For a product to get listed on any given channel, its data needs to... work.

To succeed on any channel, its data needs to work well.

Ecommerce product feeds need to be tailored to not only meet channel compliance, but also to excel in that space. Take that logic, apply it to multiple dense feeds and accompanying strategies across several channels, and you have hefty responsibilities to consider.

Playing down the challenges can lead to complications.

Poor product feed management

The impact of poor data feed management can be overwhelming.

If you don’t already have easy control over the entirety of your product catalog, using it as a source for feeds could splinter off into different challenges, even if it works fine on your site.

Product data can range from broken to optimized — and even the best core data isn’t 1:1 fit for any channel, nor is it optimal without some tweaks.

Store building platforms refer to a number of extensions and feature limited integrations that might “get the job done” at a basic level, but none of those options are by any means ideal — especially if you’re running a serious operation.

Shopping carts and other store building platforms that many use to host their master catalog:

  • Can’t efficiently integrate data from multiple sources
  • Are limited in bulk modification capabilities
  • Lack important attributes and/or the ability to add new ones
  • Don’t effectively support product feed building + syndication

In general, trying to manually manage your product feeds without the right mindset and toolset could be a slow-moving, virtually endless project, if not an absolute disaster.

There’s a certain expertise needed to effectively build and manage product feeds. Underestimating the workload can be much more costly than your attempt to save money with a cheap solution.

You don’t want the lifeblood of your ecommerce offerings to be lackluster, much less incomplete or noncompliant.

Levels of product data readiness

Generally speaking, the properties of a feed are fairly straightforward. Each channel has two big-picture kinds of product data: required and optional.

Certain product attributes are required. A product missing this core data will be met with errors and won’t go live.

All other non-required attributes are optional. A product can still exist online without optional attributes but you’re going to miss out on sales that would depend on the extra context.

There is a lot of overlap across channels, as there is a finite amount of information that pertains to any specific product, most of which is relevant to all channels — but all that info needs special consideration for channels-specific variables. Even the most ideal site catalog needs to be tailored for use on any given ecommerce marketing channel.

Product data optimization is mostly finite; it has a ceiling. There’s a lot of room for improvement until there isn’t.

Let's consider the range of product data readiness (click here for the full infographic):

Broken product data

broken noncompliant product data

Required attributes are labeled so for a reason.

If a feed is missing required data or it includes noncompliant data, you’ll be met with errors and its affected products won’t go live.

Without functional required data, a product is void of details necessary to accurately represent it. You must include all of that foundational info one way or another if you want to list the product on any channel.

There’s a hard line between broken data and barely working data. You want to do better than the latter but you definitely don’t want the former.

Working product data

working product data

Products with functional required data, even if it barely works, will get listed.

This lesser end of the working data spectrum often includes troubled and/or inaccurate data and is usually void of key optional info.

A lazy feed, even if passable, is going to yield lazy results. Performance and potential depend on the quality of your data.

This level of data has plenty of room for improvement.

Accurate product data

accurate product data

Products with clean and accurate working data, even if they’re missing some key optional info, should perform fairly well.

This level of data is not going to mislead people and is sure to inspire more confidence than any lesser alternative.

While not exactly optimal, nor complete, this kind of data is viable enough to keep as is but can greatly benefit from any extra effort you’re willing to give it. 

A foundation of accurate data helps make optimizations more approachable.

Optimized product data

optimized product data

Then there are optimized feeds, the products of which aren’t hindered by their presentation.

Optimized product feeds are made up of strong complete data with robust values for required and optional info.

This kind of product data is refined with SEO and channel best practices in mind, resulting in effective product listings.

Once your data reaches this point, then you can start confidently experimenting with different strategies to maximize its potential.

Strong source, strong feeds

Regardless of how you go about handling your feeds, the best course of action is to refine your product data at its source, likely your main site catalog.

Whether you leverage a third party solution or insist on taking the less effective route and do everything manually, your core product data needs to be sharp. Once that hits its peak, you’ll have a much easier time making manual channel feeds or using that data elsewhere.

A master catalog on a specialized platform opens up a world of possibilities.

A product information management (PIM) system or a feed management platform like GoDataFeed lets you build a true source, or “golden record,” or master catalog that acts as a foundation for your channel feeds.

A strong core catalog can be imported into GoDataFeed and augmented with data from other sources. Those products can then be effectively filtered, categorized, and modified with custom rules to make high-performance feeds for channels like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and more.

Don’t go it alone

Sharpening core data is important, but so is everything else

Setting up and managing feeds requires scaling technically knowledge, data handling mastery, channel insight, and a solid toolset to make the magic happen.

For many, GoDataFeed is that toolset. Our app lets you import data from multiple sources, effectively bulk optimize it, and automate feed distribution to all your target channels with ease.

And if you find yourself needing some extra help, we can step in. Our Managed Services complements your team with a dedicated specialist who supports the data side of your campaign strategy.

We integrate, manage, monitor, and troubleshoot your product feeds. It’s like having an in-house product feed manager… without the extra salary.

Interested to hear more? Drop us a line.