I’ve been to Google three times for Shopping campaign training, and at least half the time is spent on optimizing the feed. The reason behind that it because, as a Googler (who I will not mention by name) loves to say, “Crap in, crap out.” The feed is the backbone of your PLA campaigns. That means if the data in your feed is bad or missing information, it won’t matter if the Shopping campaigns are set up perfectly, they won’t be as successful.
So what makes for a good data feed?
1. Unique Product Identifiers: these include Brand, UPCs (for the US, or other Global Trade Item Numbers for other countries) and Manufacturer Part Numbers. These are used to match against Google’s product catalog to make sure a product is valid. It also levels the playing field against your competitors. If you both have the same item in your feeds, but your competitor has the Brand, UPC and MPN and you only have Brand and MPN, they will “win” the auction because Google will value their product over yours.
2. Product Content: which includes Title, Product Category and Description. Title is absolutely, hands down, the most important thing you can do to show up on relevant searches. Here’s two examples – guess which one will show show up on more relevant searches?
a. Example 1: Blue T-Shirt
b. Example 2: Nike Men’s Blue Crew-Neck Short Sleeve T-Shirt, Size Medium
Yes, you guessed it – example 2. Having things like gender, color, style and size in the title are very important. And Brand can also be important if it’s a brand with name recognition.
3. Pricing: which includes Product Price, Sale Price, Tax and Shipping. If the price in your feed doesn’t match the price on your landing page, your Merchant Account can and will get suspended. Same with shipping costs – shipping must calculate properly or Google will suspend the Merchant Account.
The bottom line is to fill in the data gaps. There’s also additional attributes that can really help, like full descriptions, color, size etc. The more information you give Google, the better chance you will have to show.
Other tips include updating the feed data daily – Google likes fresh content. If you can’t do daily, at least do weekly. And good quality images are another place to concentrate.
Last year JumpFly started offering feed management services to their existing clients. It’s really made a difference for many clients on how well their Shopping feeds do, as the Account Managers can work directly with the Feed Manager to make sure the titles and information is optimized. It’s also helped reduce the dreaded “feed expired” issues we’ve had for some clients in the past who have forgot to upload a new feed.