In today’s advertising landscape, it is necessary to provide relevant and up-to-date advertising in order to distinguish your brand from the competition. But how do you keep your campaigns up-to-date in terms of stock and price? Manually updating them, several times a day is an absolute no-go if you sell more than a hundred products. The solution? Feed-based advertising! But you already knew that, right? The real secret for a successful ad campaign? Optimizing ad campaigns should go hand-in-hand with optimizing your data feeds.
What is a data feed? A list – often a .xml or .csv file – containing all products you want to sell with all relevant attributes for each product.
Why should you optimize your feed?
Creating and updating data feeds used to be a task of the IT-department, but not anymore. Great data feeds should be optimized by the marketing department in order to tailor your feed to your ad campaigns.
If you’d want to publish your feed on Facebook, Instagram, Google, Amazon etc., your feed needs to be approved. Every channel uses a different format. An Amazon feed has different requirements than a Facebook feed or a Google Shopping feed. Only feeds that meet the requirements of Google, Facebook, Amazon or whichever channel you want to use, get uploaded.
In order to meet the requirements of a data feed, you should pay attention to three things:
- The file format: most channels accept .xml or .csv
- The required fields: what fields need to be included (eg. Title, ID, Price, Image, URL)?
- Field requirement: what values or formats are required for what field?
Once your feed is approved, it’s time for the next step. An optimized data feed will bring better-qualified traffic. The more optimized information you provide to a channel, the better the channel can match your products to a consumer and the more the consumer is likely to click through on the advertisement. Optimized data feeds lead directly to a higher CTR and conversion rate.
How to optimize your data feed for Google and Facebook?
1. Product titles
Try to add as much relevant information as possible and avoid keyword stuffing to better match search queries and to boost your ROI. Best practice is to include important attributes such as brand name, product, gender, size, color. Make sure to add the most important information first: only the first 70 characters are visible in a Google ad.
Eg. “Stella McCartney Swimsuit Girls Black” instead of “Swimsuit Girl”
“Weba Boxspring Helga 180×200” instead of “Boxspring”
2. Product categories
Google provides an extensive list of product categories. These product categories help Google categorising products in Shopping. Use the most specific category that matches your product in order to show ads for relevant searches.
Eg. If you sell reading glasses, your ads could show up in searches for wine glasses if your categorization isn’t optimized. The right category would be “524 – Health & Beauty > Personal Care > Vision Care > Eyeglasses”
3. Product description
The product description isn’t as important as the other attributes, because it’s only visible after a click. But adding accurate and descriptive keywords to the description is still essential for a great data-feed campaign. Google crawls title and description to determine your ads relevancy.
- Use high quality images to improve product performance (at least 800×800 pixels)
- Make sure to use the right image for the right product. For example don’t show a blue swimsuit for an ad that promotes a black swimsuit.
- Don’t use overlays such as promotional messages or logos. They will get disapproved by Facebook and Google.
5. Extra fields
Fields such as sale price, shipping cost, product type, material are not required, but will help convert better.
Feed management is one of the keys to great ad campaigns, but it gets overlooked way too often. Make sure to add as much data as you can to your product feeds, use the brand name and other important attributes in your title and update your feed at least once a day – depending on your products.