. These users are not actively searching for your product; the ads are based on browser history, not search terms. Social media ads see higher CTRs with shorter, more visually appealing titles.

The Future of Product Feeds

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One major trend we’re seeing with product feeds, just like everywhere else, is automation. Automation is going to have a huge impact on product feed management, especially for feeds with thousands (or millions) of lines of inputted data. Lots of tools and expertise will be needed for this, but that’s not going to stop automation from changing – for the better – the way we manage product feeds.

Companies will also be figuring out ways to improve the way we do product title optimization tests. Moving toward the future, successful feed optimization that drives traffic will depend upon both proprietary technology and careful marketing expertise.

A perfect example of the benefits of product feed optimization was seen by one of our clients, Lost Golf Balls. By focusing on high-converting search queries, honing in on specific keywords, and adjusting titles to place greater emphasis on the most profitable customer searches, they saw 82% growth in overall YoY revenue, >100% improvement in YoY ROI, and 50% decrease in YoY CPA – all within the first six months.

Want to learn about more ways to optimize your brand’s ecommerce site? Check out some of our additional resources below!