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Product Feed – Rules of Designing Product Feeds

Rules of designing the product feed – how to prepare a suitable structure

Many advertisers who run online stores choose to implement PLA campaigns (product list advertisements). There are a few reasons why this solution may be considered attractive. First of all, PLA campaigns are known for higher direction precision than their text equivalents (extended text adverts) – also visible from the search engine level.

The product presented in response to the phrase searched contains such information as: price, title, description and image which text adverts do not have. The PLA campaign includes information on all products which the advertiser wants to promote. What is more, advertisements are displayed dynamically in response to phrases entered by the customer on the basis of the so-called product feed (data file). Google algorithm scans the data file, that is product feed, in quest of relation to the user’s phrase. Various parameters are tracked – from title to page link.

Due to the fact that it is impossible to assign words entered by the customer to a specific product (as opposed to text adverts which let you do so), the only methods of improving visibility of your products in the PLA campaign is to interfere in the product feed or use the rules of the product feed.

Unfortunately, direct interference in the product feed is not possible. It is because the file should be supplemented with new and up-to-date values on a daily basis and automatically. For this reason, the file is generated automatically on the basis of the data which are already on the store platform. In effect, the better and more transparent the structure of the store, the easier and more precisely you can use the product feed and the rules of the data file. Therefore, the question arises, how to prepare the product feed to make sure the campaign is more successful and the file generates more displays on Google?

Product feed – organizing the range of products

The answer is not clear cut. Every store must adopt a different strategy which should reflect the nature of the business and its customer. As for a specialist building equipment, you are not going to resign from marking which is commonly known in this industry (e.g. product ID codes). These markings can help well-prepared customers identify the product. A different approach applies to the clothing industry which should include the most commonly used phrases in its feed.  

The issue gets more complicated with regard to large-format stores which have a wide range of products, including a few dozen categories and a dozen thousand products. The management of such a considerable database is quite a burden and for this reason you must make sure work with each of these systems is as smooth as possible.

The path of the product feed is usually as follows:

As you can see, the entire structure of the file which the seller works with at further stages is the result of his/her efforts in the store platform itself. The question of the product feed structure is mostly a question of the online store’s vision and its proper design from the inside.

Organized Product Feed – Why Is It Valuable?

Google AdWords is a very complicated advertising instrument since the position of the advertiser in the list and cash to be paid for click is not only determined by the budget. The quality of the seller’s advertisement is much more important, and these are factors depend on the advertiser itself.

Product feed and its development is a series of actions aimed at making the online store more attractive to Google in terms of quality. Thanks to improvements of the product file, even a small e-shop may perform better than giant competitors in the search engine results.

At present, Polish advertisers are frequently reluctant to work on how Google perceives the online store. It is obvious from a certain point of view. Extra works on the store structure seem to be redundant when adverts are displayed properly. Besides the store guarantees a suitable and satisfying return on investment. This being the case, the development of the product feed seems to be additional effort which presents remote and purely hypothetical benefits. Is that really true? Similar to extended text adverts, product list campaigns display ads on the basis of words entered directly in the search engine by its users. The better prepared the product feed and the more it responds to the needs of customers, the better it will be displayed.

Key Information

When you organize the product feed, you need to make sure the file contains the most important information. Remember to provide top-quality information, that is high-resolution photographs of the product, well-prepared product description which includes key information and product title which contains the most essential offer-related data. If you sell men’s T-shirts, the title should contain the following elements, for example:

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Men’s T-shirt – Black – S/M/L/XL

Women’s T-shirt – Beige – S/M/L/XL – [xxx]

[xxx] – T-Shirt with print – Beige S/M/L/XL

This structure of the title will ensure you that the potential customer is bound to find an interesting auction after entering his/her phrase of interest. Certainly the above-stated example applies if you have products in different variants, if variants apply to colors, you can provide information about various colors in the product description. The offer would be as follows:

Title: Men’s t-shirt – [xxx] – Various sizes and colors

Description: Men’s t-shirt made of top-quality cotton, basis weight: 160g – available colors: black, blue, yellow, dark blue – available sizes: S/M/L/XL

Visible and Invisible Parameters

The product feed is composed of many parameters. All of them are generated automatically on the basis of data available in the advertiser’s store platform.

The parameters can be divided into those which are displayed to search engine users and visible to the Google algorithm. A common mistake advertisers make is to focus their attention on the first, visible type and disregard the value of the second – the hidden feed structure.

When the user enters the phrase, Google checks the entire product feed content in quest of information which assesses accuracy of the product in relation to the query. The purpose of the strategy will be thus to supplement all obligatory and optional fields of the product feed. Thanks to this, Google will receive the maximum amount of information and, as a consequence, will assess the ad quality better.

To find details about which parameters you can use, see the Adwords support subpage:

As you can see, there is a wide range of parameters you can use. If you wish to supplement product data to include some of optional parameters, it is advisable to contact store platform service. Thanks to this, you can be sure that data you use in the store are reflected in the product feed.

What’s Next? Rules of Data File

What are feed rules? In a nutshell – they allow you modify parameters on the basis of other parameters and dependencies. Thanks to this, you will be able to present a large number of products in a well-organized and consistent form.

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When preparing a product feed, you need to consider further use of rules of data file. Even if you deal with a new online store, you have to assume that its range of products will keep expanding along with further development and investments. What kind of store structure will allow you to work with the file?

Again, it is all about supplementing as much information as you can so that Google can further use it to create product parameters. A vendor from the clothing industry who manages many different attributes assigned to one product (e.g. color, size, pattern) will organize his file differently, and the owner of a store with specialized warehouse equipment (e.g. weight, length, width) will organize his file differently.

Supplementing this information ensures comfortable work with data file rules. It allows you to use parameters to modify other parameters, such as description or title, which usually in Google should answer the most frequent and most precise customers’ questions.

The rules of product feed would allow supplementation of missing parameters in product descriptions, for instance. Thanks to the possibility of using various parameters for the structure, e.g title parameter, you can form the following combination:

title = own label -> product type 1 -> gender -> brand

effect: colorful t-shirt – male – [xxx]

The same function applies to a description, you can supplement the description to include the available variants:

description = description -> color -> size

effect: man’s t-shirt made of high-quality cotton – black, brown, yellow, blue – S/M/L/XL

Summary – Product Feed

Of course, a salesperson who wants to use a similar approach to targeting adverts should put much effort in terms of sales. This effort can, however, save a lot of time when adding a large number of new products which will automatically be presented in accordance with the same rules as products added before.

To sum up – although the entire process of organizing the store assortment seems to be quite arbitrary, you have to reconsider the structure of division at the first stage of creating the online store. This way you can save lots of time when making further changes in the assortment. It will also improve integration with advertising systems, such as Google AdWords. After all, it is all about preventing such situations:

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Author of the article

It’s been 8 years since Maciej took his first steps in the world of marketing - especially the one related to content. So far, he has worked for politicians and the b2b and b2c industries. A fan of content marketing in the digital strategy and its influence on customer navigation and brand reputation. He is also interested in the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility and sees this topic as a springboard for the communication development of many businesses. Responsible for marketing in Verseo. In his free time Maciej reads reports from the world and scientific + sci-fi literature. :)