Creating a product feed is more profitable than you might think

Posted on Monday, 6. July 2020 in category Digital marketing. 6 min read • Written by

Roman Struna

In this highly web-based retail world, how you handle data is very important. Good data handling and processing can be the key to increased sales, cost optimizations, and even the growth of your eCommerce. One of the ways to organize your data is to use product feeds.

Product feeds ensure you reach your target audience with the right product at the right time, which will by itself lower your ad spend. Have you noticed any Google advertisements lately, or maybe a Facebook promotion while scrolling through your social media feed? Many of these advertisements are powered by product feeds.

What are product feeds?                  

Product feeds are files that are usually generated from your existing products catalog and contain every detail of all the products you offer. These files are usually accessible publicly and refreshed daily to contain the most accurate information about the products sold on the website.

In eCommerce, these feeds are used on marketing channels, such as Amazon, Google Shopping, Facebook, Criteo, eBay, just to name a few, to receive product data from merchants and then use it to display products on their website.

Why are product feeds important?

Product feeds are the messengers that get the data from your online store to global marketplaces so that no matter how tiny your shop is, you can still reach the masses.

There are some caveats to each shopping channel when creating these feeds and we will go over them in a later chapter. But for now, the key thing to remember is that a good feed ensures a successful ad campaign and reduces online spending waste.

In digital marketing, product feeds are often considered as a single source of truth. If it is written in the product feed, then it must be written on the website. You should understand, that all these shopping channels rely heavily on product feeds. So if there are discrepancies between the two, it could lead to a suspension of your shopping channel account. To avoid that, it’s recommended that you update the feed daily or when your inventory updates and include all sale prices and promotions.

You should do your best to provide the shopping channel with a quality feed because the algorithms determine if they will display your products based on relevant keywords and content related to the search query of the online shopper. So the information you decide to include in the feed can make the difference between your product being shown to the customer or not. The more detailed and high-quality the data, the better.

Now that you know why, let’s also equip you with how.

person with credit card in front of a computer

What options do you have to start selling on all global markets?


One option is to do it yourself. This is a time-consuming task and if you outsource your advertising, it can lead to even bigger delays. This option is recommended for merchants that have a dedicated developer team or regularly hire third-party developers

This is done by copying all your products into a spreadsheet and then hosting that spreadsheet in .txt or .csv format so that the shopping channel can read it. Note that every time you make a change to your shop, the spreadsheet should reflect that change and the shopping channel updates.

Creating a feed inside your eCommerce platform

Most eCommerce platforms have plugins or built-in features that allow you to export all your products in a fairly easy way. Unfortunately, they usually lack customizability, which can hurt your performance on shopping channels with specific requirements for the feed. Some platforms, like Magento, allow you to export the data that you can then manipulate, but with this method, you are coming back to the DIY option. It’s faster but it still requires a dedicated developer team to finish.

Automated product feeds

As an agency, we take care of everything related to advertising, but we were always delayed by clients who decided to create the feed themselves. They create it, we check for mistakes, then they correct the mistakes and we check it again. If we are lucky the advertising part is delayed for about a week, but that usually isn’t the case. So, we have invested a lot of our time and effort to provide the best experience when creating the product feed. We decided to automate this process and for merchants with a lot of unique products, this is the best option financially. If your store is set up, all we require is the link to it and we create the product feed with all the necessary fields for the shopping channel of your choosing. This part speeds up the process because the client can focus on other activities while we create the feed, optimize it, and then use it for the best possible ad performance.

Many tools can create and optimize your product feeds, but for those tools to work, they usually need FTP access to your website or for the merchant to create a REST API where the tool can access the raw data. Those tools are great but very invasive and they still need the client to participate in some way.

Should you choose the automated product feed option?

Even though an automated product feed seems like the best option, it might not be. If you are someone who doesn’t have a lot of products in your shop, this might not be for you, it’s probably cheaper to do it manually. This is also connected to how frequently you update your inventory. If your prices and inventory don’t change much, there is no need to have a tool that updates your feed every day.

But once your business grows, so does your need for automation, so you can save time and focus on scaling your business. You should automate your product feed if your inventory and pricing change frequently and want to sell on several shopping channels. Remember that the feed you created for Facebook can be useless for Google or other shopping channels you wish to be present on. 

The automated product feed option isn’t for you? We have you covered there as well.

Most feeds adhere to Google’s standard, so that should be your starting point when creating a feed. When developing a Google feed, most other shopping channels will only require you to change letter case on some fields, remove branding or add a column or two and you will be well on your way.

If we quickly check Google’s required product data fields, we find the following:


Your product’s unique identifier


The common name of the item that you are selling.


Your product description of the item


A link to the product on your website


Link: a link to the image on your website


Whether the product is new, refurbished, or used


Product availability. Supported values: in stock, out of stock, preorder

Brand name / MPN / GTIN

Brand name, Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) and Manufacturer Part Number (MPNs)


The price must match the price and currency of the country where the item is sold in the ISO 4217 standard. And if the item is not sold in the US or Canada, VAT must be included in the price. Example: 9.99 EUR

The list becomes larger with some countries and some industries but should be enough to get you started. We quickly realize the list is the same when we compare these required fields to Facebook’s required fields.

If you decided to create your product feed, you now have a document that looks something like this:

And is ready to use with your Google Shop and Facebook Dynamic Advertising.

fingers yellow element

You can now further improve this feed

Now that the basic feed is ready, you can further optimize it. Small improvements can positively impact your sales and reach, or they can even enable new ways of advertising. 

Here are a few ways to improve on what you already created:

Optimize your titles

Use Google shopping title best practices and make them search-friendly, so your products rank on search engines. These are the factors that influence your rank: brand, excessive capitalization, HTML issues, and readability.

Example of a good title: LG 22LB4510 – 22´´ LED TV ([brand] [model] – [size])

Use keywords

Find what keywords your products are already ranking for and add those keywords to your descriptions and titles.

More detailed descriptions

Recommended length of descriptions varies between 500 – 1000 characters and even then, most customers won’t see your descriptions in full length. Make sure to include the most relevant attributes such as size, dimensions, technical specifications, color, special features, or other and limit the use of exclamation marks and uppercase letters.

Leverage custom labels

Custom labels give you the ability to create more detailed reports which could, in turn, influence your bid strategies. Some of the labels you could use are gender, color, dimensions.

All in all, having an up to date product feed will ensure your presence on multiple shopping channels, increase your reach, and thus increase your sales. Keep in mind that data feed management is far beyond a technical issue – it is a part of your marketing and product management strategy.

Whenever we help our clients create a feed, we first look at their business. What they sell, where they sell it, and how they sell it are all important factors to creating the feed and determine what kind of instructions we send them. Going into that kind of detail here for every industry and country would be a waste of white space, but if you need further help, contact us. We offer advanced digital marketing strategies and perspectives for each client that go hand in hand with everything we talked about here. A well-structured data feed, backed up by a good digital marketing strategy, is key for market growth and increased eCommerce sales.

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